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Communication in the Time of COVID-19

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

Right now, many of us are isolated, working from home, and concerned about our families, our health, and our missions. During times of crisis, it is important to continue to offer something that all nonprofits provide, and that is hope. Part of providing hope is being positive but realistic, transparent communications with your donors, your volunteer base, those whom you serve, and your staff.

Below are some things to consider as you are pushing out communications to your community during this time of national crisis.

Be Timely

It may feel like everyone is blasting their communications out very quickly and you will want to get out a quick statement, as well, if you haven’t already. However, please remember that one statement shouldn’t be the end of your communications. It is perfectly fine to put out a quick statement, possibly from your Executive Director, and then take some time to craft your next communication, which ideally, should discuss your organization's plans and the challenges that you will face moving forward.

Keep Sight of Your Mission

Your mission is the reason your community loves you. It may be worth your time to perform an up to date strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis of your organization, taking careful time to consider the challenges you may face in the next year. Include the strengths of your organization that will help to weather the coming days as the nation copes with the current crisis. While now might not be the time to expand your mission, you will want to think about how it might adapt to serve the community best.

Share Your Message

You will want to share communications across multiple platforms; of course email and social media are great places to start, but consider also keeping a blog or starting a page on your website to specifically talk about developments in your organization as we all move forward.

While your blog or web page can act as your hub of information, you will want to tailor the message that you send out through email. If you haven’t already, segment your email list to reflect whether the contact is donor, volunteer, staff, etc. This will allow you to share information that might be pertinent to each group while also keeping your message as succinct as possible.

Be Specific

If your organization needs help, ask for it. But please, be direct and specific about what people can do to assist and how their contribution can make a difference. For many organizations, the crisis itself may not have a direct impact, however that doesn’t mean that you won’t need help moving forward. Instead of asking for immediate help without an impact that you can illustrate, you might consider pushing a monthly giving program to help sustain your mission through any financial hardships that the future might hold.

Everyone is in this together and while there are many variables, many of them out of your control, you can control how you maintain your organization's relationships. Through clear, transparent, and continued communications, your organization will make it through this and maintain your place in the minds and hearts of your volunteers and donors.

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