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Turning a Disaster in Haiti into an Opportunity to Improve Business

By Edited Jan 5, 2016 2 3

There is no question that in the early weeks of the tragedy and devastation focus needs to be on the immediate survival of the Haitian people. Food, water and emergency services are all on the top of the list of imminent needs. Long term stability will not return to Haiti however unless rebuilding the physical infrastructure occurs to provide safer housing and reconstruction of business enterprises so that the economy of Haiti can function – perhaps much better than it did before the earthquake.

In the business community there will be opportunities to help and at the same time, benefit your own business. Construction companies, utility companies, technology businesses and suppliers of all kinds will have opportunities to offer their services and earn revenue. Companies will be expected to offer services at discounts to maximize the donations that have been collected so that they can be stretched as far as possible. Start now and research what you company can do to help, and potentially stabilize your own company's situation.

Is your company or business involved in agriculture or farming? Hiati had a large farming industry in the 70's. It fell on difficult times for lots of reasons. But Haiti will need to feed its own people. As a business owner, could you help Hiati rebuild by growing crops in Haiti? You would have a population of people in need of work, you would have a marketplace locally that needs the crops grown. Could that be a win-win? Just something to consider....but it takes 'thinking out of the traditional box".

Contact every organization that is offering to raise money for the relief effort. Call them to find out exactly what their specific area of expertise is: do they only help with short term immediate rescue and relief, or are they there to help with the rebuilding process later.

Offer to be a volunteer first to help with the efforts of the organization.

Gather information from each philanthropic organization you call, as to what they will be doing for the 'long term needs' to help the Haitian community.

Locate philanthropic organizations that work worldwide to help rebuild countries after disasters have occurred. These organizations don't have the man power to do the work themselves and pay contractors to do the work with the money donated that gets used for the projects. Organizations don't expect companies to do the work for free. They may expect reduced rates for the projects as part of the companies 'philanthropic' donation, to maximize the donations collected.

Offer to provide whatever information the philanthropic organization needs to determine if you can be put on the 'approved vendor' list, as projects need to be tackled. Schedule a followup call to make sure the information was received and how to best handle reviewing the information with the individuals in charge. Don't believe that since it was received you will be contacted by them. Keep calling to see what projects are being done and how your company might be an partner.

Call your professional associations and see if the Executive Director could be the liaison for your entire industry, so you can be seen as a cohesive and concerned industry. If professional trade associations create the relationship, one company would not be seen as looking at turning someone's misfortune into a personal business triumph.



Jan 20, 2010 1:37pm
When Hurricane Katrina happened I had just gone through Hazmat training. I got a job to go down there, drive a truck across country, and go help. I was going to be working 12-16 hour hard days. It fell through at the end because of the boss, the day I was literally almost in the truck to leave. I'll never regret not being able to go help. Yeah, it was a paying job, but my motive in going was to help. Good article. We cannot forget these places will need ongoing help. New Orleans still in not rebuilt.
Jan 20, 2010 9:51pm
Absolutely true.
Jan 21, 2010 11:45am
Came to your article via the grammar police forum. Glad I did as it is a very useful and pertinent article
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