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The New Reality for NPOs: Strategies to Adopt in Times of Crisis – Torchia Communications
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The New Reality for NPOs: Strategies to Adopt in Times of Crisis

The New Reality for NPOs: Strategies to Adopt in Times of Crisis

 

Since the beginning of 2020, our day-to-day lives have changed drastically. Physical distancing, virtual events, and economic challenges are the new contexts impacting every organization in some way, especially non-profit organizations.

 

Getting back to the source of the organization’s mission

So, what are we to do when our familiar guidelines and strategies no longer work?

First of all, we must gain perspective through reflection and evaluation.

What are the values of our organization? What is our purpose? How do our current efforts support this vision? Given that considering such questions under normal circumstances is wise, it is all the wiser during periods calling for drastic changes. Shouldn’t we view the current pandemic as the perfect time for re-examining our fundamental principles and aligning our strategies with the very essence of our organization.

Although it falls upon the leadership to instigate this calling into question, extending the discussion to all employees is, as I see it, a healthy approach that will surely lead the advocated changes to becoming more fully embraced.

Proactive communication

In times of crisis, the natural response is to withdraw into oneself, consolidate what has been achieved, protect oneself from the uncertainties that lie in wait for us, and refocus on essentials. Therefore, some organizations have decided to limit their external communications by cutting their marketing and public relations budgets.

Nonetheless, from our experience at Torchia Communications, we have found that organizations that have opted to continue to proactively inform their donors have fared better than those who have done nothing.

Consider as an example the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA). Whether through their social media sites, blog posts about the situation in the countries where the charity has a presence, email appeals, media presence, open letters, or other initiatives, donors have felt compelled and have responded generously to appeals. It comes as no surprise that this will be a record year not only for donations, but for media coverage as well. This is taking place despite the difficult economic context and the global pandemic.

Considering new tools to achieve objectives

As a result of the different lockdowns that have taken place across the country and the limitations on being able to physically attend face-to-face meetings, it is essential that we adapt our strategies to the new digital tools at our disposal. I will share three of them with you:

Podcasts
According to a recent study published by Edison Research and Triton Digital, 37% of Canadian adults listen to podcasts monthly. 2020 is indeed an exceptional year for podcasts with over 1 million active podcasts and over 30 million episodes online. This communication tool allows a vast online audience to be reached through different platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify. TechSoup Canada offers an excellent guide to getting started with creating your own podcast.

Webinars

Failing the ability to deliver a public conference or holding in-person events, webinars are a frequently used tool. Zoom, Demio, and Livestorm are among the wide range of software platforms available to everyone.

This is an excellent opportunity to highlight a specific topic of interest to your audience with a view to building buy-in and active participation. Are you launching a new relief campaign in a country affected by a natural disaster? Why not support this campaign by inviting a fieldworker to discuss the current plight of the people and their real needs? All you need is a webcam, efficient software … and a winning strategy!

Here are some great tips to get you started!

Virtual campaigns

Undoubtedly, benefit dinners seem to be a long way off! Several organizations have had to cancel their events, and have suffered significant losses in revenue.

Is there anything we can do to remedy this situation? An interesting solution to consider is online auctions. They are conducted much like in-person silent auctions, but everything is done online. Although it may not be suitable for all organizations, one definite advantage is that it can reach a much larger audience over the internet.

Given its strengths as a communication strategy, this approach can be an important asset in the face of this year’s drastic changes.

Here are some suggestions to help you find a platform that best meets your needs.

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By exploring these different strategies while allowing yourself to be creative and flexible, you should be able to go forward with greater confidence despite our current climate of uncertainty.

Yet, these digital alternatives can never replace human contact and interpersonal interactions in the physical world, and we are all looking forward to getting back to it!

In the meantime, let’s adjust!