• Preparedness. Another strategic phase, involving detailed plans that will help people and areas respond effectively to disasters or crises. Activities may include planning exercises, training and educating volunteers, identifying evacuation routes and partners, stocking food, water and other basic necessities.

• Mitigation. More strategic work designed to cure factors leading or contributing to emergencies and limit the impact of similar events in the future. This stage requires hazard risk analysis and the investment of time and resources to build resilience and reduce risk. Activities may include strengthening existing infrastructure and developing redundant processes.

Devising A Crisis Response
In determining how best to respond to a disaster or crisis, advise your clients to do the following:

• Understand their motivation. What about the crisis speaks to them? Is there a stage in the disaster life cycle that would benefit greatly from their personal network or professional strengths? There are numerous ways to connect a client’s philanthropic mission to the needs that arise in emergency situations.

• Do their research. This includes staying abreast of current affairs as well as looking to past disasters and similar situations for guidance and lessons that can help them construct a high-impact response.

• Be aware of scams. Many new nonprofits are formed in response to disasters, and while some are legitimate, unfortunately others are not. Evaluate new organizations carefully before making a commitment.

• Consider equity. Disasters and crises have the potential to magnify inequities. There may be marginalized, vulnerable or under-resourced populations that will feel the crisis more acutely and may have difficulty accessing essential services.

• Partner with other funders. Exchange insights and best practices with other philanthropists. In the process they may find collaborators with similar or complementary goals that will allow them to develop a more innovative or comprehensive response.

During this critical time for Ukraine, as well as during other crises, encourage your charitable clients to address both immediate and long-term need when they provide support.

Gillian Howell is head of client advisory solutions for Foundation Source, which provides comprehensive support services for private foundations. The firm works in partnership with financial and legal advisors as well as directly with individuals and families.

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