Communications During the Pandemic

We are all trying to safely navigate our organizations through this chaotic new world of a global pandemic. What does it mean for nonprofit communications? Consider the following.

Think through the lens of your audience. What do they need to know, first? Naturally you will make announcements soonest about any events or face-to-face interactions that are cancelled or rescheduled. Your supporters must know immediately if travel plans need to change.

Can you offer an alternative? Can a meeting shift to an online platform? Can you do a phone call or series of calls? Today we work collectively in all kinds of ways across great distances. Tap into all the tools you have to continue disseminating the vital content your audience(s) need.

Push out announcements via all your channels, and ask your wider networks to do the same. It’s hard to anticipate which channels your community members are monitoring, so use them all. Consider web pop ups, email, social platforms, mass voice mail, and text. Engage your board by asking them to disseminate messages via their own social networks and platforms. 

Certainty Outweighs Expediency

If there could be a disruption of service because of operational changes, such as staff working remotely, let your community know. In times of crisis, certainty outweighs expediency. So if their emails or phone calls won’t be responded to for up to 48 hours or more, tell them.

Tell them what you don’t know. If you are still figuring out your next steps, tell them. Again, certainty outweighs expediency.

Be a steady presence. Keep them informed about your ongoing work and progress. If you reach an important goal, let your community know. They want you to do well, and to continue all your inspiring work, even when (or perhaps especially when) times are difficult.

Continue to ask for their support. Let them know that as your work continues, their support is more valuable and needed than ever before. Your work continues – and they want it to – so ask for their help.

Perhaps there is a short list of special ways they can help. Giving is critical, but so are other means of engagement. Can they extend your reach in some new and relevant way?

More communication is better than less during any time of crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Reach out, repeatedly, though all means possible, and don’t be afraid to communicate about what you need.

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