What We Changed

Overall, the top five lessons learned and what we changed were:

  • Established a Disaster Relief Fund
  • Established messaging in advance for the call center, internal employee website and in response to email inquiries
  • Placed a designee on the internal Emergency Preparedness team and as a point of contact for all internal and external inquiries
  • Developed a speakers' bureau
  • Determined acceptable organizations to direct donations to such as Red Cross, United Way, One Blood, etc.

Community relations, volunteer services and the foundation worked together to establish specific criteria that included:

  • Messaging for Orlando Health call center operators and email inquiry response:

Thank you for your inquiry into how you can assist Orlando Health and the families affected by the recent tragedy.  We are so grateful for your willingness to give back during this difficult time. Please direct all inquiries for donations or volunteer opportunities to [email protected]. Due to security measures, we cannot accept any homemade food items. Examples of acceptable donations include gift cards, bottled water or individually packaged, non-perishable food items and notes or gifts of encouragement. 

Another way to help is to make a donation to the Orlando Health Disaster Relief Fund through the Orlando Health Foundation, which will support the ORMC Level One Trauma Center. 

  • Preparation for incident
    • Designate a generic e-mail address and phone number in the Community Relations department in partnership with the foundation for fielding all general donation inquiries in the midst of a crisis. A point-person should be selected who can be contacted on the day of the incident and can put the plan into effect.
    • Designate liaison in the foundation to receive inquiries regarding all monetary donations.
    • Designate two liaisons from the volunteer services team who will direct all in-kind donations. If foundation representative is not available, utilize a Gift-In-Kind Donation Form.
    • Designate a liaison within the Community Relations department to assist with communications.
    • Designate representatives from food and nutrition and conference services teams to be on-call in the event of in-kind donations of food.
    • Have an easy-to-access web page prepared with a list of all the ways to help and direct all inquiries there. This page will be made live in the event of a crisis. It also will include the contact information of the liaisons mentioned above. Work in partnership with the foundation to have this site created in a timely manner.
      • Share site on social media, internal communication platforms and corporate website.
      • Internal communications should notify all team members via e-mail.
      • Ensure the telecommunications team members are informed so they can direct callers who contact the main corporate phone number.


      • Donations for victims and family members
        • Volunteer services liaison should create a schedule to monitor the delivery of food donations and to provide meal coverage for the families. The food and nutrition and conference services representatives should be involved with designating a space for serving the food and cleaning the space in-between deliveries.
        • Cards and letters directed to the victims and their families should be screened for questionable or discriminatory language prior to being distributed. Volunteers can be utilized for this task.
        • In partnership with the foundation, donations should be tracked on a shared document so that the foundation can receipt and steward appropriately.
  • After incident has occurred
    • Work in partnership with the foundation to activate the crisis website.
    • Obtain a list of departments involved in handling the crisis and use it for distribution of donations.
    • Update guest services team on the procedure for donations dropped off at the hospital. Contact the appropriate volunteer services, foundation and community relations representative to assist.
    • Create comprehensive tracking sheets of items donated; include quantity, contact person, phone number, address and description of items.
    • Create spreadsheet to track donations that come in through other departments and were not seen by volunteer services or community relations.
    • Divide in-kind donations into two categories: donations for team members and donations for victims and family members.
      • Donations for team members
        • Volunteer services liaison should distribute the donations appropriately among departments involved.
        • Donations should be tracked on a shared document so that the foundation can receipt and steward appropriately.


Do’s & Don’ts for Donations (This list should be posted on the crisis web-page described above)


Accepted Donations


Unaccepted Donations

  • Individually packaged food items (bags of chips, granola bars, juice boxes, etc.)
  • Catered meals with grab-n-go items (sandwiches, wraps, etc.)
  • Generic Visa & MasterCard gift cards
  • Gas gift cards
  • Flowers
  • Overnight kits for families
  • Transportation donations
  • Hotel lodgings
  • Banners
  • Cards/Letters
  • Bottled water
  • Fruit
  • Phone chargers
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Homemade food dishes
  • Monetary gifts (please direct to corporate foundation)
  • Unscheduled visits from chaplains, clinical staff, pet therapy teams, etc., not associated with the hospital system