A Perspective on Natural Disaster Donor Fatigue
14 February 2013 at 11:41 am
With floods and fires again front and centre, one remedy for donor fatigue involves being convinced that donations will be well used says Phil Hayes-St Clair the Chairman of Philanthropy and Community Investment Advisors, HSC & Company.
It feels like 2011 all over again. This time there are fires to match the ferocity of the floods and like the events of two years ago, Australians are again being asked to donate to appeals.
I often hear two questions being asked amid the barrage of emotionally charged stories by the here today, gone tomorrow television reporters: should we donate again and is now the right time to donate?
The answer to the first question is YES. Australian mateship will compel most who can to donate again and millions of dollars have been committed to appeals by corporates and everyday Australians. The mere fact that people are asking the question indicates that donor fatigue might be starting to set in. After all there is only so much that can be donated.
One remedy for donor fatigue involves being convinced that donations will be well used. We all hope that the major appeal charities will live up to their commitment and provide relief to every family affected by bushfires and floods. This is a difficult task, some might say impossible and so it boils down to donating wisely.
Fast forward to 2015. The news crews are long gone and the visible signs of reconstruction continue. If history is any measure, the pervasive and often invisible effects of trauma, particularly in rural communities, will continue to manifest themselves.
Now, in 2015 and for many years afterwards organisations will continue providing support in these communities to help solve difficulties that exist in plain sight and those that lurk below the surface.
Think about the local organisations who played a critical role in previous natural disasters and who can foresee what will need to be done in the future.
If you are still unsure, I recommend contacting the Foundation For Rural and Regional Renewal, an organisation, who for the last decade, has become a key advisor in regional natural disaster reconstruction.
So when someone asks me "should I donate now?” my answer is YES but with one caveat: look beyond today's news and appeals.
This article is an edited version from one that featured in the Australian Financial Review on 13 February 2013.