Nigel’s thoughts after the NYRCHQ tour

February 18, 2010
By Nigel_Snoad

I really appreciate the thoughts others have outlined after the visit to the Red Cross NYHQ. 

I think the posts below captured a lot of things, but I’m left thinking that there are a couple of real challenges & opportunities (and aren’t they the same thing?) that are often obscured by the immediacy of their day-to-day response work. And I get this: I’m primarily a responder in all the work I’ve done. The bigger and harder the more I love it (to paraphrase Scott.) So, these are just some thoughts.

1. Personal and Family preparedness. We all “know” that we should be more prepared for disasters. This is as simple as properly backing-up our data, or taking a first-aid class, or could be as complete as storing 4 days food and water at home. But we all get tired, let things slip, say “next week/month/year”. I used to be a pandemic contingency planner and I’ve allowed the stuff I stockpiled at home to dwindle down. It doesn’t help that this kind of thinking is, even to me, desperately boring compared to almost anything else we can do. How do we get people (or just us?) to be prepared? How do we get kids to help? Or make us think of our kids as a motivator? Some links:

  • And, if you’re curious, my list of stuff (yes, it’s a little OTT, and I don’t have all this at home by any means, but this is what I should be advising, honest!)

2. Intangible rewards for volunteering: I was really struck by the repeated comments by the New York staff that there’s a real sense of mission, and satisfaction, with volunteering. But I noticed that there seemed to be a sense that being a “leader”, or senior volunteer, didn’t seem to hold many attractions. While we can work on the whole experience, I feel that there might be a number of ways to make people feel good about what they’ve stepped up to do, about the responsibilities they’ve taken on. Somehow this would have to be done in a way that didn’t denigrate the work of others, or lead to an unbalancing of what seems to be a remarkable egalitarian organization.

More from me soon – I know I promised some ideas from the ARC in Washington.

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