By Richard Morris – CEO TheGivingMachine
So I’m writing this as we go into week 4 of isolation and as a parent, husband and CEO of a charity, I am getting to grips with this new reality. I thought I would share top tips from me and my fantastic team for making the most of where we are and making sensible decisions going forward for your cause.
Being realistic and pragmatic, we may have some form of restriction for some time. That means getting used to virtual meetings both as one on ones but also groups meetings. Even when restrictions are lifted, many people, for many reasons, may not want to be part of gatherings in both company or community settings. This is a big challenge for fundraisers everywhere from those that benefit from the London Marathon to the local primary school’s May Fayre.
So where’s the opportunity? You need your supporters more than ever, and for many, they need you too. Many of us will be seduced by the media to consume the bad news harvested from all over the world for us. The organisations and people part of Charity Today and TheGivingMachine make up a community army of amazing people with amazing human stories. Now is the time to tell them and share them more than ever. Share those good news stories, remind us all of the amazing achievements big and small.
We then need to mobilise that amazing army to make a difference by liking and sharing our stories and enable supporters to help in other ways. We’ll all have to get much much better at social media and having a presence on these platforms as we can’t have face to face and may not be able to for some time.
We’ve found that a combination of GSuite, Zoom and Basecamp along with better team agendas have helped us focus internally. Regular morning check-ins have helped make sure that, as a team, we are all helping each other stay positive on tough days.
Stepping up our presence on social media and keeping it positive has been an excellent antidote for ourselves and our audience to the media stories. Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram have been primary focus areas for us. We also decided to launch a weekly online quiz for a bit of family fun, and the engagement levels for this have been great – especially on rewatch stats.
Charities, schools and community groups will have to get much better at generating donations in new, online ways and that provides opportunities. I usually want to be subtle about our own platforms as the articles I write are more opinion pieces, but if ever there was a time to break that philosophy, it is now.
If your charity, school or community group hasn’t signed up to TheGivingMachine and the GivingLottery, why not? They are free platforms for you to generate income right now. As they are run by a charity, you know we are of the community and for the community.
Everyone you connect to, such as trustees, staff, users, funders, supporters can generate free donations when they shop online via TheGivingMachine. And if they really like you (and you ask them), they will advocate that to their family and friends too.
Some of your audience will also be happy to play the GivingLottery to support you. From an average of £2 a week, each supporter will be raising over £40 per year for your cause and have the chance to win cash prizes every week.
We have seen significant growth in applications to our platforms recently, but we can handle more so bring it on and help us help you!
So to sum up, I would suggest the following approach:
- Don’t assume that your operating environment will change that much for some time. If you are wrong, then happy days!
- Get well organised using apps and online tools – talk to other organisations for top tips. Keep your people connected emotionally.
- Engage with your audience more than ever and share your stories, keep it positive where you can
- Leverage online fundraising now to get income streams flowing (e.g. TheGivingMachine, GivingLottery)
If my team or I can be of help, please get in touch. We’re in this together, and we will get through this together!