How Small Businesses Can Help With Disaster Relief

disaster relief contractorsDuring natural disasters and national emergencies, supplies and services must quickly be rushed to affected areas. To help with these efforts, government agencies rely on disaster relief contractors. Register your business with the System for Award Management (SAM) to be added to the Disaster Response Registry if you are interested in assisting in disasters. This is necessary to qualify for Federal Government contract opportunities during presidentially declared disasters. Check out this website at to learn more.

Whether you’re seeking to donate items, money or your time, there are many ways to help those affected by disaster. To make the most of your efforts, following tried and true best practices for donating and volunteering responsibly is important.

Monetary contributions are the fastest, most flexible and most effective way to contribute to relief efforts. Organizations on the ground can purchase what is needed, often in bulk and with discounts. They can also buy from local businesses, which supports economic recovery in the affected community. Donors can contribute funds directly to a recognized nonprofit or use online platforms such as Network for Good and GlobalGiving to direct their donations to specific projects.

Individual donors can also hold fundraisers to raise money for disaster relief. When doing so, it’s important to make sure that the fundraiser is a legitimate charitable organization. Individuals can check to see if an organization is tax-exempt by searching the IRS list of recognized charities. It’s also a good idea to ask the charity how it intends to use donated funds. Some scam artists pose as representatives of recognized charities to solicit donations.

Some donors prefer to donate items instead of money because they feel that it gives them a better connection to the people harmed by disasters. However, many charities recommend monetary donations because they provide more flexibility in responding to changing needs in the wake of a crisis.

A study of business philanthropy following a disaster found that the reputation of a firm as a donor was more important than the size of its donation. Firms that are well-regarded by the public and the media benefit from pledging aid, while those with poor reputations suffer in the aftermath of a disaster.

While there are many benefits to private philanthropy in the aftermath of a disaster, it is important to balance giving with your other financial goals and priorities. To maximize your impact, consider strategies such as focusing on early recovery, supporting resilient communities and investing in prevention and mitigation activities that reduce the severity of future disasters.

Food Drives

In a disaster, supplies need to be quickly rushed to affected areas. That’s why agencies rely on contracting to get the necessary items and services to the people who need them. Small businesses are encouraged to participate in this effort, but there are some misconceptions about what it takes to become a relief contractor.

The first step in becoming a relief contractor is to register your business with the System for Award Management (SAM). You’ll receive a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number and a Common Acquisition Code Group (CAGE) code, which will help you find federal contract opportunities. After registering, familiarize yourself with FEMA’s mission and objectives. Also, make sure you understand the types of contracts the agency awards.

During the initial phases of disaster feeding, households are typically provided with individual sized food items such as cereals, pastas, canned fruits and vegetables and protein (beef, chicken or pork). Household disaster feeding can be implemented in conjunction with existing food bank distribution networks, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army or other non-governmental organizations.

Disaster relief contractors often work with local government agencies to determine the scope of needs. In 2017, for example, the state of Louisiana established the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Operations Center (LADRC) at Abdalla Hall to coordinate state activities in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) National Disaster Operation Center.

In addition, local communities organize their own in-kind food drives. Unfortunately, inefficiency in these drives can detract from the efforts of relief workers, and it’s not uncommon for volunteers to waste time sorting out well-intentioned but unusable donations. This is particularly true in the case of in-kind clothing and shoe drives.

The inefficiencies of these in-kind donations can be offset by advance contracts – which are negotiated before disasters hit. Then, when disasters occur, relief agencies can repurpose the advance contracts for their immediate response needs. This approach allows the agencies to focus on their primary mission, and it also frees up staff to handle other urgent tasks. This is why the federal government uses this approach – rather than mandating full and open competition for all contracts – during times of emergency.


The best way to help your local community or those affected by disasters is to volunteer your time. This helps your personal well-being and builds great relationships around the world. Volunteering can also boost your career prospects and provide you with new skills and experiences, as well as giving you a chance to travel.

Disaster relief contractors are businesses that help in cleanup and rebuilding after natural disasters, hurricanes, and other catastrophes. They work with government agencies, like FEMA, to assist communities that are struggling after a natural disaster. Disaster relief contractors can help restore power, clean up debris, and provide food to those who have been displaced from their homes.

Volunteering is an unpaid activity, undertaken voluntarily and without financial gain, and done for the benefit of the community. It can be done by people of any age or background. It can be anything from delivering meals on wheels to helping an elderly person shop in the grocery store. Volunteers can also be people who are studying or working full-time but take time off from their jobs to volunteer. They can even be professional medical or legal volunteers, who give their time for free to promote a good cause or help an organization work more effectively.

When national emergencies or natural disasters occur, supplies and services need to be rushed to affected areas quickly. Small business owners can participate in the recovery process by acquiring disaster or emergency relief contracts with the federal government through the System for Award Management (SAM). The government identifies its needs through a database that lists companies that offer debris removal, distribution of supplies, and reconstruction. Businesses must register within the SAM database and declare their NAICS codes to qualify for government contracts.

There are many benefits of volunteering, including the opportunity to learn new skills and make friends with people from different backgrounds. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment and can increase self-esteem. However, you should always be careful when choosing a volunteering opportunity, as some can be more demanding than others and may not be the right fit for your skills and interests. Before signing up for a volunteer project, ask the coordinator about the expectations and whether you will be trained.

Financial Assistance

In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, Federal agencies rely on contractors to help evacuate residents, provide food and water, and remove debris. They also work to rebuild basic infrastructure. This phase is called response and it can last up to ninety days. After that point, the government usually comes in as an insurer of last resort, providing financial assistance to those whose losses are not covered by private insurance or other sources of aid. These vouchers allow individuals to purchase food, personal hygiene products, clothing, transportation, cleaning supplies and some limited furniture and appliances. The money can also cover utility deposits and housing expenses for up to thirty days. The SBA also provides grants for small businesses to help them reopen and recover from disasters.

When a disaster occurs, the Government is inundated with requests for help. This creates a need for disaster relief contractors to be ready to take on new projects quickly. The best way to ensure that your business is positioned to be considered for these opportunities is to register in the Disaster Response Registry in SAM, the System for Award Management database used by FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

During the registration process, you can check the box that indicates that your company wants to be included in the Disaster Response Registry. This allows contracting officers to easily locate your business during times of crisis. Once registered, you can also use the SAM system to find opportunities for working with the Government and to track your contract history.

You can search for contracts within the System for Award Management using your North American Industry Classification System code (NAICS) and keywords such as hurricane or disaster to see what is available. You can also contact your local SBA district office to learn more about opportunities in your area.

While it is impossible to predict when a disaster will strike, being prepared can save lives and businesses. The Federal Government is always looking for ways to assist victims of natural disasters and emergencies. If you have experience and expertise, you can provide valuable services to these efforts.