COVID-19 has ushered in the use of digital tools in many areas of nonprofit organizations. The need for software-based solutions to connect donors to your nonprofit’s mission, and to help volunteers and staff communicate will remain long after the threat of the virus is gone.
Whether you’re ensuring the continued success of your nonprofit while working remotely, or you’re getting ready for the day when your physical doors can reopen, these resources will help make the most out of a landscape that has adapted to online tools.
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Our video outlines the resources in this success kit, which has what you need to work remotely and to reopen your doors once sheltering in place ends.
Our checklist will help ready your nonprofit cater to the needs of people who have been in lockdown over the past several weeks. Items covered include disinfecting products for your organization, how to engage your people when announcing your reopening, hosting fundraisers, and more.
Returning To The Office After Months Of Remote Work
This article from The Muse goes over important bullets on how to successfully transition back to in-office work, which may be a shock to a lot of people. Here are some takeaways.
Quickly Establish Good Communication Practices
Chances are that while working remotely, you’ve been taking many more frequent calls with your team members and have been relying on video or phone calls to communicate your needs. However, once you’re back in the office, your organization might put an end to those calls since they’re no longer necessary. The problem with this is people may also forget to talk to their team members in person because they haven’t been doing so over the past several weeks. Be wary of everyone siloing themselves once sheltering in place ends. Be proactive, and establish good communication habits before you grow accustomed to working in solitary conditions.
Remember Time Management
Working from home comes with all sorts of distractions, such as the television, the refrigerator, kids who are running around, etc. But working in the office comes with its own distractions—chiefly, socialization. You may find it very easy to get derailed from an assignment because you’re eager to catch up on lost time after not seeing your team members in person for several weeks. A little self-discipline will be essential when this occurs. Connecting with team members is important, but don’t forget what you’re all there to do. Focus on time management and remaining productive.
Bring Your Home To The Office
The above tips are focused on productivity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strive for a fun atmosphere either. Were there conveniences working from home that you might miss? Whether you enjoyed working on the back porch or having your favorite TV show running in the background, don’t be afraid to bring some of that homegrown energy to the office. You should enjoy where you work, after all. It’s important you ensure whatever you bring from home is approved for the office, but consider bringing your favorite snacks and drinks from home, or requesting a different chair to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.
Maintain Some Of Your At-Home Routine
Similar to how productivity should be balanced with having an enjoyable work environment, good communication should be balanced with blocks of time working alone, if that style worked for you. Try to maintain some of that independence you found while working remotely. If you discovered you’re most productive while working alone first thing in the morning or right after lunch, communicate this with your co-workers.
Re-Engaging Lapsed Volunteers
Georgetown University recently came out with an article on why it’s important to keep engaging volunteers while sheltering in place. Here are some takeaways.
Talk To Your Volunteers!
It’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day operations during these challenging times that you let communication with your volunteers fall to the wayside. After all, it’s been impossible to put on in-person events, so you haven’t needed some of your volunteers for quite some time. But it’s very important to keep your volunteers in the loop. It may be harder to get volunteers to commit if you haven’t been at the top of their minds for a while, so communicating with them on a weekly basis—providing updates on how your nonprofit is doing—can effectively remind them they’re invested in your organization. Make sure to vary the ways you communicate. Use Bulk Texting to communicate with them via text message, then alternate that with group videos, conference call discussions, and emails. You can also use Groups & Teams to coordinate them.
Get Input From Your Volunteers
Ask your volunteers about how they can be available moving forward. Without virtual opportunities, volunteers can’t serve, so they may feel undervalued. Yet they are the best people to ask for input during this ever-changing climate. Get creative with engaging your volunteers so they know there are opportunities for them. Ask your volunteers if they’d still like to help, and you may be surprised with their input. Sometimes nonprofits can get attached to how things have always been done. Now is not the time to stick to old habits. Start by asking volunteers about ideas to increase engagement.
Getting Supporters To Attend Your First Onsite Events Following COVID-19
It’s not a stretch to say that people will be wary to participate in in-person events once sheltering in place ends. It’ll be your job to facilitate social distancing rules or any other suggested guidelines put forth by the CDC pertaining to large social gatherings. When promoting your event, you’ll also want to connect with your audience in a way that allays their fears.
Respecting CDC Guidelines
This page by the CDC is a great resource when planning your event. Below we’ve highlighted some important guidelines found on that page.
Overall Number Of Attendees
Larger gatherings offer more opportunities for person-to-person contact and therefore pose greater risk of COVID-19 transmission. Consider putting a cap on the number of people who can attend your event.
Older adults and people with severe pre-existing health conditions are thought to be at increased risk. Consider providing a safe area at your event for these people where they can be most protected, and offer adequate warning to these people when inviting them in the first place.
Make sure your venue or event setup doesn’t restrict people in a way where they can’t practice safe social distancing (maintaining six feet of distance between each other).
Limit Contact Between Staff And Guests
Several ways to do this include offering staff the option to telework if they can perform their job duties off-site, using email, and conducting meetings by phone or video conferencing. Reduce the number of staff needed such as staggering shifts for staff who support essential functions and services during events.
Promoting Your Event
Getting your message right when promoting your first in-person event will be very important. Make sure it’s clear that attendees will be safe when attending, and that you’ve followed through with proper social distancing guidelines set by the CDC.
Personalize The Message
Personalizing your message when sending correspondences like event invites will tell someone you’re doing what you can to put that specific person’s concerns to rest. Include any rules you’ve established for the event that combat concerns about COVID-19.
Use Targeted Social Media
Social media ads aren’t very costly, and you can drill down to locate people who have a greater chance of being attendees at your event. Similar to above, create unique and specific messaging in your ads and landing pages so people know exactly what you’re doing to address lingering COVID-19 concerns.
Create A Facebook Event
When promoting on social media, remember to create an event too. If someone signs up on social media, find a way to stay in contact with them. Oftentimes, people will indicate they’re going to a Facebook event and end up not showing up. Staying connected via other forms of communication, like email, can keep your event at the top of their mind.
Share Your Story
Do you have any inspirational moments that came from your transition to remote work, or any struggles you overcame? Share this when promoting in-person events so people know you’re persevering. It can also help them become more invested in the success of your fundraisers and events. Tell them via email, letters, social media, video, pictures, and whatever else you have at your disposal. Use visual storytelling as much as possible.
Have A Site Or Landing Page For Your Event
Allow for easy registration online, and to encourage people to share your event on social media. There is software out there that can help with easy and effective online registration for events.
Send Email And Paper Invitations
While some people prefer email invitations and others want paper, you’ll be safer to send both forms. It’ll cater to the needs of everyone, and it’ll give you double the opportunity to raise awareness about your event.
Make RSVPs As Easy As Possible
Don’t make people call you to RSVP or order tickets. Allow them to order online from anywhere, day or night, such as through a landing page on your site.
Reach Out Specifically To Past Attendees Who Haven’t Responded
We don’t recommend contacting your entire list of people with a single message reminding them to register for your event. This can cause people who already registered to contact you thinking their RSVP didn’t work, which can create confusion on their end and unnecessary work on yours.
Re-Engaging Lapsed Volunteers
Even when the shelter-in-place order ends, you may realize you’ve found success running your nonprofit online, and may continue to operate in that fashion. Hybrid or fully remote organizations such as this will likely become more popular over the coming months and years, so having tools to cater to the needs of both remote and in-person work is important.
Donation Tools That Can Handle Both In-Person & Online Events
Donating From Your Phone
In this day and age, people use their phones for everything. It would make sense to offer people ways to give via their phones. Aplos Text to Give allows your donors to send their gifts straight from their phones by texting your nonprofit’s unique number. With this feature, you can receive unlimited gifts by text message, have your donors create one-time or recurring gifts that are set up in seconds, utilize short codes to make it easy for donors to give to a specific purpose, and have your gifts automatically tracked for contribution statements.
Donating Through Your Website
Online donation pages are easy to use, and they play a big contributing factor in online donations and in-person contributions. They’re also easy to customize and set up. You can even create a dedicated page to ask for support for a specific COVID-19 need. A widget can be embedded on your website, or you can easily link a dedicated donation page to your weekly email or social media page.
Managing Your Organization Remotely
Donor management software makes it easy to know more about your people so you can build relationships with them and help everyone feel connected. You can see all the details you need in one place, like household relationships, group involvement, volunteer preferences, birthday or deceased dates, or personal notes.
Managing Your Donors Via A Database
Leverage your dynamic donor database to track communication activity, notes, and giving history all in one place.
Managing Your Groups And Teams
Aplos Groups & Teams lets you view a roster of group members, volunteers, or attendees so you can quickly communicate with everyone, see contact info, and keep rosters and attendee lists up to date. Even if you’re setting up an event remotely, you can easily keep everyone on the same page.