Businesses have a corporate social responsibility to help in times of crisis—systems must be in place in order to effectively respond, and the response in itself must be authentic. It can be a fine balancing act, between consistency in delivering equal aid to multiple disaster areas, as well as maintaining legitimacy. The humanitarian organization, American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), has operated as a clearinghouse in delivering supplies and services to natural disaster areas, and has capabilities in delivering those services to multiple disaster areas.
PR expert Paul Holmes delivers his perspective about how to respond sensibly to natural disaster: “Consumers—and employees—are dismissive of short-term initiatives. They expect companies to be responsible in a sustained way, ideally at a cultural level rather than through a one-off program.” That’s why, he says, a company should always use their essential capabilities in responding to natural disaster—such as “the logistical expertise of FedEx, or the products of a bottled-water company.”
As a network, ALAN is able to branch out amid many different companies and organizations in order to provide the necessary supplies and goods for distribution in areas hit by natural disaster. ALAN regularly publishes a “Situation Report,” detailing the current needs across the country—air transport, warehouse space, transportation, material handling, and more. The report also details specific items needed, such as medical supplies, food, generators, water, and other important materials.
A “Logistics Needs Map” details areas of the country with current urgent requests, along with the materials needed for transport, warehousing space or transportation needed, equipment for material handling, and other logistics needs. Varying disaster areas are listed on the map, most recently with a focus on locations such as Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. ALAN also utilizes social media—Twitter, and Facebook—to deliver messages about current logistics needs, and also call for volunteers in logistics, marketing, admin, technology and customer service.
Evans is proud to support a company such as ALAN, in distributing aid and services across the country in areas hit hard by the recent natural disasters.