At this time of crisis, when the daily news are consumed with the rate of spread of the Corona virus, and we are bombarded with conflicting stories at the local, state, national and global level, we at Cause Populi feel grateful that – until now – our team members and their families have been spared the health effects of this pandemic and its ensuing disease. We are also grateful for the messages of support we have received from clients, vendors and colleagues. We are working remotely, and encourage you to do the same if you need to continue your work. We also recognize that this is a time to come together as a community and a nation, and we think it’s part of our duty and our mission to give our clients some advice and perspective as to how to navigate this current crisis in the short term, so here are some of our recommendations:
1. Your Online Presence Is Your Only Presence
As entire cities and communities are forced into social distancing and shelter-in-place orders, most businesses and nonprofits have been forced to shut down their physical locations and offices, causing major disruptions in their operations and services. In consequence, your organization’s online presence may be the only way for your community and partners to know about what you are going through and any changes to your programs and services during these trying times. And at a time when most people are at home, glued to their screens, you need more than ever to be in front of them. Consequently, it is critical that you have a plan to keep your online presence updated, safe and streamlined.
2. Protect Your Website
It’s an unfortunate reality that in times of crises many things can fall through the cracks, and malicious third parties can use that to wreak havoc on your website. Make sure that you keep track of the renewal dates of your domains, hosting plans, etc. Ensure that your core software and plugins are updated to the latest tested versions to prevent site breakdowns. Make sure that you have anti-hacking and anti-viral services constantly checking the status of your website. Create and store backups of your website on a regular basis so that if you are the victim of a hacker or malware attack, you can react quickly and restore it to functionality.
3. Communicate Any Changes to Your Services
Use the prime real estate of your website as tools to communicate any changes to your services and schedule. Use existing areas such as the news/blog section of your website, the main banner/header, the ” Hours of Operations” area, etc. to communicate any changes. If necessary, implement announcements via popups or vertical scrolls to let people know of any upcoming changes. Update your online calendar of events to reflect any impending changes. Update your listings in Google local, Yelp, or any other directories to reflect any new numbers, hours of operation, etc. Use your social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to support these communication efforts, but remember that your website is the core of your online presence and should be updated with the best and latest information. Make sure your messaging and branding is consistent throughout platforms.
4. Continue Your Outreach and Fundraising
This crisis will undoubtedly have a significant impact on your organization’s revenue and fundraising. However, it is for this same reason that organizations of all sizes need to continue to conduct outreach, promote their mission, and develop donations. Most of your in-person development and fundraising has and will continue to be disrupted for the foreseeable future. But digital fundraising and online outreach are still possible. People want to help. The public wants to donate to organizations like yours. But they can’t do it if they don’t know about you, can’t find you, or if you don’t remind them of your value to the community. If you don’t have a Google Grant, this is the time to apply for one and receive up to $10,000 per month in Google ads to promote your nonprofit. If you have an email list of your constituents and donors, start an email campaign soliciting donations. If your work and mission can have an impact on this crisis, make sure your appeal includes that. Update your website, emails, and your donation page using compelling compelling pictures and calls to action. In addition, many vendors are offering discounted fees on credit card processing and fundraising tools for nonprofits affected by this crisis.
As always, we are here to guide you and support you through this. If you need any additional or specific help to implement any of these tactics, please count on us.
Gerardo Alvarado, MBA