Web Proves Vital in Katrina Relief Effort
But not everything was glitch free. Hood says the Salvation Army saw heavy activity on the Internet within 48 hours of Katrina hitting the Gulf Coast and released an Internet campaign driving people to a donation page on its Web site shortly thereafter. Despite a server expansion after the donor rush following Sept. 11, the site wasn’t equipped to handle the amount of traffic it received, causing it to move slowly and forcing the organization to add five servers to its network — what Hood calls a “Band-Aid fix.”
“If you go on our Web site to make a donation, you’re now getting options for different servers in different parts of the country, which is not real smart business for Internet fundraising at all. But it’s getting us through, and people are being patient and using the system as it is,” Hood says. “But we know when this is all over, that we’ve got to re-examine our ability to respond quickly to massive disasters like this.”
Gruber says nonprofits are building their sites in advance of a hurricane hitting, and launching them once they confirm there’s a need.