45This article was originally posted atSoftware Advice and written by Holly Aker.

When tragedy strikes, whether a natural disaster like the recent Oklahoma tornado or a tragedy like the Boston Marathon bombing, people are inspired to act immediately. After the devastation at this year’s Boston Marathon, people were eager to give back to the victims, families and first responders affected by the bombings.

According to an article on Software Advice, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino formed The One Fund Boston immediately after the bombings to provide people an outlet to give back. In just one week, The One Fund Boston raised more than $20 million dollars, the article reported. The small, impromptu organization was able to raise such a large amount of many because of two main factors: corporate philanthropy and crowdfunding through social media.

Shortly after the The One Fund Boston went live, companies like New Balance, the MLB and Simon Property Groups contributed a significant amount of donations. Within the first week, corporate donations from companies like these totaled almost two thirds of all contributions to this campaign. The other third of total donations came from crowdfunding.

If your company is interested in raising money in response to disasters like the Oklahoma tornado or the Boston Marathon, here are a few tips to make your campaign successful:

1.  Act quickly – People are more likely to donate right after a disaster rather than after time has passed.

2.  Leverage online influencers – Already having a voice as a brand is a great starting point. From there, find other brands or people with large audiences on social media who have a reputation for giving back and ask them to join your campaign.

3.  Use a multi-channel approach – Spread your campaign across as many social media outlets to get the word out to as many people as possible, keeping in mind channels like Pinterest – or even Storify – which are gaining traction as response campaigns become more prevalent.

4.  Use hashtags – Hashtags categorize information and can help raise awareness. Additionally, companies have the opportunity to create campaign-specific hashtags which create a lasting impression.

5.  Get visual – People are more likely to remember and share your message if it comes with a visual. Including infographics or some kind of imagery makes a message more memorable.

Leveraging the collective power of brands and online influencers, corporate philanthropists can create (and contribute to) powerful crowdfunding campaigns that are essential to raising needed dollars post tragedy. How has your organization contributed in response to emergencies? Feel free to leave your experiences and insights below.

Related articles: 

Helping Boston

How to Help Moore, Oklahoma Rebuild After the Tornado

Get Your Employees Engaged in Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief

Holly Aker joined Austin, Texas-based Software Advice as an Editorial Coordinator in February 2013. She has a background in blogging, public relations, and marketing. An Austin native, Holly graduated from St. Edward’s University with a BA in English Writing and Rhetoric, specializing in Professional Writing. In her free time, she runs a popular craft beer blog focused on getting more women into beer. Handles: @hollyaker, @softwareadvice