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Philanthropy Amidst Peril: Unraveling the Brand Impact of Corporate Disaster Philanthropy

The global trend of natural disasters from 1970 to 2019 has resulted in over two million deaths and $3.64 trillion in losses. Firms play an important role in disaster relief, contributing significantly to aid efforts. However, a firm’s decision to offer disaster relief is complicated due to various relief efforts. For example, after Hurricane Harvey in 2021, Johnson & Johnson delivered medicine to emergency shelters, while JPMorgan Chase provided financial donations to non-governmental organizations. Moreover, firms often haphazardly offer disaster relief without much understanding of its downstream consequences for the community and the firm itself. This study explores how different corporate disaster relief efforts (i.e., in-kind and branded donations, matching gifts, NGO partnerships) affect a firm’s reputation from the consumer perspective. Using a structural break model and data from various sources, we provide insights and practical guidance for firms responding to disasters, highlighting the potential reputational benefits.