How to Communicate in the Shadow of the Japanese Disaster – Practical Tips for Nonprofits

What is the place of nonprofit communications in the wake of disaster, particularly when this most recent crisis of epic proportions—the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan—is rightly dominating our minds and conversations, as well as the media?

For a nonprofit, the answer lies in the way (if any) your organization is involved in the relief effort. The following guidelines derive from an analysis of news of, and fundraising for, recovery efforts around the Japanese earthquake and Pacific tsunami disasters. Note that relief donations are far below those for the Haitian earthquake relief effort, and some groups are questioning whether Japanese relief giving is beneficial or necessary.

It’s likely that your nonprofit is facing one or more of these challenges right now. Read the full article for more practical guidance on how to move your marketing forward, despite the troubled times.

For organizations providing disaster relief services in Japan

  • Make it clear why your organization is well-equipped to help. Be as specific as possible.
  • Communicate broadly, clearly and visually (if possible) about how donations are managed, where they are going and what your organization’s relief effort is achieving.

For organizations fundraising for relief efforts, but not directly providing help

  • Be proactive and specific in conveying the process for distributing donations and where/how/when the money will be spent.
  • Explain why your organization has chosen to get involved as a pass through for donations.
For other nonprofits continuing with fundraising and communications outreach
  • Be sensitive to inappropriate pitches.
  • Relate your work to relief work when relevant—but don’t distort or overstate.

More guidance on communicating in the shadow of the Japanese disaster.

Your Strategies?
What are your strategies for communicating and fundraising productively in the shadow of disaster? Please share your strategies here.

P.S. Learn how to strengthen your nonprofit’s marketing impact with the new 2011 Guide to Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 2 comments
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