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Help for the Helpers During an Emergency

Nonprofit agencies are seen as champions in their community, especially during emergencies. They’re typically first on the ground after a disaster and a source of support long after others have moved on. Nonprofit agencies, both local and national, fill critical roles in disaster recovery...but who helps the helpers when emergencies arise?

Keep reading to take a closer look at disaster preparation and recovery tactics.


Take the Lead with Smart Pre-incident Planning

Experienced nonprofit agencies know business as usual can be radically disrupted during and after a disaster. Services and supplies become difficult to source, new volunteers begin calling, while staff members are struggling to ensure day-to-day operations aren’t interrupted.

Whether it’s consulting with a disaster recovery specialist, outfitting a surge of volunteers with clean-up kits and supplies, or securing emergency equipment rentals, cooperative purchasing organizations can offer the lifeline needed to maximize time and resources. Additionally, nonprofit agencies can utilize cooperative purchasing to ensure they have on-call access to suppliers before, during and after a disaster by exercising a bit of pre-planning.  

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages nonprofits to award prepositioned contracts before a crisis.  

“The use of prepositioned contracts allows applicants to conduct a deliberate procurement process outside of the pressure and immediate demands of a disaster. It also helps to ensure that applicants have contractors ready to perform work quickly after an incident occurs when needed most.” 

Prepare Before a Disaster.” FEMA, 

How Cooperative Contracts Support You

Partnering with a cooperative purchasing organization provides ready access to emergency preparedness contracts that pre-identify suppliers who can quickly respond and adapt to requests. Nonprofits of any size can source the solutions they need at volume discount prices.  

OMNIA Partners contracts are competitively solicited and publicly awarded. Our members also have access to our team of procurement experts offering strategic sourcing and other consultative services and rapid response teams with specific suppliers. There is no cost to participate and no order minimums. 

Our national suppliers can preposition resources in anticipation of a disaster and provide valuable pre-incident expertise. During recovery, they can assess inventory positions, expedite orders and offer on-site emergency operations center support. 

Create Your Emergency Operations Plan (EOP)

An emergency operations plan addresses internal needs first. When your own house is in order, you have time to focus on helping others. Emergency plans don’t have to start from scratch. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website includes downloadable emergency operations planning guides.  

Having an EOP in place—and reviewing it annually—outlines mission-critical tasks ahead of time. It spells out crisis communications and staffing roles. It also guides organizations to follow government rules about donations, grants and properly soliciting supplies. 

“There is much truth in the adage that those who fail to plan in many respects plan to fail,” said Melinda Pallotta, Director, Nonprofits, at OMNIA Partners. “This is why EOPs are of utmost importance, regardless of whether public or private funds are in use. At OMNIA Partners, our consultative approach helps member agencies develop, refine and implement their EOPs.” 

What to include in your EOP 

  • Crisis communication plans, including a robust contact list 
  • Data protection and backups 
  • Document protection 
  • Annual insurance review
  • Staff roles in a disaster
  • Supplier contacts

Disasters can shut down computer servers and cut off office access. Remember to keep at least one printed copy of your EOP in an off-site location.  

OMNIA Partners Portfolio Offerings  

  • Disaster Restoration of Operational Services  
  • Modular Buildings  
  • Portable Storage  
  • Electrical, Lighting & Data Communications  
  • MRO Supplies  
  • Equipment Rentals & Related Products  
  • Roofing Supplies & Services  
  • Risk Preparedness & Claims Recovery Services  
  • Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Service  
  • Safety Equipment & Solutions  
  • Moving & Relocation Services  
  • Non-Disaster Restoration of Operational Services  
  • HVAC Products, Installation & Services  
  • Technology Products, Services & Solutions