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13 Ways to Stay Engaged With Your Supporters Virtually

How does your organization keep your mission moving from a distance? If your nonprofit has had to cease service, close doors, lay off staff, or cancel events, you’re likely working to figure out how to continue forward in this new, restricted environment. 

The coming weeks are a crucial time for your organization to continue to engage with your donor base, even from afar. We have some tips on how to keep your community connected and continue to move your mission forward in this unusual time.

Maintain Email Communication

If email newsletters are a part of your communication strategy, don’t stop them now. Email is an easy, zero-contact way to get important information out to your supporters. And you might find this is a perfect time to increase your email communication. Use your emails to keep donors up to date with the health of your organization, and other ways you are staying active in this time.

Launch an Online Fundraising Campaign

Your spring fundraising event doesn’t have to be canceled! Move your fundraising efforts online with a digital fundraising campaign. Host a t-shirt fundraiser, organize a virtual 5k, or host an online auction.

Bonfire Fundraising Campaign page

On Bonfire we’ve seen a rise in nonprofit success on our platform as nonprofits and small businesses look for ways to fundraise from a distance.

Get Your Supporters Involved

Reach out to some of your most engaged donors and volunteers to record videos of themselves talking about why they support you and your cause. These videos can then be shared across social media, as well as your email newsletter. Since video often has a higher reach on social media, you can drive stronger engagement and get that human connection to your cause at the same time. 

Create a Social Media Challenge

Families and individuals are looking for any way to entertain themselves in this time. Think about the cause behind your nonprofit, and whether a social media challenge could be right for you. As you plan out the challenge, make sure the task is relatively easy, that any supplies would be readily available at someone’s home, and that there’s strong communication of your organization behind it. You want to make sure that this challenge helps spread recognition for your cause. 

Write Letters

Write letters to you supporters as a way to keep them engaged with your organization.

While it may seem old fashioned, writing letters is a great way to add a personal touch to your engagement with members of your organization. Make a list of all of your volunteers or donors, and just start writing. You can thank them for their support, but also let them know about the needs your nonprofit has at this time. 

Share About Your WFH Life

If your nonprofit has transitioned home for the time being share what that experience has been like. This is a great way to humanize the administrative sides of your organization, and also gives a way for your staff to engage in this time.

Tell the Good-News Stories

Now is a time where people are happier than ever to have good news in their inbox and news feeds. Think about how you can tell the positive stories of what is happening either through your organization or in the community surrounding your organization.

Be Open About Your Financial Needs

Be open to your supporters about your financial needs.

There are so many ways your nonprofit may be affected in this time, and your financial needs may look much different now than they looked at the beginning of the year. Be honest and specific with your donor community about your financial needs right now. Where you can, lead the conversation of your financial support requests with the specific impact that the funds will have. Email your donors asking to donate “one hour’s wages”, “one meal”, or “one ___”. 

Organize a Speaker Series

This is a great time to find a guest speaker to come talk to your community of volunteers or donors. People who typically are difficult to reach or have busy calendars are now stuck at home and available for video calls. Host a guest speaker who can encourage your nonprofit community at this time.

Host a Thank-a-Thon

Divvy up your donor and volunteer lists amongst your team and start calling. Thank the people who help make your nonprofit succeed by calling each one individually and thank them for the ways they help support you. As you talk, you might be able to have an opportunity to share your current needs, and find ways for them to help you now, whether that’s by donating to your nonprofit, or volunteering their time to help you in some way.

Host a Virtual Spirit Week

Host a virtual spirit week

Depending on the type of nonprofit you have, and the size of your community, you could have a Virtual Spirit week. For example, if your nonprofit is in the environment category, host a “Clean up your Community Week”. Each day, you can assign a different way to clean up litter. No matter the theme of your spirit week, ask those who participate to photograph their activities and tag your nonprofit on social media. Make sure you share that content with the rest of your community to encourage more of your supporters to join in.

Participate in GivingTuesdayNow

GivingTuesdayNow is coming up on May 5th. Make sure your nonprofit has thought through your plan for this global day of giving. This day was created in response to the extra strain and emergency needs created by the worldwide spread of COVID-19. Use this day to engage with your community and help raise funds and awareness for your cause.

Host a Live Forum

Facebook Lives and Instagram Lives are becoming popular ways to communicate with communities in this unique time. There are endless types of live shows you can do for your audience, whether that’s having a guest speaker, collaborating with another local nonprofit, or having just one of your team members speak. You can also have a pre-show, FAQ segment, and more. The most important thing is to find ways to make it a conversation. 

Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to make your engagement strategy at the same caliber as what your content might have been at a few months ago. Many things have changed because of COVID-19, and the most important thing is to do something. 

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