1. Choose methods of fundraising/Combine Fundraising with Awareness-raising
A fundraising activity will not be successful without an awareness-raising element. Our cross-national analysis finds that fundraising activities went hand in hand with awareness-raising activities for all the student groups at Columbia.
Haiti group noted the importance of their religious activities (church as their communion) in their country for their raffle, food and clothing drive. Thailand group organized a Thai Food Festival and the road show for both cultural awareness and awareness on disaster relief. Indonesia group organized the cultural night and the profit from its ticket sale was donated. Japan (known as a technology-oriented nation) group created a specially designed wristband, original T-shirts and iPhone wallpaper for their fund-raising. This implies not only the geoscience-oriented aspect but also the geopolitical aspect of the natural disaster, therefore, social and cultural factors of the affected countries should be considered as a key for the success of the implementation of disaster relief/recovery activities.
2. Create task teams
Engage foreign nationals (individuals who are not from the concerned country stricken by the disaster) as “participants” rather than “donors” early on in the process in order to produce a long-lasting effect. This is crucial in order to develop a sustainable relief effort. The relief effort often ends for individuals once they make a donation since they see the clear line that divides “us” from “them.” Rather, called for is a framework to enable individuals to transform “their problems” into “our problems.” The power of natural disaster lies in its unifying nature that brings diverse peoples together, reminding them that it can happen to anyone, any time.
3. Avoiding simultaneity is crucial to allow collaboration
Set the timeline, and configure prompt, small, dispersed activities in the initial stage into one large concerted effort in the later stage.
4. Choose/reserve the place for fundraising
Finding a large venue in a timely manner is much more difficult than you may think. Think ahead and reserve early for a larger event.
5. Choose the recipient organization of the donated money /Choose the means of transferring the money.
These two actually go hand in hand; choosing the recipient organization dictates the means of transferring the money. It is noteworthy that some student groups at Columbia chose NY-based organizations as their donation recipients due to the fact that it was easiest to overcome regulations and obstacles in money transfer process.
Overall, the criteria of choosing the organizations as the recipients of donations were mainly focused on organizations’ credibility (community-based, have good organization background and need-based) through the particular selection process by students, school community and other national / international authorities.
6. Transferring donations: Case of Columbia University
Thailand group hand delivered all funds directly to the recipient, and they also opened the temporary bank account in NYC specific for the donation. Japan group used online & text-messaging donation system, school check (collected money was deposited to the school account first), personal check and cash. Indonesia group transferred money to the organization’s accounts. Haiti group directly gave their collected money and checks to the leading figure of the organization. What is the best and safest way for the remittance for the disaster relief /recovery should be further discussed. It also depends on the size, reputation, social and economic status of the organization. As the alternative, finding the financial sponsor for the students’ fund-raising activities will be better, as Japan group notes.