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Apr 29, 2020 BY Rachel Clemens Marketing

You Run on Events. What Now?

Commiseration is helping me more than anything during this coronavirus situation. It helps to know I’m not the only one trying to understand and maneuver in this new world.

I’ve been fielding questions from marketers across our mission-driven industries (nonprofits, universities, associations, and government) over the last few weeks. I want to share my answers to some of the questions I’ve received in case you’re experiencing the same challenges.

This is an email I received from an Outreach Manager at a regional forest preserve:

“I’d love to discuss how to create a meaningful social media plan that gets us through the next few months. My organization does conservation work in the preserves and promotes events and volunteer workdays in the preserves. As of tomorrow, all of our field staff are going to be working from home (no conservation work to report on!) and all events are canceled (no events to promote!). I’d like to create a social media plan that includes education, inspiration, and updates about the forest preserves. But it’s overwhelming. Some guidance would be great.”

And my response:

There are a few things that are crucial right now:

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  1. Tie into the current situation where you can and where it’s appropriate. One of the ways people are dealing with being cooped up in their houses is by getting out into nature. Perhaps ask people to submit stories, poems, photos, etc. about how nature is helping them through this experience and/or how this experience is making them value nature. Some people are bored and looking for inspiration/ways to contribute right now, so they might just be in the mood to submit some content. And then you’ve got user-generated content to help you get through this gap in events.
  2. Keep your supporters close. You want to keep them updated on what’s happening with your organization so they remember you and still consider you for gifts with everything else that’s happening right now. What has the loss of these events meant to your org? How can they help? People are looking for ways to help right now. If you don’t need immediate help, let them know that you expect to have some needs in future months and will let them know when they are needed. You could also run a gratitude campaign to your donors to let them know just how much you appreciate them and their support. Since people are looking for social connections, shoot a personal video thanking them for their past support. You likely have their home address and the mail is still running. Send them a personal card to brighten their day.
  3. Can you offer lesson plans or nature scavenger hunts for parents who are home with kids and looking for ways to keep them off screens? Parents are at a loss with how to keep their kids busy and you can help!
  4. Are you pushing any advocacy efforts? Are you working to help your members or the public at large in some way? If so, be sure your supporters can help in this effort (signing petitions, etc.) and also that they are aware of how your efforts may help them or the people, places, or causes they care about.

Here are some other tools/tips that might be helpful:

My other tip is to look at nonprofits that are in a similar space and are executing their social media well. What about their content is working and how can you emulate it to tie it back to your mission?

I hope this is helpful!

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