Social distancing. Businesses closed. Scarcity mentality. While the coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of fear and anxiety, there is a silver lining. Quarantine may not be what you expected for this season, and donations may not be flowing as freely as they were in February, but there are still great opportunities available while we wait for the storm clouds to clear.
Rather than simply waiting, there are several things we can do right now to take advantage of the “extra time” we’re dealing with. Whether you’re embracing this time-out or struggling with it, I want you to think about one simple question:
What does this time of quarantine and social distancing make possible for you and your nonprofit?
Below are some of the opportunities we see specifically for nonprofits, but there are so many more available if you just take time to dig in and brainstorm. Below are 10 things your nonprofit can do to come out of this pandemic stronger, more efficient, and better prepared for a comeback.
1. Take an online class
There are so many free courses and webinars being offered right now to help you hone your skills and learn new ones! I’ve taken a few courses myself, and this extra learning really helped get my creative juices flowing. Teachable.com has a wide catalog of courses. Whether it’s a professional or personal course, the cost to build your knowledge is well worth the investment!
2. Clean out your “junk drawer”
If you’re anything like me, you have a list of to-do’s that grows every week and is just begging for attention. What are those projects that you would get done “if only you had time?” Consolidate the list, group the tasks, and delegate them to your team. Imagine being able to come out of quarantine with no lingering to-do list and your team ready to hit the ground running with new projects!
3. Revamp or launch your website
Unfortunately, people will not be able to interact with your organization in person for a few more weeks, so it’s a good time to make sure your business is looking its best online. If you don’t have a website, then build one! If you already have a website, consider taking a hard look at each page to make sure it accurately represents your organization, mission, and values. Make sure your ‘Donation’ button is prominently displayed on the homepage several times!
4. Write blog posts
Block out 2 hours of time and brainstorm as many blog posts as you can! Choose the top 2-3 post ideas and write an article for each one. And there’s no need to post them all at once! You can stagger the actual posting over the next few months so that your search engine optimization continues to grow steadily.
5. Gather testimonials
Positive reviews are the best proof of your organization, and the more testimonials you have on your website, the better! Take this time to reach out to donors and volunteers, and ask them to write a quick review of your organization on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Reviews should be around 1-2 sentences and highlight a key aspect of the life-changing work your group is doing.
6. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Don’t let donors and potential donors forget about you! This is the best time to speak life into your people, so communicate from the heart. It doesn’t have to be long or all about “these uncertain times” of coronavirus, but demonstrate your compassion and confidence in the future. Send at least one email out per week, but keep in mind — a handwritten card or phone call right now would definitely set your organization above the rest!
7. Plan your social media posts
Social media posting can be overwhelming and nonstop. During quarantine, you can get ahead by building an organized posting calendar. With a posting calendar, you can ditch the days of frantic posting and create a solid plan that allows you to post meaningful content with confidence. We actually built a simple 3-step plan to help you build a social calendar, download it now!
8. Show your pretty face
Video is the future of social media, and the more “real” your organization can be right now, the better. Video is one of the easiest ways to engage with your community online, and a heartfelt message from your leaders and volunteers is a great way to give people a peek behind the curtain and get to know the heart of your nonprofit. The video doesn’t have to be fancy; just make sure your background is clear of clutter and you have good lighting!
9. Invest in engagement
One of the most important ways to build your social media presence is to like, comment, and follow other accounts. On Instagram or Twitter, find a hashtag that relates to your organization and engage with the posts! You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll grow your rapport with new people and thereby grow your following.
10. Support similar organizations
Find an online community or Facebook Group that serves in a similar space to yours, and cheer on other nonprofit leaders! This is not the time for comparison or competition, and the more you reach out to help others, the stronger bonds you’ll build within your community.
Keep your chin up! Opportunities are still ripe for the picking, and we believe that regardless of the circumstances, you have everything you need to thrive in this season right now. Please know that you are not alone right now. If you ever feel stuck and need help moving your nonprofit forward, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here and happy to help!
If you’re making strides personally or professionally right now, we’d love to hear about it! Drop us a note in the comments.