COVID-19, this major unprecedented crisis, is taking a heavy toll on community organizations and philanthropic foundations. At a time when everything is moving quickly, and this unprecedented situation (pandemic, confinement, telecommuting) is forcing us to rethink our daily activities, many philanthropic organizations are juggling the idea of putting themselves on pause or seizing the momentum generated by this global pandemic.
So, what do we do about it? Can we raise funds? Which channel should we use? What to say, how do we do it, and what results can we expect? These are key questions to ask, still not knowing when this crisis will subside and when we will be able to resume traditional fundraising events.
As experts in philanthropic marketing, and because we have the well-being of direct NPOs at heart, we have decided to put together a special guide to provide you with proper guidance during this crisis, but also to better equip you for the aftermath.
Continue with your actions
One of our most important tips: don't stop your fundraising activities. COVID-19 has not taken a monopoly on social needs. The causes for which NPOs exist have unfortunately not ceased to exist since COVID-19 and it is precisely the most vulnerable clientele that needs help. This is why we must be proactive and continue our activities, because in times of health crisis, the impetus for generosity is even greater.
However, be sure to follow the government's recommendations on preventive health measures and physical interactions between individuals. Also implement technological initiatives to maintain regular communication with the people you support, as well as with your donors. Remember that technology is also a great way to help you reinvent your service!
Communicate effectively and strategically
In this context, all communication actions become important. To this end, in your communication efforts, maintaining direct contact with your donors is important. Prioritize current digital and technological devices, especially knowing that the vast majority of people will be on the web: special newsletters, informative blog posts, video capsules via social media, ongoing phone chains, all means are good to address your donors, ambassadors, take advantage of the network of your Board members and philanthropic partners.
We also advise you to increase your presence on the digital web. Review your strategy in terms of SEO (natural referencing). Are your keywords adequate in COVID-19 time? What about your automated marketing? Should you review some of your current communications? Are the subjects of your solicitation campaigns totally outdated in light of current events? Can your content strategy approach the purpose and mission of your cause from a different angle? And why not set up an exceptional e-mail solicitation?
Otherwise, ask your major donors or partners to use their social platforms to promote your organization or foundation. If you have a spokesperson, ask him or her to deliver an awareness message about the pursuit and importance of your activities; artists can also be good communication vehicles. And the good news is that they are available and will undoubtedly be sensitive to your cause!
In short, be the creative whizzes.
So yes, it is important to communicate. But then what should we say?
Of course, when all this worry about COVID-19 takes hold of our primary concerns, it goes without saying that the issue of donation becomes a delicate one. So, don't hesitate to simply communicate and mobilize your donors in order to keep them informed and aware of your current reality.
Adapt your message to the context; emphasize the impact of the virus on your cause and its necessity. Use urgency terms to convey a more powerful message, such as:
"If we don't act now..."
"We need you now more than ever!"
"Elders like your grandmother and great-uncle will be at risk if..."
"Don't let this health crisis become a humanitarian crisis, help us provide..."
Also, consider using storytelling in your communication messages. This technique, widely used in philanthropy, is designed to tell a good story to donors in order to better convince them, seduce them and get them to support a cause and adhere to it. Thanks to storytelling, and especially in times of crisis, you will be able to more easily:
- Humanize your contacts with your audience as well as your organization's personality
- Establish a climate of empathy and trust
- Create a sense of belonging
- Engage new donors or audiences
- Demonstrate your dedication and social responsibility
It's also a non-invasive and non-aggressive approach that demonstrates a situation where the donors are the ones who will make a difference. Thanks to the story told, emotions are aroused in listeners. Your cause becomes authentic and more than important to them.
Finally, evaluate the possibilities of forming an alliance with the various organizations working in the same field as you. Who knows, you might be able to develop new joint fundraising strategies and solicit more volunteers and donors. You can also join together to appeal to governments to support you in terms of financial measures.
Remember that the most important thing is to stay in touch with your donors as well as the people you support on a daily basis. In a crisis like this, we need to stay connected and sensitive to the reality of others. Dare to find creative solutions to keep this precious contact. All means are good to preserve the collective well-being.