When a major flood hit Calgary, Alberta, on 21 June 2013, more than 100,000 people from Calgary and neighboring communities were evacuated after their homes were flooded, instantly creating a wave of need. United Way of Calgary and Area is the city’s only privately funded provider of human services, connecting vulnerable Calgarians to resources that help them thrive. The disaster presented United Way with a clear opportunity to fulfill its mission to improve lives and help build extraordinary communities by quickly connecting concerned donors with urgent community needs. Human service agencies looked to us for support as they dealt with an influx of service demands; so did corporations and donors looking to help.
A major challenge stood in the way: United Way’s building was flooded, knocking the organization’s computer servers offline at the height of the crisis. This meant all staff (including communication staff) had no access to United Way’s intranet, email or phone lines, even from home, for a week. As the IT team worked quickly to restore the servers, we had to work nimbly with alternative tools not just to communicate externally, but also to relay crucial information to our own staff.
After the flood, we reached out to specific donor groups and the general public so they could understand our actions and would consider donating to our Emergency Community Support Fund.
The overarching goal was to make sure that our Emergency Community Fund was visible in the community, and that our messaging reached all of our intended audiences. The objectives for measuring the success of the efforts were:
- Donors and corporate partners contribute to the Emergency Community Support fund, with donations exceeding CDN$500,000.
- Every staff member knows the building is closed and receives updates;100% get the message and employees go to the building.
This content is available to IABC members only. To continue reading, log in below.