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In Times of Need, Look to the Helpers

I seriously debated whether to write this article. I didn’t want Mighty Citizen to be just another company writing about COVID-19.

And then I thought, what do our supporters really need? And I figured right about now, you could use some support. If you’re like us at Mighty Citizen, you might be feeling anxious, uncertain, and frankly, disconnected.

So as Mr. Rogers said in times like these, “Look to the helpers.”

And guess what?! YOU are the helper.

If you work in a nonprofit, association, university, or government agency, people are looking to YOU to help. So how can you do that?

Let others know what you are doing

Even though you’re in crisis mode, you can’t stop communicating with your audiences. In fact, this is the time to communicate more.

You can’t stop participating in your work right now. Your constituents need you. Be sure to tell people what your organization is doing or changing during this time in a clear and factual way through multiple channels (email, website, social media, etc). You simply can’t overcommunicate right now with those who rely on your work.

One note: Don’t just be another voice telling people to wash their hands (unless you are actually in the medical field). Instead, consider what you can offer to help others: Do you have an emergency checklist, free educational resources to offer, an extended free trial, etc?

Be a source of good news

What stories of community are you seeing in your work? I know I’m seeing the local Austin community stepping in to make sure kids are being fed even when they aren’t going to school, people sending notes to those isolated in nursing homes, and neighbors stepping up to help local service workers when festivals and conferences are canceled.

We all need some good news right now. How can you be a source of that?

Keep your volunteers, members, and donors close

People remember the organizations that were there for them when they needed it. How can you support your supporters? Let your volunteers know how they can keep volunteering, even while practicing social distancing. Perhaps your association offers membership extensions for those coming up for renewal.

Let your supporters (especially your donors) know exactly what you need from them. Make the need concrete. Wrap it in storytelling. People want to give to a person they can identify with—give them a name and a need. Don’t couch the need in huge, amorphic numbers.

Give people a way to help

The healthy among us feel helpless. Give us a way to help. If you don’t have a way for us to help today, let us know our time is coming.

Here’s a great example from a local affordable housing nonprofit (Foundation Communities) in an email they recently shared:

“We appreciate all the offers of support and help. On top of health worries, we realize that many of our residents can expect a loss of wages because of reduced work hours. We know our Emergency Rental Assistance Fund may be quickly depleted. We may be reaching out for help with this. Stay tuned.”

And now, a personal note:

Your work is hard on any given day. It is especially hard right now. You’re working late hours. You may have children at home while you are also required to work from home. You’re worried about the health of family members, those you serve, and your coworkers. Please take time to take care of you.

We want to help you. What do you need? We are offering free 15-minute consultations right now to help you solve your burning issues. Just reach out and let us know at hello@mightycitizen.com. Be well!

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