When recovering from a disaster, it’s crucial to have someone in your court who understands the process — similar to how wedding planners makes weddings go more smoothly, accountants ease the complex process of filing taxes, or real estate agents help make negotiations when buying a house more navigable.
These comparable life moments and relationships happen in a certain order: a process of research and accumulation of resources with the help of your trusted advisor, so that when the big day comes — whether it’s getting married, buying a house, or filing your taxes — you’re ready for it.
But there is one important difference between these moments and a disaster: disasters happen in reverse. A big unexpected thing comes along, and you have to figure out how to get back what you had before, sift through the chaos, and fix the damage.
That’s why communities and their residents need guidance: disaster recovery is slow and complex, and not something most people are “seasoned” for. When communities go through catastrophic events it’s extremely common that alongside the actual catastrophe they are inundated with the logistics of the recovery effort. Skilled and unskilled volunteers show up looking to lend a hand, alongside people needing help with differing levels of urgency, as well as those needing supplies. Monetary donations are sent from everywhere — but only for the short moment the world is paying attention. Donations pour in, but it’s often so much clothing that those recovering feel like they’ve been hit with a Goodwill drop-off location. It’s invaluable to have a system in place to triage the needs, broker help, and keep the communication channels open.
This is what Recovers communities can do: minimize the chaos, triage needs, and capture goodwill so the community can utilize the help they need when they need it. Here’s how we help our partner communities get back on their feet:
Collect and triage. We collect needs from the community, volunteers along with their skills, and catalogue donation items being offered. Community organizers at the command post can then make sense of connecting the dots and triage by importance. They can make sure someone who needs water is taken care of at a higher priority than someone who needs long-term care for their dog.
We keep on-the-ground news and updates front and center with Twitter and Facebook integration, and a Community Updates feed. Our public-facing community pages stay current, relevant, and accurate because they are from people helping out on the ground.
A little more about why this matters: when communities don’t know the full process of recovery, it’s easy to miss a few steps. We’re always really sad to see communities start what we call the “Mega Spreadsheet” to keep track of everything. This leads to two very common problems down the line. First, as it grows the spreadsheet is shared with more and more people until it’s re-formatted beyond usability or worse, the data is all accidentally deleted. Secondly, the primary organizer gets burnt out or goes back to work, and their backup might realize it’s not well-documented enough to be able to pick up where they left off, or realize they don’t have access to all of the necessary accounts.
We can help your community recover from and prepare for disasters. Interested in getting in touch, or want more information? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, sign up for our newsletter, or let us know if you’d like to be one of our partners.