Recovering from a natural disaster takes months and years for metropolitan communities, let along regional communities and while seeing city slickers get stuck into clearing the mud and rubbish away is inspiring, we can all do something to help with the medium and long term financial recovering of flood devastated communities.
Spending money locally and with small businesses is the key for so many family operated businesses and the thousands of people who are employed by small businesses, especially during the global financial crisis.
While insurance, government assistance and the Flood Relief Appeal money will make a difference the medium and long term financial survival will depend on cash flow, on sales income for all those businesses knocked sideways by the floods.
It's one thing to donate to the Flood Relief Appeals so they can help individuals and families recover, to have a government levy to help fund the rebuilding of all that destroyed infrastructure, it's another thing altogether to get the local business communities cash flows going again with tourists.
So we thought we'd give a helping hand in coming up with great ideas for helping out and spending money where it will make the year that much easier for families and businesses getting back on their feet.
5 Ways to Help Flood Affected Communities Recover
The ideas are simple and are all about finding double whammies for money getting back into communities.
Friendly Sporting Tournaments
Get your sporting team to play a friendly tournament with sister sporting teams in a flood affected areas. Make a tour of it!
Having the kids (or the golden oldies and anyone in between) get to tour and play is a great adventure for all involved, traveling to different areas, including interstate, and lets everyone experience more of this impressive country.
All participating teams will benefit from expanding their sporting communities and playing teams they wouldn't normally meet.
Plus money from the tour goes straight back into affected communities, including accommodation, transport, meals, local shopping and more. So get your club involved and be part of the fun of a regional tour!
Giving Gift Vouchers from flood affected shops.
Buy gift vouchers from craft shops that have been affected and give them to women and men who have lost their craft stashes and equipment. This puts money straight back into the shops who really need a boost to their cash flow so they can keep paying their rent, bills and invoices while helping individuals restock their crafting supplies.
For anyone with a hobby knows how being able to spend time working away at a favourite activity helps you relax and have some time out. The sooner you can get back to your craft, your favourite things, the sooner you'll feel like you're rebuilding your life again.
To get involved find the local craft guild or association and ask how you can help. They might need organisational help, hands on involvement or donations - it all depends on who's involved and how far along projects are.
This idea works for a wide range of small business retailers - music and DVD shops, book stores, clothes shops, hobby shops - the list goes on.
Shop online with small businesses and designers who are rebuilding after the flood.
Online shopping is heaps of fun and a great way for finding that something different and special so have a good look around online, you'll be delighted with what you find.
Something I've always found inspirational is the get up and go of regional women. And now with the internet more and more country and regional women are getting to show case their talents with their own online stores and outlets on esty.com. Just have a look on the contact pages for the addresses and you'll be pleasantly surprised to find out where some of these talented and creative women are based.
Another great way to find regional women with online stores is via Facebook and Twitter. It's loads of fun searching around, having a look at the different pages and their related websites and you'll be amazed at what you can find.
Have your winter or (and?) spring holidays in regional flood affected areas.
This lets you see more of our wonderful country, get to meet the locals, pumps money straight back into the communities through accommodation, meals, tours, shopping.
The big bonus will be in getting to see and experience this amazing country of ours with the vibrant regional communities, their festivals and fairs, markets and cooking schools, food and wine tours; all with that famous warm and generous country hospitality.
Personally I love regional and country holidays. There's time to stop and rejuvenate, to talk with locals and get another perspective on life and take some time out absorbing the vista from captivating lookouts.
I love discovering what the little towns have that makes them special - the delicious restaurant or cafe that is known to be the best for a special dish made from seasonal local produce, weekend markets, the fantastic book or art and craft shops, beautiful gardens, the be-all and end-all of variety stores and of course, amazing treasures in the op shops!
Having a country holiday this year could be just what the doctor ordered for your spirits and the flood affected regional communities!
Want to find out more about planning a holiday? Click here for Queensland holidays.
Click here for Victorian holidays.
Organise your conference in a regional centre
Having your conference in a regional area that's recovering from a natural disaster is a great way to not only financially help flood affected small businesses but also to inspire and motivate your team and colleagues by experiencing first hand a community pulling together to rebuild and flourish again.
It's a great way to put the small things in perspective; watching how ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things for their families and communities.
Conference delegates not only inject money into the local accommodation and conference centre but also with other local small businesses like tours, farms, wineries, art galleries, shops, golf courses and entertainment centres and all employ the locals who are rebuilding.
Flourishing Small Businesses
All of this is about creating the win/win/win for our friends and families who are having a much tougher year than expected because of natural disasters beyond their control.
Over 80% of Australians are employed by small business and cash flow is king for small business. So get involved, find a way to help boost a recovering local economy and cash flow. Shop locally, go visit friends and family, have a country holiday, get your sporting team making new friends, lend a hand to fellow crafters and be part of the rebuilding efforts. While I'm sure every business would love someone to come in a spend up big what every business needs is just to get the business ticking over again with some consistency. We all benefit from a vibrant local economy!