Friday, January 15, 2010

Donor Ideas for Haitian Relief


With this entry, we are responding to questions from several of our customers about possible ideas for donors who want to give in meaningful and more personal ways, to the people of Haiti.

Given the lack of infrastructure in Haiti, the situation will certainly become worse before it improves. The long-term need will be extraordinarily dire. A few issues to consider:

A large number of Americans may repatriate to the States. They may need assistance on their return.

A large number of the Haitian people may need to immigrate to the US or other locations, as their future in Haiti may be seriously compromised, beyond what was a difficult existence even before the quake hit.

In the short term, there are needs well beyond Port-au-Prince. In fact, from personal contacts in Jacmel, I know that there are other cities and villages across Haiti that need tremendous help such as Jacmel, even as the media focuses on Port-au-Prince. If you want to be put in touch with the schools and orphanages in Jacmel, contact me directly.

Given past experiences with Katrina and the Tsunami, relief organizations will be extremely interested in a coordinated response. The lack of infrastructure and mounting security issues will push back against coordination. Frustration will mount, and this will make the long-term nature of this disaster increasingly challenging, and all the more important.

Users of the VisionLink CommunityOS solution may want to consider capturing donor interest now, but in a way that collects resources for needs in the months ahead, or for focused areas of Haiti, or for particular beneficiaries. Focus makes donations more meaningful. The needs are so significant that the particular selection of a focus is less important than the donations such focus encourages. You can use your Content Management Pages to quickly deploy messaging as you choose to your users. In a previous post, we offered a link to White House information about helping those in Haiti that can be easily embedded on your sites.

On the technical front, we are working with customers such as the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations to rapidly deploy specific enhancements that they need to support the Haitian-focused work of their members. The membership of PQMD is providing literally millions in medicine, equipment, medical supplies, and cash as I write this. We are honored to support their work.

We will share more as we learn more.

Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink