With the coronavirus disrupting everything from travel to sporting events to religious gatherings, we want to share our thoughts on ways nonprofit organizations might adapt to a quickly changing world.
Your website is the first place consumers will look for information about any type of emergency. An alert gives your visitors quick access to this critical information. Alerts are placed in prominent locations on our site – usually above your navigation and logo – to ensure your audience won't miss your message.
It exists on every page of the site, too, so users will see it regardless of whether they started with the home page or arrived at an interior section of your site via a Google search.
To prevent intrusiveness, alerts can be dismissed, once they are read, but can also be triggered again upon a defined time interval. So, for example, for important news, an alert can be dismissed, but would be guaranteed to reappear again within 24 hours.
Once reserved for large organizations and major venues, live streaming technology is now inexpensive and easy to deploy. If in-person attendance is not an option, an organization can easily stream an event live on YouTube or Facebook. For more traditional set-ups with professional video cameras, technologies like Boxcast, can be deployed within hours to stream directly from camera to the web.
Virtual galas are also becoming more common. These online-only events allow users to bid on auction items and make donations. Special video content and success stories can reinforce your mission and allow users to "attend" on their own schedule. Sponsors can be integrated easily as well— either as part of original content or on their own page.
Social media is obviously an ideal way to quickly communicate evolving situations. These feeds can be incorporated directly into your site, so that content only need be updated on a single platform, and it will automatically populate critical pages on your website.
Rather than removing a cancelled event from the website (which might confuse returning users), cancellation messaging can be added to the page to indicate the reason for the cancellation. Tickets can be grayed out to indicate that they are no longer on sale, along with further information regarding postponements and other instructions.
Dedicated Donation Pages
Donation pages dedicated to specific causes and needs perform better than one-size-fits-all forms. Donation pages should be designed to reinforce the reason for donating by emphasing how the money will be used and who it will help. Forms should be optimized for mobile devices and allow a user to make a donation quickly with minimal effort.
Don't Forget E-Mail!
Strong e-mail communication is key during times of crisis. However, it's important to resist sending out the same message to everyone, especially if it only applies to a segment of your audience. For example, keep event cancellation e-mails focused on those that are registered for that particular event.
Most modern e-mail platforms also include automations, which will allow you to automatically send important information, such as building hours or closures, to any new patron, even if they just signed-up to your list.
All of these technologies allow nonprofit organizations to quickly adjust to fluid situations with minimal effort and expense. More importantly, they allow nonprofits to maintain strong relationships with members and donors, albeit sometimes in new ways, and can help nonprofit leaders pivot their programs and missions in times of change and uncertainty.