Corporate Responsibility

How corporations can make the most impact with donations to charity for disaster relief

on August 29, 2018

When disaster strikes, a timely response can make a huge difference - not just in getting resources to those in need, but also sharing with your customers what’s important to your organization.

That’s why having a disaster relief plan ready to go can make all the difference when the time comes to make a donation to nonprofits.

Types of corporate relief programs

1. Customer-supported relief programs

When you focus on getting support during times of disaster relief from your customers, there are three main courses of action you can take:

  • Matching programs - Match dollars can be used when your organization has an amount of money that you want to donate to relief efforts, but instead of just cutting a check and being done with it, you ask your customers to help you create more impact by offering matches for every donation. You can match up to a certain amount, match certain donation amounts, or match for a certain timeframe. 

    WeWork’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund is a great example of a corporate matching program. They asked supporters to donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, and promised to match donations made, up to $100,000.
  • Incentives - When you offer up incentives to your customers, you’re giving them something tangible in exchange for their monetary contribution to your relief efforts. This prize can be in the form of a coupon, discount, or loyalty points. One great example is how United Airlines engages their United MileagePlus® community with bonus miles when they give to relief organizations.

2. Employee-supported relief programs

Another avenue for corporations making donations to nonprofits during times of disaster is an employee-supported relief program.

  • Employee match - Just like matching programs that are customer supported, employee-supported matching programs are very successful ways to get the entire company involved with your relief efforts. In the same way match dollars are put up by the company, the employees can choose to give from their pocketbooks directly to the company match program making them feel like they’re not only having an impact on a current disaster, but that they’re working for a company that puts relief efforts at the forefront of their thinking as well.
  • Peer-to-peer internal fundraising - Peer-to-peer fundraising is when supporters (your employees) set up their own fundraising campaigns on behalf of your chosen relief-effort charity. It can all be set up under the umbrella of your organization’s relief efforts and branding, but the employee is at the helm when it comes to reaching out to his or her network of friends and family and encouraging donations to their campaign. 

    When corporations choose this route, it can sometimes help to add incentives or bonus rewards to create a little friendly competition, as well as create teams based on the structure of the company. For instance, you can encourage the marketing, sales, and customer service departments to set up teams and individual campaigns within these teams. You can then add incentives such as days off or prizes to the the fundraisers who raise the most.
  • GoFundMe campaigns - GoFundMe campaigns offer another easy way for employees to support disaster relief efforts. By using their easy-to-use platform, employees can be encouraged to set up campaigns for offices or employees affected by the disaster at hand.

How CrowdRise can help your company’s disaster relief efforts

Get a page up quickly

CrowdRise by GoFundMe was built with ease-of-use in mind. We’re a platform that allows your company’s disaster relief efforts to be spun up quickly and efficiently so you can begin to get donations as quickly as possible.

Full-service support

With a dedicated support team available to help, we’re here to make sure your company-sponsored disaster relief efforts are ready to go when you need them most. A full-service customer service team is also ready for any questions that arise from your customers or employees participating in your campaigns.

Financial efficiency

Through our partner, the Direct Impact Fund (DIF) — an independent, registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on providing fast, effective, and transparent help to those affected by natural and manmade disasters, you don’t have to worry about about scrambling to find a specific nonprofit to support before you get your disaster relief page created. The DIF can help you create a donor-advised fund within hours of a disaster to support causes that you choose later, based on the response effort.

CrowdRise handles all of the cash flow and works directly with the DIF to get the money into the hands of a vetted nonprofit relief fund or GoFundMe campaigns for individuals directly impacted by a given disaster. 

All donations collected by the Direct Impact Fund reach the intended beneficiaries, whether they’re individuals or nonprofits providing on-the-ground relief, and all donations made to the DIF are tax deductible.

As an example, check out how GoFundMe partnered with and the Direct Impact Fund to help collect donations for DACA recipients to renew their applications.

Branding and theming

CrowdRise allows your company to have control over your campaign branding with colors, logo, and theme being set by your organization. In addition, custom branded URLs and advanced branding customizations are available in order to create an experience where your customers won’t even notice that they aren’t on your own site making their contribution.

Data collection and reporting

With ownership of all of your data, you’re able to easily access donor information, send thank you messages, and fulfill promised incentives.

Additional tracking allows you the ability to see in real time the impact your efforts are having. You can easily get information for press releases and communications, as well as track all your disaster initiatives and see the impact of all of your teams.


When disaster strikes, being prepared and ready to go can make all the difference in the world. With the options and functionality CrowdRise provides, your company can be ready to give donations to nonprofits without adding more bandwidth or resources to your team.

Ready to get your corporate disaster relief plan started?

Emily Hawkins

Emily Hawkins is the VP of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development for CrowdRise. She spends her days forging partnerships and developing creative campaigns with forward-thinking corporations and foundations. Emily has spent the last ten years working with nonprofits and political campaigns. In her free time, she's training to be the best chalkboard artist in the three-block radius of her Brooklyn neighborhood.