How Online Tools Can Help Your Nonprofit Survive COVID-19

Five practical tips for using technology to create personal and meaningful connections with donors.
How Online Tools Can Help Your Nonprofit Survive COVID-19
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Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer
Media Manager at Green Apple Pay
4 min read
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COVID-19 has affected countless small businesses across various industries all over the world. With further waves of infections looming, companies and nonprofits could see another extended lockdown period. So how can nonprofits survive the challenging times ahead? Start implementing the below tips now.

1. Get online

Stakeholder relationships are everything for nonprofit organizations, but getting your mission heard and supported is hard. The 2020 Global Trends in Giving report by Funraise and Nonprofit Tech for Good shows that all generations are becoming more tech-based in their giving habits, with 92 percent of donors saying that nonprofits must invest financial resources in digital communications to stay relevant. This is why having an online presence is more important now than ever. By also creating a social media strategy that shares the stories of the people your nonprofit helps, you can build a timeless brand. Your website is also one of your most important assets, so ensure that optimizing the user journey is not overlooked, and be sure to create content that engages younger generation.

Additionally, data is everything in today’s digital world, so track who is donating to your cause. Being able to thank these donors will result in repeat donations and a prolonged relationship. Providing an online donation method meets these donors where they are — 60 percent of donors in North America prefer to give online with a credit or debit card.

That said, also include non-monetary options for individuals who care about your cause to get involved. Not every individual will be able to donate. However, they can help your cause through actions such as sharing your cause on social media, signing up for a newsletter, sending letters to the government or signing petitions your organization is putting forth.

Related: 3 Nonprofit Funding Avenues All Founders Should Know About

2. Upskill your talent

When nonprofit organizations initially moved their programs online, there was a huge learning curve. This is not a surprise given how low charities and nonprofits rank themselves in their digital competency. Fortunately, many organizations have free resources to help you and your team upskill. The Nonprofit Learning Lab has free regular live webinars and recordings of past webinars covering different technology topics for nonprofits. The UK created The Skills Toolkit that links to various free online courses from sites like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and other massive open online courses (MOOCs). Notably, there are courses on social media communications, managing a project with digital tools, leveraging Google Analytics, Google Ads, search engine optimization (SEO) and more. These courses can fill in the knowledge gaps many nonprofits face.

3. Communicate your mission passionately

Make sure you keep communicating with your donors. They want to know how they can help, and they can't unless they are being engaged by the nonprofits they support. Make sure to remind them how you’ve helped people in your communities with regular feel-good stories on your social media pages and in your regular newsletter email updates. Over half (56 percent) of North Americans say they were inspired by social media and email communications to donate, according to the 2020 Global Trends in Giving report, with Facebook being the platform that had the largest impact on their giving.

Related: Does It Matter What Motivates Business Philanthropy?

4. Be personal at a distance

When social distancing restrictions prevent nonprofits from engaging in face-to-face fundraising, it means that finding alternative ways to create a personal and meaningful connection with donors is more critical than ever. If you don’t use customer relationship management (CRM) software yet, you should. By using a CRM, you can utilize segmentation to group and identify those donors who think and behave in similar ways. Once they have been segmented into their respective groups, you can generate unique email fundraisers that touch on the points that matter most to that specific group of donors quickly and easily.

5. Make the most of existing technology

First and foremost, nonprofits should be leveraging their social media presence. Millennials and Gen Z both regularly use social media, and more so than other generations, have an interest in social causes. They want to clearly understand a nonprofit organization's mission and see the impact they’ve made on their communities within seconds of a post. Designing visual ads that are eye-catching and simple to read on mobile interfaces is essential. One tool that could help your organization with quick but elegant designs is Canva. It’s free, user-friendly and provides hundreds of customizable social media templates for individuals and businesses to use. There are also plenty of online fundraising tools that are designed to help support nonprofits through the challenges ahead.

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