How your association can “team up” to help Haiti

in Associations - Membership,Aviation & Charity,Marketing for Nonprofits,News

I’ve written before about how professional associations and trade organizations could combine efforts with charities.  And the disaster relief work in Haiti is an outstanding case in point.

The ASAE blog, Acronym has an extensive post (including comments) of how associations are helping in Haiti. They go into more detail than what I have here, including additional groups involved and more of what each association is doing.

Here are a few examples courtesy of Acronym on how nonprofit associations have teamed with charities to accomplish marvelous work followed by ideas on how your group can get involved:

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) – created a special section on its website with “links to help make a difference.”  It is news that the Drug Enforcement Administration is establishing a point of contact to help companies that want to ship controlled substances to Haiti.

Lions Clubs International – leaders from the Dominican Republic and neighboring Latin American countries have led convoys of emergency relief supplies into Haiti.

With tremendous support from the National Association of Broadcasters, National Association of Cable Operators, and other media associations, the much-hyped ‘Hope for Haiti Now’ telethon January 22 generated $57 million for earthquake relief.”

National Nurses United – with a membership of 150,000 registered nurses received a call for hundreds of nurse volunteers, and they’ve responded.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs – as of late January there were at least a “dozen of its 3,100 affiliates sending urban search-and-rescue teams from around the country to Haiti to help move heavy debris, bring search dogs, and share their specialized disaster training and coordination skills onsite.”

Northwest Physicians Network and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) – both sent medical teams.

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) – countless daily flights of volunteer private pilots flying supplies and personnel to Haiti.

National Restaurant Association – just one example of a group raising funds to donate to select charities working in Haiti.

U.S. Parachute Association (USPA) – loaned some of its aircraft that are well-suited for hauling cargo.

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) – continues to play a huge role in coordinating the efforts of volunteer pilots and their aircraft.  The NBAA has a long history of responding to disasters with vital help in using business aviation to send supplies and personnel.

Although not related to Haiti, here is an example of how the NBAA is continually involved in relief and charity work:  Last October I wrote about NBAA’s team efforts for the Corporate Angel Network here in my blog.

Rotary Clubs – very active in Haiti with relief work.  But also their clubs in the U.S. and other countries are raising funds, sending supplies, and much more.

American Institute of Architects – has offered their expertise to help when the rebuilding initiatives begin.

There are other professional and trade groups whose members have volunteered to help.  Many have often been placed on stand-by awaiting approval to deploy, or waiting for the best time to be of service to relief agencies.  In January the Acronym also stated that “…Many professional and trade associations have created global disaster relief funds in the past 10 years and are likely to tap them now, saying they want first to see what primary needs emerge.”  And there are numerous groups who have since tapped into those funds.

Does your association have expertise to offer?

If your association also has talent and expertise that can help Haiti recover from the earthquake . . . if you have members ready to step forward to help . . . consider contacting a charity that’s been working in Haiti for several years.  They’ll have the in-country contacts essential for efficiently utilizing the aid relief.

This also helps to lessen a problem many veteran charities – and Haitian authorities – have lamented about:  Too many well-meaning organizations showing up and not knowing where to go; what needs to be done; how to effectively help; inadvertently undermining another NGO’s efforts; and so forth.

You don’t have to wait for a disaster

And remember, there are likely ways you can leverage your resources while giving members a chance to help a cause outside of disaster relief.

First, last fall I wrote an article in my newsletter – the ZAPP Nonprofit Leader – on this subject.  When the web window opens, scroll down a bit to the main article titled, “Cooperative Fundraising – Nonprofits Combine Efforts.”  It starts out with a story of charities teaming up, but at the end I give ideas for associations teaming with charities any time of the year.

Second, did you know that April 18-24, 2010 is National Volunteer Week in the U.S.?  At least three other countries also have a National Volunteer Week including Canada, England, and Australia.  What can your members do during this week to help Haiti or any good cause? Brainstorm ideas.  Call some of the charities working in Haiti and ask what you might do.  Helping doesn’t necessarily require a trip to Haiti either.

It also presents a great opportunity for publicity.  You might even acquire some new members in the process.  So be certain to involve your PR staff too.

Team up with a charity.  You build loyalty with your members, spread the word about your association, and help a good cause in the process.