The phrase “talking about the weather” used to mean making light, politically-correct chit-chat amongst acquaintances – avoiding serious topics with a 10 foot pole. Unfortunately, with so many weather-induced tragedies, devastating natural disasters, and dire predictions happening around the globe, talk of the weather these days often involves stories of survival, pleas for support…and, opportunities for authentic corporate citizenship and strategic partnership.
A year ago, on Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti was devastated by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. One year later charities have raised $1.4 billion for relief and recovery efforts. Cause related marketing efforts include those by Aeropostale, Coca-Cola, Tide and social gaming power-house Zynga. Zynga has raised nearly $3 million for Haiti relief and recovery efforts by offering limited edition items related to its top games, such as Farmville, for sale to benefit strategic non-profit partners. Zynga is currently raising additional funds to support educational efforts for Haitian refugee children, including the construction of a school in Mirebalais, Haiti as part of it’s Strategy for Sustainability:
Social media continues to evolve as a viable fundraising method and valuable resource. The Red Cross’s text-to-donate (text code Haiti to donate $10) raised $7 million in less than one week strictly through text-messaging.
Last week, on Jan. 13th, 2011, in the area’s worst flood in over 35 years, over 15,000 properties in 50 Brisbane, Australia suburbs -including 3,500 businesses- have been impacted by floodwaters that rose to their highest peak of 4.46 meters (just under 15 feet). As of Jan. 18th, there have been 25 deaths with 12 more missing due to the flood across the Queensland province. Social media platforms are being utilized in various ways to support recovery efforts, from safety messaging and updates to promoting fundraisers to sharing photos and more. The financial toll of the flooding has been estimated to be more than $20 billion and rising with the risk that the final numbers could supersede Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of $81.2 billion back in 2005.
A FEW WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
- Brisbane Floods: Make a targeted donation via the Australian Red Cross
- Brisbane Floods: Donate to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Queensland
- Hurricanes Katrina & Rita: Join our client, Rebuilding Together, in continuing much needed Gulf Coast recovery efforts.
A clear corporate citizen leading branded support efforts for the Australian flood relief and recovery is not apparent. Missed opportunity?
“SUPERSTORM” IN CALIFORNIA?:
According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Multi Hazards Demonstration Project, a “superstorm” could be brewing in California involving 40 days and 10 feet of rain. This massive hypothetical storm, “the ARkStorm Scenario,” could potentially create $300 billion in damage and devastation. This potential weather scenario, while currently hypothetical, is not improbable.Hopefully the superstorm will remain a prediction indefinitely. But it does beg the question:
Does your organization have a solid strategy in place to react accordingly to the next extreme weather scenario or natural disaster on our planet?