Ottenhoff agrees that large corporations have made progress since tarmacs in Indonesia were littered with unwanted supplies in 2004. "They probably have some people on staff who work full time on this," he said. "They probably have in place memos of understanding or other relationship with disaster relief organizations. Many make cash available. They've worked this out in advance."
FedEx, for one, has pledged aid to the Philippines in the form of transport. It intends to fill an MD-11 aircraft with supplies from Direct Relief International and Heart to Heart International, NGOs that have worked with the company before, and fly them into the afflicted areas.
Some companies have had help from initiatives like the Business Civic Leadership Center, a part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The center was founded in 2000 as more companies were making corporate social responsibility a part of their management strategy. Gerald McSwiggan, the director of issue networks at the center, says large companies have made particular strides. And while he says it's harder to track the efforts of small to midsize businesses, anecdotally he hasn't seen as many drives to collect canned goods or similar programs.
(Read more: Rethinking the way your company should respond to a disaster)
The chamber recently held a conference call with several large NGOs like the Red Cross about their aid efforts in the Philippines, and roughly 75 businesses called in, McSwiggan said.
Still, even the smartest companies would do well to think about disaster philanthropy more comprehensively, experts say. McSwiggan recommends that companies do more advance planning so they have a strategy in place before a disaster happens.
"We try to tell companies, 'Disasters are not the time to hand out business cards,'" he said. "You want those relationships established with NGOs already. Small businesses should use large NGOs and focus on cash donations. If you don't have those relationships built, don't fund a start-up organization. Don't try to ship goods into the country. You're not prepared to do these things."
Ottenhoff says companies need to think about the long haul when they plan post-disaster donations. Assistance "still tends to be focused on immediate relief," he said. "What we still see missing is sufficient resources being focused on planning and preparation and mitigation before the disaster, and then a lack of attention paid to long term recovery and rebuilding."
(Read more: Typhoon was our 'Black Swan:' Philippine exchange COO)
In the case of Typhoon Haiyan, the rebuilding could be extremely prolonged. "Millions of people have fled their homes and are living in temporary housing and getting emergency food and clothing," Ottenhoff said. "Will they be able to come back to their homes or continue fishing or farming, or come back to their small business? This is an issue that doesn't get sufficient funding attention.
"We're not saying, 'Don't send money for emergency response,' but don't forget about those people once they've been rescued. They've got a long road ahead of them."
—By CNBC's Kelley Holland. Follow her on Twitter @KKelleyHolland.