COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in the works for many organizations, and nonprofit organizations are always particularly vulnerable to change. As it becomes increasingly likely that COVID-19 is going to last, at minimum, to the end of the year, it also becomes important for nonprofits to plan ahead. While there are many challenges, there are also a lot of opportunities for the right nonprofit.
Start with Your Email Lists and Social Media Accounts
Now is the time to be reaching out. While you can't go door-to-door or meet with people in-person, you can connect through email and social media. Email and social media are still very effective, and people are spending more time online now than ever before.
Reach Out to Prior Donors and Companies Early
You should connect with donors and companies early, to have a better idea of where you're going to be as COVID-19 continues. The earlier you're able to reach out to these donors and companies, the better.
Companies, in particular, are getting benefits for donations. Many companies are trying to reach out to charities so they can support the communities they live in, so reaching out to companies (whether they're large enterprises or local businesses) can help.
Be Cautious About Future Events
In March, nonprofits were almost universally certain that May would be fine for events. Come May, it wasn't even certain whether December would be safe. It's best to be cautious and if events do need to be cancelled, they should be cancelled as early as possible.
Set Your Expectations and Recalculate Your Numbers
If you want to survive COVID-19, you need accurate numbers. Re-run projections based on the donors and companies you've talked to and what you've been able to collect so far. Revamp your budget based on your realistic projections, so you know what targets you're going to have to hit to survive.
Take Advantage of Your Organization's Technology
Live video is one of the most important tools fundraisers have today. While nonprofits may not be able to start in-person events, they can start live, online events. Many people enjoy online events, because they can fit it into their schedule, and so they can remain safe at home. As another advantage, most live events are very affordable to host.
Network with Other Organizations
Many nonprofits are feeling the stress of COVID-19. If you can band together with other local organizations, share resources, and organize live, online events together, you may be able to improve your survival rates. While companies may be in "competition with" each other, charities are not; working together can benefit all charities involved.
A nonprofit always has to be creative and agile, COVID-19 notwithstanding. But nonprofit organizations that plan ahead will at least be able to survive through COVID-19 — and potentially even thrive. It all has to do with marketing.