The Role of Crowdfunding in Providing Disaster Relief in India

By: Visakha, Shrishaila

Published On: October 12, 2021

A day that came into being as long ago as 1989, the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction entails promoting a risk-aware culture worldwide. It also addresses ways to aid calamity control and sheds light on how disasters end up affecting people of low socioeconomic status much more than high-income communities. These disasters can range from those related to climate change, environmental hazards, industrial upheavals, or man-made risks.

Lives, homes, resources - a lot is lost when disaster strikes. An addition to this list is something that is intricately connected to all 3 - financial security. Loss of income and livelihood can mean inability to afford life-saving healthcare and lack of access to safe and sanitized living conditions. Scarcity of food, shortage of medicines and other resources at a time when families are already so vulnerable can be fatal. 

One of the solutions is a practice that is recently gaining recognition, especially in India. This solution is crowdfunding. An individual, a community, a well-wisher, anyone can start a fundraiser on a crowdfunding platform and empower people to donate to disaster relief fundraisers for first aid kits, clothes, access to healthcare and other critical resources. This type of crowdfunding is also known as disaster crowdfunding and can be engaged in by anyone, anywhere as it takes place completely online. 

Theme for this year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 

In the past, The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction has always followed themes that are unique to the year they are held in. This year, the theme is “Disaster Risk Governance” to acknowledge the rise in death tolls due to COVID 19.


Research such as the one mentioned in this article from April 2021 has found that COVID 19 has killed more people in 16 months than natural disasters have in 20 years. This is why this year’s theme of “disaster risk governance” is important - it recognises the universal need for clear visions, plans, and institutions, supported with local and national strategies, that are motivated to work for the welfare of the public and reduce disaster exposures such as the coronavirus that come at a human cost. 

Country and Calamity

COVID-19 was not the only catastrophe that engulfed the country in the past year. 2020 and 2021 will undoubtedly be regarded as one of the most tragic, disastrous years for the innumerous hardships faced by the country. From cyclones causing death and damage in Maharashtra, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, and more states; floods in Kerala and Assam that reported casualties, agricultural devastation, and landslides; to the gas and oil leak in Assam that burnt for about 5 months, Indians have gone through a lot.

Lives have been lost and mourned, properties have been dismantled, human beings have been displaced, food and shelter have been compromised, and more, and all of it while tackling the pandemic. This is where the absolute need to help each other with the resources we have - comes to the forefront. 

An example of the same can be seen below:

Raising Rs. 77 Lakhs for Ration Kits during Covid-19!

The PTA of Bombay Scottish School, Mahim, and kind donors online united to bring smiles on the faces of the school’s support staff amidst turbulent COVID times. By starting a fundraiser online on ImpactGuru, they brought together more than 1500 donors and collected about Rs. 77 lakhs. The money raised was then spent on ration kits which were provided to every Didi and Driver working at the school. Thanks to crowdfunding, both donors and beneficiaries can help and receive help when they need it the most.

Disaster Crowdfunding and its impact 

Raising the right funds at the right time can be a blessing to those who are exposed to disaster, especially the communities from low socioeconomic statuses who may have limited access to relief resources. 

To help disaster affected communities, any motivated individual can make an impact just by starting a fundraiser or even donating to one! Have a look at how the initiative ‘India for Assam’ was launched during the 2020 Assam floods, which called the nation to come together and donate to the task of relief and rehabilitation of those affected. 

Impact of fundraising 

With the growing reach of technology and social media today, your fundraiser can reach well-wishers who want to help especially since not everyone can physically assist in crisis zones, but can help by donating online on disaster crowdfunding platforms in India such as ImpactGuru. This International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, you have the power to make a vast difference in the lives of those in need. 

To know more about how to start a disaster relief fundraiser, visit ImpactGuru.