This post was originally published by Graduway.
It’s a difficult time for all of us as we work to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our communities.
To stop the spread of the virus, we are changing the very nature of how we conduct our work with potentially dramatic consequences. Campuses are being closed, events are being cancelled and most importantly, our constituents are looking for support, advice and relationships.
Below are some best practices that you can implement today to continue supporting and engaging your community digitally.
Online Community Engagement
Building a strong virtual network allows us to provide value and opportunities without depending on physical presence, at the right time and place for your constituents – no matter what the current affairs of the day.
- Digital Regional Groups: On a Graduway platform, we can create regional groups to connect, support and advise each other globally.
- Volunteers: Taking advantage of the power of our willing networks puts us at the forefront of support for our communities. On average 75% of a Graduway network are willing to mentor, volunteer or donate. Leverage those volunteers and encourage their support to become a hub of activity and value.
- Virtual Events: We cannot let the virus hold us back from running our events. Bringing our community together virtually can be a great way to give them a space to still network and build relationships, without physical presence.
- Mentoring: As many within our communities may be stuck in isolation, or simply working remotely, this is a great time to encourage virtual mentoring connections to boost professional opportunities. The Graduway platform offers a quick and easy solution for constituents to connect 24/7 for career guidance and professional discussion.
We’re hearing from many of our customers how they are reconsidering their digital fundraising efforts in light of the virus. During a recent webinar, we asked a panel of fundraising experts how they’re handling their upcoming Giving Days.
Nick Stinson, Director, Rice Annual Fund at Rice University gave us his take on the issue: “I’m optimistic about how our Giving Day will perform. People won’t be travelling, they may be home, they may be more likely to be reading emails and just having the university on their mind, and I think a case for a research institution, or all institutions of higher education, has never been more evident. We need our institutions to be solving the world’s problems”
With the right messaging and the right execution, the current situation could enhance your efforts by reaching a larger, more engaged audience who are currently at home and more open to giving. Here are some ways to raise awareness around your Giving Day:
- Promotional Tools: For those with Giving Days set up for this time, Graduway allows you to amplify your promotion with branded videos, newsletters, emails and peer-to-peer promotion.
- Ambassadors: Rally this opportunity to have your ambassadors reach out to their own network – when better to check up on how their contacts are doing and ask for their support?
- Gamification: Utilize the leaderboards, challenges, matching funds, thermometers and heat maps on your Giving Day platform to ensure that your community is kept up to date and feel more invested to drive those numbers further.
- Campaigns: Setting up different campaigns under one Giving Day can unite your entire campus while promoting the causes that mean most to them.
For both engagement and fundraising, the foundation is communication. By using your platform to send personal messages, digest updates, and to share relevant posts, you can create a digital community that is connected, supported and engaged.
Communication is best done early and often. Do not hesitate to share your decision-making processes with your community so that they understand what you are doing and why. Be sure that they know that you are flexible and supportive and want to do everything in your power to give them value through relevant opportunities.
Now is the time to leverage the digital tools to take your engagement and fundraising efforts online.
Due to the Coronavirus affecting all of our plans, and numerous events being cancelled, we have decided to provide you with a FULLY VIRTUAL EVENT to bring you the latest in thought leadership, best practices from top institutions and practical workshops.
Join us on 18-21 May for your own GLS experience.