Your organization is closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. So how can you keep your patrons engaged and ensure their continued support?

Some of this advice may seem familiar. Even in times of uncertainty, the fundamental principles of communication still apply. In fact, they are more important than ever.  The media landscape is getting more crowded by the minute as organizations increase their content output to keep donors and patrons engaged and informed. 

In this article, I’ll show you how you can revisit your communication strategy with our current coronavirus situation in mind, then I’ll share some ideas of content you’ll want to consider pushing out to your patrons.

TIP: Are you considering reopening as coronavirus restrictions begin to ease? Check out our Marketing Guide for Businesses Reopening After Coronavirus.

Revisit your communication strategy

Here are four things to consider when creating your communication strategy now and in the future.

1. Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach? Identifying your target audience for each communication is the first step in creating your messaging and choosing the right channel. Your organization likely has more than one target audience, so take the time to identify them and tailor your communications. Some examples of target audiences are current donors, lapsed donors, members, ticket buyers, and volunteers. For an in-depth breakdown of audience segmentation and messaging, check out the article Crisis Communication Tips for Nonprofits.

2. Relevant Messaging

Now that you have your target audience identified, the next step is crafting relevant messaging that will be interesting to that group. Your messaging is directly tied to the outcome you’d like to achieve. Are you asking for a donation, for more volunteers, or perhaps an event registration? 

Even if your outcome for your communication is the same across groups, the messaging will need to be slightly different to create a strong case for support for each audience.

3. Effective Channels

Deploying your message on the right mix of channels will give you maximum reach. Your target audience will likely see your message on more than one channel (email, social media, and your website, for example) before they take action. Make sure your messaging is consistent on each channel so that it is reinforced and amplified with each view. 

However, this doesn’t mean posting the exact message on each channel — each one has a distinct voice and feel so do your best to match it. 

4. Call-to-Action

Each communication you put out should have a clear outcome and a call-to-action (CTA) to encourage engagement. Your CTAs don’t always have to be revenue-based, such as a donation or ticket sale; they could be a volunteer signup or a blog post view. Identify your desired outcome and tailor your messaging and CTA to achieve it. 

Content ideas — here’s what you can share with your patrons

Once you have your strategy in mind, you’ll want to use that to guide the content you create. If you’re low on ideas, here are four guidelines to help you navigate your communications at this time.

And remember, it’s always important in times of crisis to communicate sensitively. The easiest way to do this is to keep your audience front-of-mind. Before drafting a new piece of content, consider how it might come across in this moment. 

1. Provide activities that can be done at home

There are a lot of activities for people of all ages that can bring your organization right into patrons’ homes. Head over to Pinterest and YouTube for everything from educational videos to downloadable project worksheets and then share them via email and social media.

2. Share updates about your organization’s impact

Organizations on the front lines have lots of stories to tell about the impact they are having in the community. Share them on social media and email to showcase how you are helping in this uncertain time.

3. Create a reading or podcast list on topics related to your mission

Many patrons might be looking for ways to pass the time while sequestered at home. Creating a list of books or podcasts that are related to your mission or feature stories about work like that of your organization is a great way to provide a resource that is relevant and entertaining.

4. Keep patrons in the loop through authentic communication

Keeping your patrons apprised of rescheduled events or resuming normal operations is key to maintaining trust among your supporters. Keep them updated through open and honest communications about what is going on.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list but hopefully, it inspires you to discover ways your organization can communicate effectively during this time.

Final thoughts

Although the current situation may be putting stress on arts and culture organizations, your patrons need the arts as much now as they ever did — maybe even more. This is an opportunity to answer that need and position your organization as a leader now and in the future.

And the team at Constant Contact is here to help. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the customer support team, engage on social media, or chat with fellow small business owners who are also learning to adapt on the Constant Contact Community

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