Communicating Good In Times of Crisis: How Philanthropy Can Respond to COVID-19

We know the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is difficult to manage. We’re thinking of our clients and the entirety of the philanthropic sector, as well as their missions and contributions to the community during this time.

The world is facing a tremendous challenge right now that is weighing heavily on us all, but challenges have always brought people together. Everybody wants to do whatever they can in times like this — including us.

Our ability to connect with others drives how communities respond in the face of trying times. Together, philanthropy can be one of the greatest drivers of good as people and communities heal. We want to share our gift with the nonprofit community as it overcomes this hurdle.

You’ll get through this, and we’ll be here to help along the way. Knowledge is power in situations like these, and communicating with your constituents is crucial — but we know it might not be your top priority right now. Here are a few things to consider right now:

Be Authentic – As human beings, how do we react when something terrible happens in the world? Does your organization reflect this same sense of humanity? While many do, there are also many organizations that come off as cold or cliche. Think beyond “our hearts, thoughts and prayers” — instead, think of how you would speak to someone — one on one — who might be directly affected by this crisis.

Hit Pause – This goes hand in hand with being authentic. Yes, there is a window of opportunity to present facts and share opportunities for others to take action, but the desire to “be first” shouldn’t supersede the need to pause and reflect. In the same vein, consider how hitting pause impacts your regular communications efforts — social media, e-blasts, events and more. Communicators in philanthropy might find it’s best to postpone a campaign, tweak canned social media posts or rework an event (maybe even cancel it all together). Not only does it demonstrate flexibility — it shows your organization cares about doing the right thing.

Be Respectful – People are hurting and anxious right now. Emotional people who feel strongly about these issues can jump to conclusions quickly. Remember that there are smart ways for your organization to educate people during tough times.

Be a Resource – From thought starters to convenors, nonprofits and foundations have a lot to offer the communities they serve. Using these skills as a resource for the community following a crisis goes a long way toward building goodwill.

Be accessible – Show your constituents that you really care by sharing ways they can easily communicate with you during this time. While your team may be working remotely, it’s important to offer your mobile number, check your email hourly and ensure your team is in place to answer necessary questions.

Ways to help – Here are some ways you can show you care: 

  • Give them your well wishes 
  • Send them a thank-you for their support 
  • Share a story about your impact

If you need help connecting with your donors, or you have some questions about how to address your needs as a nonprofit or foundation, feel free to schedule a 30-minute consultation with us here.

All the best and healthy wishes,

The Team at MagnifyGood


Photo Credit: NASA via Unsplash 

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