Schools closed. Work closed. Stores closed. Parties canceled. Stay at home. Keep your distance. Avoid contact. Based on the Federal Government’s recommendations over this past weekend, these social distancing measures will likely be with us through April.
Digital connectedness is serving as a bridge over the imminent social isolation so many may feel. Whether through online schooling, e-commerce, video work meetings, or text to family and friends, digital is allowing many parts of life to continue – although perhaps differently.
To all our nonprofit clients and contacts, the iMission team is offering a simple guideline to help your organization navigate through the pandemic and keep your digital engagement high though the COVID-19 pandemic. These are important today. They also will help your organization emerge as a more effective connector and communicator with your donors, volunteers, advocates and activists.
Don’t Go Digitally Dark
Critically and simply, this is not a time to suspend your stakeholder engagement. Please do not go dark. Your supporters really do care about what is happening to the people your organization serves, the impact on your programs and the financial health of your organization. Many really do want to hear from you.
Speak to the Pressing Issues
Times are different, so what gets communicated also needs to be different. You’ll want to address how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting or threatening your programs and the people they serve. Your digital engagement should speak to the pandemic issues. But in the streams of engagement, there also is a place to discuss issues, programs and challenges that existed before the crisis and will exist after the crisis passes.
Elevate Digital Engagement
Take time over the next few weeks to organize the engagement with your stakeholders. Think through the engagement themes. Then, schedule the communications and activities: emails, social posts, digital meet-ups and webinars. This also may be a time to test text messaging. Of note: open rates on texts will be 3x-4x times the open rate of the emails your organization sends out.
And to all those who have been to our digital engagement training, recall that the message is simply the starting point to get a supporter to take action, like join us on a digital call for a briefing; donate to or host an online fundraiser in support of an emergency fund; or sign-up to be a post-pandemic volunteer.
If you’re not sure about how to organize digital engagement of supporters during this pandemic, get help. This is a good time to engage board members to lend a hand. Reach out on your social media sites and ask for help. You also can reach out to us at email@example.com. We’re fielding questions from lots of nonprofits, clients and non-clients alike, in these recent weeks.
iMission also is compiling a list of resources for CT nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 (click here). This list will be updated as we discover new information. If you know of resources, please share by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org