As you read this, you’re probably dealing with a stay-at-home order initiated by your county or state. The order has most likely caused great disruption to your organization’s mission and operations. And, with staff, volunteers, clients and board members separated, it’s a challenge to effectively work together to overcome such disruption and find ways to move your mission forward.
In the details below, you will not find the solutions to overcome the programming and operational disruptions COVID-19 has caused your organization. Rather, you’ll find reassurance that your closest constituents are still with you, ready to keep your mission and work alive in any way they can. Staff, volunteers, clients, board members and partners will amplify their voices to strengthen yours in this great time of need, but they need direction to help.
Read below to learn a few simple ways you can inspire engagement and ambassadorship in your organization so that constituents can still unify while apart.
Update Internal Groups and Drive Communications
Internal communication is key. Giving information to your staff, volunteers and board directors is important during times of separation as they still need to be kept up-to-date regarding transitions, moments of success and plans for the weeks ahead. Not only that, but keeping them aware of where your organization is heading keeps them excited even amid a crisis. They want to stay connected to the organization’s larger mission, so make these important actions known.
As part of these updates, make sure they’re aware of what they can share publicly, and provide potential messaging and visual assets for social media. Providing parameters will always help them take action quicker.
Start a Story Share with Staff
Enabling team members to share moments of success or reflection with others in the organization is a great way to keep staff connected. This is as simple as facilitating a weekly Zoom call or an online forum. Stories that are shared can then be packaged on social media, in donor appeals or for annual reports and other missional messaging.
Keep Inspiring Volunteerism
Not only does your organization need internal forums to stay connected, but having a forum for volunteers to connect is important too. Make sure your organization provides volunteers with opportunities to show support remotely and remain engaged even while separated. Their support for your organization doesn’t end just because they’re isolated, but if they don’t have opportunities to be supportive, it is possible that their enthusiasm and feelings of connectedness may wane.
Make sure to keep them informed about volunteer opportunities in the months ahead. We don’t know when business will be back to normal, but it’s important to prepare now, take it one day at a time and realize it’s better to make an ask than to not.
Enable General Supporters to Offer Encouragement
Your supporters have not forgotten about your work and the impact it makes, and in times like these, people want to share their gratitude. Use your website as a way for supporters to leave words of thank you and encouragement for team members and clients. Words of encouragement can make a difference in morale, and your supporters will be happy to have a means of helping in any way they can.
Make Sure Your Ambassador Toolkit Is Up to Date
Providing your supporters with messaging and visuals to use on social media is a great way to encourage them to keep spreading your organization’s mission and impact even while distanced. Make sure that you have such assets available to them, but also make sure that whatever assets you have are up-to-date with the latest messaging, events and support opportunities, especially ones affected by COVID-19.
If you don’t already have an ambassador toolkit, now is the perfect time to construct one. Come up with messaging around your organization’s mission. Share statistics and outcomes related to your impact. Make sure all your posts have supporting visuals. Outline specific campaigns and awareness days that ambassadors can leverage to share your message. Now is the time to help people understand how they can help in your communications and amplify your mission.
Chances are that your organization has valuable insights that can impact the lives of many. Share your voice by generating talking points on key topic areas related to your mission and relevant to issues influenced by the global crisis. Your perspective can then be sent to media outlets in your area or connected industries looking for subject matter experts. Media pitches should come from an executive director or program leader.