Monday, July 14, 2008

Corporate Involvment in Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief, Inc.
By: Thomas, Anisya, Fritz, Lynn,
Harvard Business Review,
November 2006, Vol. 84, Issue 11

CEOs must make two decisions concerning the form and structure of their company's involvement with relief agencies.

First, do they want primarily to give philanthropic donations, or do they want to engage in efforts to improve the aid delivery process at a more systemic level?

Second, do they want to foster a deep partnership with a single agency, or do they want to pool their resources with other companies to extend their impact to more aid agencies by joining one of several recently established consortiums?

We've outlined four approaches executives can take to join forces with relief organizations.

Single-Company Philanthropic Partnerships
Multicompany Philanthropic Partnerships
Single-Company Integrative Partnerships
Multicompany Integrative Partnerships

Each has its own set of pros and cons, although as a general rule the more deeply a firm engages with partners, the greater the potential for widespread change.

It's easy to see why the image of a relief worker carrying a sack of grain packs an emotional wallop, but the behind-the-scenes work of process enhancement is just as crucial in humanitarian efforts.

Maintaining a commitment to systemic improvement between disasters, though less glamorous, will reduce suffering far more than a donation made after the fact. The sooner executives realize this, the better positioned the world will be to respond to global catastrophes.

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