As I See It | Chloe Rodriguez | Marketing Manager
How are you doing? Your supporters want to know.
Recently I watched a catchy auto-tuned TikTok (yes, that infamous video platform) that repeats the wise words “the pandemic isn’t over just because you’re over it.” The verse has been stuck in my head the last few weeks, popping in to offer advice as my family grows increasingly restless with our homebound routine.
Most of us have been home since late March, and as we approach the end of yet another month it’s easy to wish for normalcy. Schools are resuming, albeit with controversy. Some employees are returning to their offices. Restaurants are open. In-person church services have resumed. But whether you are venturing out or still secluded at home, there is one thing we can all agree on: it’s not business as usual.
In our nonprofit survey last month, the majority of respondents reported losses of earned and fundraising revenue and an increase in operating costs. On top of that, 1/3 had experienced furloughs or layoffs. The good news is most organizations reported more frequent communication with stakeholders, including messaging around cancelled/rescheduled events, opening/closures, and emergency requests due to Covid-19.
The need for many nonprofits’ services is greater than ever. Your leadership team has been working hard to make sure your programs are as safe as possible and ensure your clients continue to receive the services they need. Your employees are masked up, sanitizing common spaces regularly and making sure there’s 6 feet between everyone.
Share your struggles
Your staff, your Board, even your clients know how hard you are working to meet safety standards, while increasing accessibility and meeting increased demand. In fact, it might feel like the conversation about Covid-19 protocol never ends, that your methods are constantly evolving and, if you’re being honest, it has been a struggle. The question is, do your supporters know that? Or from the outside does it appear all your programs pivoted perfectly and everything is just fine?
You may have noticed that vulnerability is an increasingly more common theme in public discourse—and for a good reason. As uncomfortable as it is to be vulnerable in our relationships, communicating the journey provides transparency. And transparency builds trust.
Why it matters
End of year appeals are just around the corner. As you build that messaging, ask yourself if you’ve communicated the obstacles 2020 has thrown in your path. Don’t wait to communicate your organization’s needs. Frequent, transparent and direct communication is necessary to show your supporters that they are important to you right now. Plus, supporters that are informed about your struggles can celebrate your successes.
The pandemic—and its economic fallout—isn’t over just because we’re over it. We have to keep sharing our stories—our peaks and our valleys, our victories, big and small. Are you proud of the way your organization has faced adversity, rising to the challenges of this year? Your supporters will be too, but only if you tell them.
NonprofitPRO has 5 quick tips to become more transparent here: Failing is Winning: Being More Transparent With Your Donors
About the Author
Chloe Rodriguez joined M. Gale & Associates in 2020. Chloe’s experience working with nonprofits includes fundraising, communications and managing special events for several organizations in Texas. Prior to joining M. Gale, she served as development manager for Camp Fire First Texas. Chloe holds an undergraduate degree in Mass Communications from Kansas State University and a graduate degree in Public Service and Administration from the Bush School at Texas A&M University. As marketing manager for M. Gale & Associates, she combines her expertise in messaging and branding with her passion for philanthropy. Chloe lives in Fort Worth with her husband and two boys.
Have questions for Chloe? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org