Perhaps a perspective on a positive experience will spark some ideas..
Over the past 18 months we've been working harder than ever to build relationships with local churches and civic groups in hopes to recruit new entities into the disaster relief/recovery world. After less than desirable response to a letter that went to every church in the county, in the wake of last year's ice storm, they started coming out of the woodwork.
Earlier this month we orchestrated a disaster recovery dinner meeting for faith-based orgs and civic groups, hosted by the local Elks Lodge (disaster feeding site). More than 15 churches were represented along with the Red Cross, Salvation Army and DSS, to name a few. In addition, 2 mayors, a police chief, fire chief, the county HR director and deputy county administrator were in attendance. The focus of the meeting was to discuss a 2 key shortfalls we anticipate post disaster: feeding (public and responders) and donations distribution.
The outcome was very positive and we have more groups calling the office to find out where they fit into the recovery picture. What's even more eyeopening is how we're helping create relationships across denominations - this has gone beyond what our VOADs facilitate.
I attribute the success in part to my staff's effort, the buy-in from our community stakeholders and the support from our local government leadership.
We are excited and anxious to see what emerges on this side of the EM program.