Guest Post: The disaster funding decision model

Posted on August 02, 2012 by Guest Blogger

Editor's Note: Veronica Taylor is a consultant specializing in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. She previously worked with The Patterson Foundation to help deepen its understanding of the disaster space. As a guest blogger, she will cover issues relevant to the disaster sector. 

Ultimately, if complexity can be reduced, a disaster becomes less severe and thus less traumatic, disruptive, and damaging.

To reduce the complexity of disaster funding, philanthropy entities can use a Disaster Decision Model to guide thinking when analyzing disaster events and community resilience funding. Think of it as an iron to smooth out the crumbled paper. It helps to distinguish between critical elements and noise.

The model would allow entities to contrast actual conditions with a theoretical model, which can lead to a better understanding of the current situation and how a disaster-related partnership could evolve. This facilitates planning and helps make plans more complete.

Having a decision process model is an essential element in quantifying disaster events, itself key to reducing the complexity of disasters. Without models, efforts at quantification have no base from which to organize the data collected.

A written decision model helps establish a common base of understanding for all involved.  A clear model helps all stakeholders play the same game in the same ballpark.

Finally, and in a similar manner, a decision model can be useful in explaining the course and possible future outcomes of  decisions to others. If the model is clear and confirmed, then its presentation to select or general audiences can facilitate securing support for our efforts.

Every disaster is different because every community is unique, and every donor’s decision model will be different depending on its mission, values, and goals. A well-defined decision model will aide the donor in making those difficult funding decisions in a fair and equitable manner during a time of chaos.

If you would like more information on how to develop a funding decision making tool for your organization, contact me at

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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