During this unprecedented time, nonprofits face many challenges in running their organizations and engaging donors and supporters. Nothing is business as usual, and every day brings new changes and a new normal. But increased and changing needs is nothing new to most non-profits and the more mission-focused and proactive you are, the better you will ride the curve of the Coronavirus crisis. 


Rose Impact, a division of Rose Marcom, has a three-prong strategy for non-profits and private foundations to survive and thrive during the COVID-19 challenge: 

REACT: Respond to new local and national coronavirus guidelines and regulations by finding ways to keep the organization running.

ACT: Innovate and find new ways to deliver services and connect with your donors and supporters to stay front of mind.  

PROACT: Be proactive and start today to prepare your nonprofit organization for future crises and success. 


5 Tips for Non-Profits in Navigating Through Coronavirus Crisis

Today, many nonprofits are being managed from home offices and relying heavily on technology. As you establish new ways of doing business, here are some guidelines to help you React and Act during the coronavirus restrictions. 

1. Follow CDC and Governmental Guidelines –

  • Many non-profit professionals are nervous about the present and worried about the future. When communicating with your donors and followers, it’s vital that you remain professional and accurate to maintain trust.

  • Follow all national and local government policies and CDC guidelines in any recommendations or tips you share with your public. Everyone is aware that things change quickly right now. So if you have new information that changes info you previously changed, be sure to update your audiences as soon as possible.

  • Be respectful in your tone and messaging. What you might find funny, your stakeholders might not. Good-natured social media posts about #QuarantineLife are fun for everyone – but if your organization isn’t a political group, you do not want to use your platform to post your personal political views. 

  • These coronavirus communication best practices from Cision are a good guideline to follow during the crisis.

  • If you need to raise critical dollars to get through the crisis, get your message out quickly and provide details as to where the dollars will be going.

Social Distancing

2. Go Virtual – Now is the time to shift from IRL (in real life) events to virtual events, or to add new virtual events to your schedule during the coming weeks. A virtual event is held online rather than in real-life and allows you to reach a wider audience.  

Technology makes hosting a virtual event easy to manage and portable – you probably have everything you need right on your smartphone – a camera and a mic, plus a good internet connection. The easiest platforms to start online events include:

  • Facebook or Instagram Live

  • Skype or group FaceTime events 

  • Zoom and other webinar providers

Virtual events that can help promote your organization and your cause during this period of social-distancing include:

  • When it comes to general fundraising there are many creative options as this article from Network for Good outlines – rom virtual events and auctions to flash fundraisers.

  • Start online fundraisers for things that will help families get through this.

  • If your cause serves local children, schedule daily live reading hours or activities to give harried parents a break.

  • Teach a class or hold a workshop for volunteers.

  • If your organization supports the elderly, go-live and invite your supporters to offer to grocery shop or perform other services for elderly neighbors who are probably frightened by what’s going on and can’t get out as easily to stock up and don’t have the technology that can help facilitate food and other deliveries.

  • Share #ActsOfKindess that move you. A new way to help vulnerable people during this global pandemic has turned into a worldwide movement called caremongering. The goal is to spread kindness rather than scaremongering during this unprecedented time.  

Caremongering during Coronavirus

3. Innovate  – Now is the time to be creative in communicating with your donors and supporters.

  • Promote local businesses and vendors who’ve helped your cause – even if they don’t specifically support your organization.

  • Be a leader: if you see a need that’s not being met in your community, take the lead – even if it isn’t “on brand.” Nonprofits are about giving and today far more people are in need than yesterday. You have the resources to get the word out:

    • Local food banks need support in different ways they needed them last week. 

    • Blood banks need healthy donors to come out and donate. 

    • Create a network of local nonprofits to share ideas and resources for remote working, fundraising projects or whatever community needs are greatest.

  • Try a new online campaign for donors or followers.

  • Get on the phone and pitch a corporate sponsor you’ve never approached before. Companies are looking for ways to give back during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Build online relationships. Join Facebook groups of like-minded people.

  • Ask your donors and supporters what the community needs today.

    • A virtual event is a great opportunity to speak directly with your audience. 

Nonprofits in Crisis Communications

4. Stay Front of Mind – Remind your donors and followers of the importance of your organizations and need for your cause by staying visible during this period.

  • Share recipient success stories.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for money and donations now. Many people are aware of the needs for nonprofits to support our communities right now and this is a good time to get their attention and ask for their help.

  • Build your following on social media.

  • Send thank you notes to your donors and supporters.

  • Contact your major donors and supporters to explain how this crisis is impacting your organization – and ask for more support

    • Facebook has set up a $100 million grant to help small businesses

    • Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively donated $1 million to food banks

5. Plan Ahead – While you’re working from home it is a good time to take a look at all the marketing and communications projects you’ve been intending to do, but never have the time. If your day-to-day operations have been changed by self-isolating and social-distancing, use your free time to:

  • Update your website copy.

  • Write blog posts for the next few months.

  • Schedule social media posts for the rest of the year.

  • Source and hire employees or freelancers to work on projects that never get done.

  • Find new vendors for an upcoming event.

  • Conduct a complete donor analysis from top to bottom to enhance your development and marketing efforts.

  • Experiment with new tools and platforms that you’ve been considering for your organization.

  • Hold virtual team meetings to strategize the coming year.

  • Provide needed training and in-services to staff if possible via technology. 

Nonprofits set an example of giving for their communities. Take care of yourself and take care of each other. Leave a big tip for your delivery driver if you can, offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor, or send flowers to a healthcare worker. 

Stay Tuned!

During the coming days and weeks, Rose Impact will be sharing more nonprofit communication, marketing and fundraising strategies, stories and resources to help your organization survive and thrive through this crisis – many of which you’ll want to continue after this crisis is over! 

We’re all in this together. Stay healthy and be safe!