The COVID-19 pandemic affects us all. With instability disrupting the daily routine, many philanthropic organizations have had to readjust quickly to continue providing services to people in need.
Our philanthropic marketing experts met with Martin Goyette, Executive Director at Foundation Dr. Clown to take stock of how he and his team have reorganized to pursue their mission in a time of confinement. A model worthy of recognition!
TELL US, MARTIN, HOW DID YOU HANDLE THE CRISIS AT DR. CLOWN FOUNDATION?
"One of the first things we did was to notify our 55 self-employed therapeutic artists that the Foundation was suspending its activities for an indefinite period of time for their safety and the safety of others, then we had to inform our 70 partner institutions of our situation.
Afterwards, we thought about what we could offer as an alternative. So, our team developed the virtual service and a plan to start developing video content so that our clown artists could continue to make virtual appointments with children and seniors each in their own homes, 5 days a week."
HOW IS IT GOING AFTER A MONTH OF CONFINEMENT?
"Everything is going very well! The dynamics are different, but what's amazing is that we've discovered a service that we'll probably keep for the future. Of course, a virtual appointment service is not perfect, because we've always been convinced that physical presence is the most important thing.
Of course, we are all looking forward to going back and do our visits, physically. There are times when some children leave the hospital and go back to their remote areas. Since many of them miss their Dr. Clown friends, our virtual service will be a specially tailored solution for them."
DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY DIFFICULTIES IN PREPARING THIS READJUSTMENT?
"One of the difficulties encountered is undoubtedly the technological aspect. Of course, not everyone is equipped exactly the same way at home, both on the emitter’s and receiver’s side, hence the whole technology management aspect.
From an administrative point of view, we have had to adapt to new measures and policies issued every other day by our governments and public health authorities. In short, the team kept up with the pace by keeping a close eye on things!"
AND YOUR FACILITATORS?
"At Dr. Clown, we use several tools, including the donna Interactive Suite, which allows us to gather everything we need to manage our online activities by having access to our platform and all of our data in one place, which is stored securely on the cloud. With donna, what is great is that we can ensure follow-ups in real time and have all the solutions we need to manage our campaigns, right at our fingertips. This tool has obviously made our life easier and because of it, we've been able to easily pursue our mission and activities."
ARE YOUR DONORS STILL ANSWERING YOUR CALL?
"Yes, a lot! Our major donors have helped us make the transition from donations dedicated to specific programs that are currently suspended. They have agreed to use the funds in order to make available the new virtual services. It’s an important gesture for our team.
We also have great relationships with our donors. Using donna and a storytelling style for our fundraising campaigns allows us to communicate regularly and effectively with them. We tell our donors about the impact their donations generate. We're extremely happy to have this close relationship with them."
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO HANDLE THE POST-CRISIS AT DR. CLOWN?
"It's hard to answer that question (laughs). In fact, I think this crisis is going to last a long time, especially for us. However, we are going to be present in schools, most of which are planning to open soon. As for the long-term residential centres and hospitals, obviously we won't be able to go back before the fall. Our summer promises to be rather virtual!"
HOW DO YOU THINK THE COVID-19 CRISIS IS GOING TO CHANGE THE FACE OF PHILANTHROPY?
"I would say that this crisis is going to be exceedingly difficult for philanthropists. We were all in a great period, a good momentum. I feel that the best charities, the ones that communicate well and have a good relationship with their donors and whose impacts are recognized and respected, are going to do well.
Charities who didn’t have such relationships may have a harder time getting by. Also, of course, there's the cause. I think that people will be more sensitive to causes that support the elderly, among others. There are causes that will now be harder to promote. Inevitably, the donation pie will be reduced, both at the corporate level and among the general public."
You’d like to do the same as Dr. Clown and increase your presence with your donors? Contact our philanthropic marketing experts and see for yourself how everything is possible when good ideas meet high-performance technology!