Many Calgary communities, urged by Mayor Naheed Nenshi, hosted neighbourhood block parties to remember the thousands of people who responded to this emergency and to celebrate how far we’ve come since that day.
I attended the Cliff Bungalow – Mission event just a couple of blocks away. Last year I volunteered in this community to help neighbours clean up their flooded homes.
When I think back to June 2013, I remember one incident in particular. The City of Calgary set up an impromptu gathering for those who wanted to volunteer to help citizens affected by the flood. As I recall, They expected about 300 people and had a plan on how they would deploy them.
The response was overwhelming and unmanageable. Thousands of people showed up to volunteer. Instead of turning away the excess of people, the crowd was directed to, “get yourself some rubber boots, go to the affected neighbourhoods and just help wherever you can.”
And that’s just what the people did. It was magnificent and the momentum carried on for weeks and when local residents had been helped, they piled onto busses and headed to High River and other towns and cities to help others.
I believe that two crucial things contributed to the great response in Calgary.
- Constant communication from the Mayor’s office kept people informed on the latest updates and need for volunteers;
- Those who wanted to help were encouraged to do so without being hindered by complicated processes.
The questions that began to circulate once the emergency was dealt with were:
“How can non-profits learn from this? How can they improve their communication within their communities? How can they adapt their volunteer and fundraising programs to enable those who want to help do so, without being bogged down in processes?
Did you explore theses questions and implement processes that would allow Calgarians to engage with you? Or if you’re outside the Calgary area, are you set up in a way that allows for volunteers and donors to just jump in and help? If so, I’d love to hear about it, please contact me here to share your story.
The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.