Ways To Keep Your Charity's Supporters Engaged During Covid-19
Firstly, we want to start this blog post by sending wishes of wellness, across our entire community and beyond, as we all face what may be very challenging times ahead. This is a situation that many of us will not have experienced before. It can be tricky to know what direction to travel in and which decisions to make when it comes to keeping your supporter community committed and engaged with your cause.
To help with these challenges, we’ve put together a few suggestions of ways that charities can continue to engage with their supporters. It’s by no means a definitive list, as there are surely lots of great ideas out there, but we hope that they may offer some help and guidance.
Start with thank you
Now is the time to reach out to your donors and volunteers, thanking them for their continued support and reminding them of the important work your charity does because of their commitment to it. At a time when so much is unknown, and some may feel helpless as to what they can do, a reminder of the impact supporters are having as donors and volunteers will go a long way towards increasing their overall engagement.
There is a risk in times like these where disposable income may fluctuate based on individual circumstances. If push comes to shove and a donor is evaluating where their disposable income is being well spent, and they do not currently value their support of your charity, they could decide to stop giving.
By thanking your donors and reminding them of the value of their support you can keep encouraging them to stay committed, even in times of uncertainty. And, of course, where donors may have no other option but to cancel charitable commitments due to their own financial circumstances, thank them for their support and remind them of the impact they made regardless of their current decision.
Encourage donors and volunteers to keep showing their support
Following on from thanking your donors, is informing them of the ways in which they may be able to help if COVID-19 poses a risk to your beneficiaries, or the charity itself.
Medical research, that looks directly into treatments and vaccinations, will be one way in which donors feel they can help. However, there will be other ways that donors can contribute to the overall health and wellness of society, which may not be so obvious.
Charities who offer support towards the mental wellbeing of others, who serve those suffering from loneliness and homelessness, and those who support those who are elderly or facing financial hardship, will become increasingly needed if self-isolation and social-distancing become even more necessary. There may also be income loss challenges threatening your charity, which if not urgently addressed could spell disaster for the charity and its beneficiaries.
If there are ways that your donors or volunteers can assist your charity at this time, make them aware of your needs and the ways in which they can help.
Go digital with events
Many of us in the sector will be thinking about what opportunities may exist if your events are now under threat of postponement or cancellation due to the government’s advice around large group gatherings.
If it’s vital that an event goes ahead because the income it brings in to the charity is critically needed, then it may be time to consider the ways that physical events can be turned into virtual ones. This strategy is well suited for events focused on runs, walks and cycling, however, it can also be used for events that don’t have a physical element such as auctions.
It will be essential that social media is used to bring supporters together in a virtual sense when they can’t be physically together as a group. Use your social platforms to demonstrate impact and to tell stories wherever possible. Encourage your supporters to post on your behalf as social ambassadors before, during and after an event to increase the effectiveness of a virtual event.
There could also be some positive opportunities that can come from virtually hosting your events in that charities may be able to encourage more supporters to become involved. Those previously not engaged in an event, due to location restrictions, may now be more inclined to participate from the convenience of their home, or within the bounds of their own local area. If the need for social-distancing becomes more of a requirement, your supporters may also be looking for ways to distract themselves or to cure bouts of boredom, which your charity’s event may be able to help them to do.
Finally, 24-hour giving and engagement events, known as giving days, are also a great alternative if your supporters aren’t able to physically join you. Giving days, planned well, can be extremely engaging and uplifting for donors to participate in - especially if supporters can’t physically visit your premises or attend an event. Even with everything that’s happening at this moment, events like these can be extremely effective and excellent ways to keep your supporters engaged.
Make sure giving online is an option
At this moment, none of us is quite sure how long the effects of COVID-19 may last. Making sure that your donors can give, and feel safe giving, online as it may become more of a necessity rather than a nice to have.
If your charity doesn’t yet have a way to collect online donations for both single and regular gifts, this is definitely something to consider. If your charity already has a safe and secure way to collect donations, it will be increasingly necessary to make sure that donors are clearly signposted to how to make a gift online. Be that via your website, emails or postal mailings. You can even go one step further and record a quick video that shows your donors exactly how they can make a donation online so that they feel reassured when the time comes to do so.
We can help
Where helpful, we here at Hubbub would be more than happy to speak with anyone who is looking for more specific advice or suggestions as to how your charity can keep supporters engaged in what is a truly challenging time. We may also be able to help with technical support and guidance if your charity is considering running a giving day or is looking for ways to make giving online a better experience for your donors. If we can help your charity, please do get in touch.