The most important thing for nonprofits today is to set priorities, stay connected, and keep communicating. Retiring or hibernating is not an option – it restricts constituent or client interaction, hinders achievement of your organization’s mission, and can only invite the “worst case scenario.”
So what do you do about it?
Many nonprofits are using technology to communicate and effectively meet with leadership and donors. In this “new normal” environment, now is the time for nonprofits to shift to a technology based system, in order to continue to engage and operate, and to stay mission focused. Here are some Tips from TLG on using technology to advance the mission of your nonprofit.
“Face to Face” Meetings with Leadership:
Keep scheduled Leadership or Board Meetings on the calendar.
Use virtual meeting tools, such as Zoom, to your advantage, and set up meeting standards to be as effective as possible.
Create systems and procedures for meetings for easy communication, such as enforcing a “mute when not speaking” standard.
Ask leaders that you trust to facilitate different aspects of meetings to keep attendees as engaged as possible.
Always share an agenda and documents in advance and gather questions before you begin. This will make it easier to address questions during the meeting without confusion.
Keep comments on during your meeting and ask someone to be responsible for keeping track of comments and questions, to share them with you and create a dialogue at the end of the meeting in an effective and streamlined way.
“Face to Face” Meetings with Donors and Prospects:
During uncertain times, our first instinct is to shut off; and we become timid in communicating with donors. Times are difficult for everyone, and admittedly, some donors will push back and say no for many legitimate reasons. But you start from the point that the mission of your organization remains valid and important, perhaps even more so today.
It is okay to continue educating the community about the important work you do every day. The conversation around a formal ask may look different, but stewarding the relationship remains as important as ever.
Developing relationships takes time, and your time and theirs is valuable. Try and shift your perspective to see this as an opportunity, instead of as an obstacle.
Donors and Prospects may have more availability now to meet, particularly as meetings are now being done virtually, but always be respectful of other’s time.
This is an important time to focus on personalization for donors. You don’t need discuss markets or finances, but connect on a personal level, as there is a shared experience, and this is opportunity to make deeper connections around achievement and impact than you already may have.
If a donor is prepared to give now, they will get it and step forward. If they are not ready, this and regular communication is essential. Directly outlining your needs and “bottom line” in a context of compassion and professionalism and stewarding the donor in an appropriate and engaged way, will position you for the gift when the time is right.