How Businesses Can Help Oklahoma Tornado Victims (Hint: Learn from Boston)

8758905441_d7bf474039 I'm away this week speaking at the New Strategies Conference in Charleston, S.C. But like everyone else I heard the sad news about the tornados in Oklahoma and the terrible loss of life and property.

I know businesses are going to want to help. And after seeing how businesses responded after the tragedy in my hometown of Boston, I have a few suggestions.

1. Donate what's needed most, but especially cash. Give what you can and tell people what and how much you gave. People are expecting you to do something so be upfront.

2. If your business has a cash register, set up a register program so customers can donate. If you can match their donations, even better.

3. If your company has made a donation, but is not a B2C business with a register, explore your options to donate a portion or percentage of sales from your product or service. You'll find plenty of example on this Pinterest board.

After the Boston bombing I read about an investment firm that was donating a day's worth of commissions to the victims. Every business makes money. Tap into your money maker to help the victims.

4. If your company hasn't made a direct donation to the relief effort, or if you don't plan to donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of a product or service (i.e. every dollar the consumer gave you with no deduction for expenses), don't do anything until you're ready to contribute with sincerity and resolve.

5. Continue to honor your commitments to other charities. Helping the victims in Oklahoma is critical, but, honestly, companies - especially large companies - are sitting on A LOT OF CASH. Don't cut the pie into smaller pieces. Make a bigger pie.

If your company is strapped for cash, but you still wants to help, build your support into next year's budget. The folks in Oklahoma will need help for a long, long time.

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Top Photo: Wesley Fryer via Flickr