Sarah Ford | October 7, 2014

Disaster Response Needs More Cooperation Between Nonprofits, Regulators

By Suzanne Perry

Charity regulators and the nonprofit world should work together to bring more coordination to fundraising for disasters and get more information to the public about how the money is spent, speakers at a charity-regulators conference said today.

Forty-four disasters worldwide caused at least $1-billion in damage last year, said Bob Ottenhoff, chief executive of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, adding that both the number and intensity of the events were growing.

“I hope you’ll begin to think about what your state and what your office needs to be doing because if you haven’t had a disaster, you’ll soon have one in your state,” he told the annual meeting of the National Association of State Charity Officials.

Mr. Ottenhoff invited the regulators to work with his center to develop guidelines about “effective disaster philanthropy,” including educating donors about the need for long-term spending on recovery. They could also help discourage “pop-up organizations” that are taking advantage of disasters and “get more support for those who are doing good and effective work.”

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