Something to celebrate in Haiti

While we’re getting news reports regularly of how much more needs to be accomplished in Haiti almost a year after the devastating earthquake, some good news is also surfacing.

Philanthropy Journal recently reported that 38% of Americans gave to help Haiti.  That’s astounding.  And while 40% of donors said they would have given to other causes if they had not given to Haiti, 58% said their Haiti giving was in addition to what they normally give.

The other good news coming out of the Haiti disaster is that smaller organizations can respond quickly and nimbly to a disaster.  Our client GAiN is a good example.

Global Aid Network (GAiN), the relief and development ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ International, was one of the first organizations reporting back from Haiti, describing the needs and inviting Americans to help.  Three important lessons have emerged for smaller organizations.

  1. Be on the ground and running first.  Duane Zook, president of GAiN, called me within hours after the earthquake reporting he was packing for Haiti.  There was no organizational red-tape to cut through.  Duane recognized an opportunity to save lives and sprang into action.  What was so helpful to us is the fact that he provided a continuous flow of reporting as he traveled to Haiti, in country and on the way home.  All this first-hand material offered potential donors the value of news directly from a trusted source.  And Duane’s eye for compelling stories and heart for hurting people produced some incredible resource.

  2. Use today’s best technology.   Duane used his cell and satellite phones to get us “rough cut” audio recordings.  He also took hundreds of digital images that proved priceless because they were real and current.  The Masterworks team also jumped in immediately and was on the ground running.  We devoted almost the entire weekend to getting emails created and posting a continual flow of up-to-the-minute audio reports on their website.  A printed emergency gram was in the mail within 72 of the earthquake and 52 hours after receiving client approval.  Yet our internal team didn’t see each other at all that weekend.  The work was done from home using our best technology.  I had two computers running constantly, one for email and one for Skype communication along with two cell phones.  One phone was kept open for continual contact with the GAiN office while the other gave me instant access to our internal team.  Because of this great technology, we didn’t abandon our families totally that weekend.  And we got things done in record time.

  3. Do what you do best.  GAiN was already on the ground in Haiti.  They had stock-piled a container of food, water filters and clothing in anticipation of the coming hurricane season.  So, some supplies were already within reach.  And GAiN had a good understanding of the challenges facing Haiti even before this most recent disaster struck.  So they could be there as one of the first relief agencies, use our best technology to communicate the need, and work in an effective manner, considering the chaos of the situation.

In the end, GAiN raised over $500,000 for immediate response to the Haiti disaster and continues to raise funds for housing, feeding stations, water filters and other urgent needs.  Hundreds of new donors were added to their file.  And GAiN donors witnessed a first-hand demonstration of the speed and agility with which this ministry can respond to a monumental crisis.

More than money, we proved that working together, we can respond efficiently and effectively to the greatest needs in our world today.   It’s a partnership.  And we love it.

Patti Edwards

Senior Account Executive