Home Opinion Businesses Should Play a More Active Role in Natural Disaster Assistance

Businesses Should Play a More Active Role in Natural Disaster Assistance

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By Dr. Mark Friske
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Military University

In recent months, many areas of the world have been plagued by natural disasters such as hurricanes and forest fires. After each disaster, we see the media and celebrities lead the charge for assistance and donations. While some of the donations actually reach affected areas, other donations never seem to get to those who are the focus of fundraising and assistance.

One community that has been absent from disaster assistance for the most part is the corporate world. Can businesses actually help people who have been affected by a natural disaster? Should they help? Can this action be considered fair, given that the business world has been absent from disaster events?

Corporate Disaster Assistance Would Create a Positive Image for Businesses

It seems that anyone who does almost anything to assist those affected by a natural disaster also receives media attention and press. While this should not be the only reason to help disaster victims, wouldn’t such assistance create a positive image for businesses?

Most businesses try to maintain a positive reputation, so wouldn’t this kind of assistance only add to that reputation? Businesses that struggle with a positive image, like Uber, could get a positive boost from disaster assistance.

Also, let us not forget about tax deductions. Most times when people donate cash or in kind, they can write off the donation on their taxes.

A tax deduction would also assist businesses because most of them are already trying to lower their taxes. Donations could also help with a company’s bottom line.

Automakers Are Offering Assistance to Owners of Vehicles Damaged or Destroyed in Hurricanes

Recently, automakers have provided assistance to customers whose vehicles were damaged or destroyed in the recent spate of hurricanes. This assistance comes in the form of a discount on the price of a new car or the deferral of payments until next year.

But why are automakers waiting until now to provide assistance? Is the current car market slow or are auto makers struggling? What about offering help to those who might have been affected by earlier disasters, when no such assistance was given?

Other types of business are joining auto manufacturers to help as a result of the automakers’ actions. The continuation of this kind of altruism could help many businesses to become more profitable and improve their market share.

Another question that the media and the business world have not answered is: Shouldn’t businesses realize that it is their duty to assist people affected by natural disasters? While most people understand that businesses’ goal is to be profitable and sustainable, shouldn’t businesses also realize that they too are part of the larger community? Since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in effect that corporations can be legally viewed as persons in some situations, shouldn’t businesses act like regular people and assist those in need?

Start an Emergency & Disaster Management Degree at American Military University.

About the Author

Mark Friske, Ph.D., is a part-time instructor in the School of Business at AMU. He holds a M.B.A. in business administration and a Ph.D. in organization and management, both from Capella University. In addition, Mark has a B.A. in pre-law from Bob Jones University.

Mark is a U.S. Navy veteran and has 25 years of management and leader experience with Apple, Citibank, UPS and other companies. He is a management and leadership consultant with Disney.