Crisis mode: How NFPs can respond to COVID-19

The Crisis mode: How NFPs can respond to COVID-19 webinar was presented by Richenda Vermeulen, founder and CEO of ntegrity agency, a digital strategy agency in Melbourne focusing on the not-for-profit and for-purpose sector.

During the webinar, Richenda gave insights and best practices to help not-for-profit organisations with their digital marketing, fundraising and communications during the COVID-19 crisis.

The recession will bring new challenges

Richenda discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic and impending recession bring new challenges to NFP leaders and marketers and how NFPs can adapt their channels and messaging to be successful and resilient both during and after the crisis.

Richenda offered the following four-step process;

Step 1: Pivot Current Activity

Research shows that people still give donations during a recession. If you are not in the market, people will give to someone else. So, this step is all about ensuring you stay in the market, but you don’t say the same thing. Change your approach to ask for the same thing but ask it in a contextually relevant way.

Step 2: Rethink your messaging and products

The services not-for-profits provide need to be clear and visible in times of economic recession. So, you need to consider how COVID-19 will affect your services. If you are a service provider in the domestic space your key messaging should be exacerbating the direct impacts of COVID-19 on your organisation. These key messages could include:

  • The heightened demand for domestic violence services, because home is not always a safe place.
  • The increased demand for mental health support, as people struggle with isolation.
  • The urgent need to provide safe and secure accommodation for people experiencing homelessness so they can practice self-isolation and social distancing.

Additionally, we need to highlight the gaps this highlights in our society and remind donors to think long-term so that we can create a better world post COVID-19.

Remind donors to think long-term, what will the world look like after this if we don’t act now?

Step 3: Rethink your fundraising mix

Remember, if you have to cancel or postpone a major fundraising event communicate the impact this has on the community and your organisation. A loss of fundraising from major event cancellations can be seriously detrimental to an organisation and the community, so communicating that loss gives your event participants a chance to step up and support your organisation, despite the cancellation of major fundraising events.

Also, consider non-financial opportunities that corporate partners can provide. With more employees working from home, there is an opportunity for digital collaboration, volunteering or mentoring opportunities with corporate partners.

Step 4: Rethink your direct marketing mix

Digital has been the fastest-growing acquisition channel. Now, it’s more important than ever.

Final takeaways

Keep your messaging and products relevant throughout these changing times by considering the following;

Finally, research suggests that not-for-profit organisations that thrived after a recession were able to find a balance between cutting costs to improve efficiency whilst still investing in research and development, marketing and building customer value.

Hence, now is an opportunity for not-for-profit organisations to look long-term, remodel revenue streams and report back to you’re organisation and board with sound strategic thinking.

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