Eight Effective Strategies To Have Better Accountability For Aid Organizations
When disaster strikes a community, everyone wants to help. However, when green and experienced aid organizations simultaneously rush in without a plan, the wrong move can result in wasting vital resources.
Aid organizations should have strategies in place to help them implement and maintain systems for better accountability in emergencies. Below, eight members of Forbes Nonprofit Council weigh in to share some effective strategies for aid organizations to follow in emergency situations.
1. Take Time To Understand Needs
Leaders looking to support humanitarian aid efforts must take the time to understand the needs on the ground. That means doing your research and engaging with and listening to local organizations and communities. This helps make sure funds get to the local groups that need it, rather than foreign consultants or bureaucratic gatekeepers. – Stephen Keppel, PVBLIC Foundation
2. Collaborate With Regular Cadence
It is imperative that both green and experienced aid organizations collaborate with regular cadence to provide more support for the clients they serve. Additionally, creating ongoing collaborative committees will ensure systems are in place and streamlines are considered for the overall success. This will allow us to share resources for greater impact and apply for funding additional projects together. – Capri Bell, I Will Survive, Inc.
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3. Embrace Empathy And Lead With Strategy
Ensure accountability in emergency settings by embracing empathy but leading with strategy. Define your disaster approach in advance, including the where, when and how of your potential interventions. Collaboration, trust and transparency are critical, as is taking the time to listen to communities about what they truly need. Let their demand determine your supply. – Patricia McIlreavy, Center for Disaster Philanthropy
4. Identify And Communicate With Groups
Identify local leaders and groups and bring them together to ask them what they need. Once you’ve done this you can provide them with the most urgent resources while empowering them to make a difference in their community. Your goal is to ensure that local leaders and groups can continue on without you. In my opinion, no one does this better than Team Rubicon. – Vipe Desai, Ocean Institute
5. Maintain A System Or Support Grassroots
Unfortunately, something I’ve heard about one-off aid efforts is just how disempowering it can be for an entire group—who has been running the system completely—decidedly leaves once they feel as if their work is done. Emergency situations often need long-term solutions. If your group can’t maintain a system long term, consider supporting the grassroots organizations that were there first. – Lila Thomas, Chegg
6. Stick To Organization’s Mission And Focus
Stick to your true mission! What is your organization’s mission and focus? Staying true to one’s mission will avoid any misalignment, lost opportunities and wrong moves. Making sure that the right stakeholders are your partners is as important. – Sepideh Nasiri, Women Of MENA In Technology
7. Be Transparent
Transparency is a core value that transcends organizations—whether for-profit or nonprofit—in times of distress or windfall. Clearly communicate and be transparent and willing to share what is working and what needs improvement. – Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation
8. Create A Follow-Up Plan After Emergency
Engage aid recipients. Understand their needs and create a mechanism to follow up with them after the emergency. This feedback will reveal the effectiveness of your efforts and guide future improvements. It will also provide data and stories to share with supporters. Understanding the importance of this relief to aid recipients will help you better direct resources when emergencies arise. – Victoria Burkhart, The More Than Giving Company