The only thing that’s certain about our current reality is uncertainty. As each day passes, annual conferences are being postponed, another university shuts down indefinitely and the news cycle seems to provide more questions than answers.
In moments like these, while scary, it’s essential to keep moving forward. After initial shock and awe have passed, we need to pick ourselves up, forge ahead and plan for the future. Because the future is coming; whether it’s one, three or eight weeks away.
Below are a few ideas we wanted to share with our friends in the nonprofit community, to help you pivot and plan during this unique time.
Your membership is a wealth of information. Now is the time to utilize that diversity in skill, knowledge and power.
- Cultivate networking opportunities. Face-to-face networking isn’t the only way to make connections. Come up with creative ways to connect newly graduated seniors with seasoned alumni/ae. Even a quick online review of a resume could be invaluable to members who are out of work due to COVID-19, or first entering the job market.
- Professional development skill shares. Host webinars that provide actionable items for members to find structure in a world that feels chaotic. Content can be focused on topics such as “The best ways to organize your Google calendar”, “How to find financial stability in an unstable world?” or “How to create efficiencies in your inbox”. You know, all those things we all wished we learned in college, but never did!
- Mental health guides. The world is inundated with constant updates, different opinions and so much misinformation. It’s important to recognize how to know when to tune in, and when to turn off. Members who are mental health professionals can help guide you in your effort to create these resources!
Find ways to remind members that they are far from alone. In times where isolation can feel…well…isolating, its a good reminder that these organizations are not four-year memberships, they’re for life!
- Showcase your membership. Create “binge-watch” movie or TV show lists that star famous members of your organizations. Or highlight members of your organization who are working on the front lines during this pandemic, risking their health to protect the community at-large.
- Create moments to connect. Video conferencing is the new coffee meet-up! Create a virtual book club for your members or chat room meet-ups to discuss fan theories of favorite TV shows. Or get really ambitious and host in-home workouts for people to login and sweat it out!
- Celebrate wins. Establishing a new chapter? Hit a new milestone in fundraising? Now more than ever, we need to share good news to help balance this dim news cycle. Make sure you’re sharing your wins on your social channels and beyond!
Your members are feeling down and looking to you as a beacon to guide them during hard times. Help ease their minds with resources for the road ahead.
- The future isn’t on hold. While major programs are coming to a halt, you can use this time for planning for the fall semester. Start to lay the foundation for how you will engage chapters within the first month of (fingers crossed) in-person instruction. You will (again, fingers crossed) have new members, and they will have experienced this virtual period in various ways. Create conversation guides for recruitment to help navigate potential hard conversations.
- The time is now. Think about the things on your marketing wish list that you simply never had the time to do before. Reorganizing your inter/national or chapter websites, working on transition documents for chapter officers, or finally auditing your social media streams are all things to check off your list.
Have some ideas you think might work for this new world we’re living in? Feel free to brainstorm with us – no strings, no costs. Just some friends who are here to support you and your organization now and always.