Are you considering how to help in the aftermath of Florence? I have a couple of suggestions, whether you’re thinking about volunteering or making a financial contribution. First, consider things that matter to you, ways in which you would contribute anyway. For example, are you a pet lover, then think about contributing to or getting involved with a local pet fostering program or shelter. Have you wanted to be involved in sustaining a healthy environment? Then consider a contribution or volunteering your time with Riverkeepers or similar environmental organizations. Do you have a heart for supporting those in our community who are vulnerable or who struggle with health or mental health, employment, housing, or financial need? Then consider supporting a local food pantry, rapid rehousing, shelter, or other support organization.
Often when a disaster happens, compassion abounds and people direct their giving to national organizations that focus on specifically disaster relief. I get this. And I support increased giving around the specific disaster needs. But I believe we get more bang for our buck if we give to the local group that’s already been doing work on the ground in a community. We have a host of really strong nonprofits across North Carolina. By supporting the local nonprofits in a community you not only address the immediate crisis of the disaster, you also support the community’s capacity for the long term.
I also encourage folks to consider getting involved or making a contribution in your own local community in response to the disaster that may have happened elsewhere. This matters because, 1) often folks from the affected areas are relocating to your community and 2) getting involved or contributing in your home community is a way to build relationships and create community resiliency. 3) getting in the habit of giving to local agencies, you will learn about the work they do and you will be better able to assess how effective they are at their mission and whether their values align with yours.
So when you give for relief from Hurricane Florence, consider local giving, consider giving where your passion is, and consider getting involved where you can have a lasting relationship and make a lasting difference.
By Beth Bordeaux, Principal & Founder of Partners for Impact