What 2018 Taught Us About Natural Disasters and 4 Ways Your Company Can Help
2018 was a particularly challenging year in terms of natural disasters. Last year we saw fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tornadoes and landslides across the globe. These phenomenas displaced families, destroyed homes and businesses, and left behind billions of dollars of damages. Fortunately, in the wake of disaster — regardless of location — we also see so many people banding together to help.
Whether your business is a large enterprise with a great infrastructure and supply chain or a small startup with a handful of employees, there are so many ways to help. And every effort counts. Whether you decide to donate monetary funds, offer free haircuts or meals, or have employees volunteer to physically help with cleanup, the options are endless.
As you’re looking to green light any well-meaning initiatives to help with natural disasters, keep a few things in mind:
1. Employees are your company’s most valuable asset, focus on supporting them in a time of need.
As organizations, it’s important that we feel a responsibility to step in and help those suffering within our local communities, but make sure that this also includes the needs of your own employees. Your employees are your greatest strength and power source, and you have a responsibility to them first and foremost. Send out internal communications verifying that everyone and their families are okay and have a system of reporting in place. Once you’ve acknowledged your own team members and sent helping hands their way, then it’s time to look beyond your own four walls.
2. Have the right motives.
While helping others may gain you and your company positive attention, your primary goal should be to focus on and help those in need. Understand what people’s greatest needs are, what they have experienced, and how they have suffered, and then consider your resources and how you can help. Without knowing individual’s situations, it’s easy to cause inadvertent harm, turning what may have been a thoughtful act into a PR nightmare.
So go above and beyond and do your research. Listen to the news and first-hand accounts, and reach out to employees who may have family or friends who were affected.
3. Consider working with charities that are already in place.
Being prepared, thoughtful, compassionate and aligned with the right partners is also key. Working with existing charities and organizations mean that your company’s efforts can go even further by partnering with experts in dealing with these types of situations. In 2018, LogMeIn was fortunate enough to provide grants for organizations like Direct Relief, Habitat for Humanity India, Santa Barbara’s Bucket Brigade, Unity Shoppe, United Way of Massachusetts Bay, and many others. These types of organizations have the ability to help those in need immediately without the red tape, and through them we were able to make a small difference in the long-term recovery to resilient communities in which we live and work.
Some of these communities included Montecito, where after weeks of wildfires in January, heavy rain caused flash flooding and mudslides; Guatemala City, where the Fuego volcano erupted in June; the southern India states of Kerala and Karnataka, where torrential monsoon rains, flash floods and landslides took many lives; as well as many places in Utah affected by wildfires, and parts of North Carolina impacted by Hurricane Florence. These were just a few disasters in 2018 that affected places where LogMeIn employees live and work, so you can see the importance of teaming up with charities who have the infrastructure in place to help immediately when disaster strikes.
4. Offer volunteer opportunities.
Grants and funding are crucial, but perhaps the most inspiring effort is seen through the mobilization ofyour own volunteers. At LogMeIn we were humbled to see hundreds of Mission Possible volunteers roll up their sleeves and get to work setting up food and clothing drives, packing up supply kits for those affected by these disasters, and even donating their own money – some even directly to families that needed it “now”. Every time we looked up, there was a new initiative being created to help those suffering from one of the many disasters that struck, so be prepared to listen and support your employees wanting to give back.
Months after the first wild fires that struck Santa Barbara, volunteers today are still helping with long-term aid and helping people get back on their feet. At LogMeIn we often talk about moving at the speed of SaaS, and in 2018 our employees applied that speed, efficiency and reliability into their own lives to give back. They were the real heroes.
LogMeIn has 25 offices in 12 countries, which means when disaster strikes, the likelihood of something affecting one of our offices, employees, or employee’s networks of family and friends is high. Last year was a tough year for natural disasters, with one occurring after another, but it was the generosity, optimism, and roll-up-your-sleeves attitude from LogMeIn employees that not only made a difference in our communities but now serves as a standard of care going forward.
As you or your company think about your philanthropic commitments for 2019, we hope you will consider strategic investments in disaster relief and recovery. In the new normal, it is more important than ever to remain optimistic and support global communities in vulnerable times.
For more information about Direct Relief, Mission Possible’s premier disaster relief partner visit: https://www.directrelief.org/