Helping with Disaster Recovery in the Southern Ozarks, part 3
Since experiencing the massive flooding in Southern Missouri, I've run into the concept of 'resilience' linked to disaster recovery. It's a great concept. It easily applies to good recovery on the part of any individual or organization that experiences stress, especially stress that is game-changing. I'd guess that many if not most of the organizations that FundRaiser works with can relate directly to the concept of resilience at this time of great change in our society.
In the case of Autumn Shirley, CEO of FundRaiser, fundraising has been a part of her resilient response to the extraordinary experience she and her husband Joshua Shirley, who is CFO of FundRaiser, and other members of the Shirley family went through. Their dramatic story was publicized widely when they survived the flood that unexpectedly forced them to the roof of their river house.
After their rescue and celebration of their close call, life returns to normal... with the additional need to integrate the experience. This is when the concept of resiliency comes into its own. A resilient response is one that allows people to handle the consequences of a traumatic experience and then move on at the same or even an improved level of functioning.
The Shirley family is demonstrating a resilient response on many levels. The entire family immediately set to work clearing away debris and rebuilding. At the same time, Autumn and her mother Peggy Donahue took action to alleviate some of the painful emotions they were experiencing by creating a GoFundMe fundraiser for their neighbors, Help The James Lane Survivors.
"People suggested that I pick a project and focus on it as a way to feel less helpless," says Autumn. "I wanted to be able to do something. I have donated to GoFundMe projects in the past, so it came to mind under these circumstances. We went home to our own warm dry beds, but our neighbors were dealing with losing everything. I wanted to be able to do something for them. Those guys had been up all night worrying about us when we were stranded, and as good as it felt getting home, I felt guilty about being in comfort when they are not.
"Other people were also asking us how they could help. Setting up the fundraiser seemed like a good way to give people an opportunity to help even if they couldn't come out and physically clear away trees and debris. This way, they helped get neighborhood wells back up and running and helped feed the crews that were working on site," says Autumn.
Setting up the GoFundMe fundraiser was a little different for Autumn than for a nonprofit. "Because we weren't a nonprofit, GoFundMe had a very thorough vetting process to make sure we were legitimate. Even so, I've found that running the campaign is similar to fundraising I've done for nonprofits. I posted a good story with pictures. I shared it a lot. I updated the posts with more good pictures, and the event took on a life of it's own. We've raised a total of $6,000 both online and offline so far, which is more than half way to our goal."
Offering people a chance to improve difficult conditions is one of the main roles of nonprofits in our society. It is valuable to remember that in doing so, FundRaiser customers support resiliency for the donors who support your cause, as well as those who are the focus of your mission. Donating generates positive feelings in the face of difficult situations, and can help people feel less guilty about their own good fortune and more connected to the world and their community.
Please contact us if we can help you in any way to achieve your goals using FundRaiser, at