Every non-profit agency needs to have a crisis marketing plan.
The bottom line is that when something “hits” that affects your agency, you need to be ready to go to take advantage of the momentum. Speed is critical following a major event. Most non-profits, because of the need for approvals and consensus, are just not geared up for that quick turn.
Create a Crisis Marketing Plan
It’s not just speed that counts. Yes, it’s important to be front and forward with your agency’s response during a crisis that affects you. But, you also need to provide accurate, credible information.
- Pre-approvals for certain actions and expenses.
- Perfect digital channels that allow for both speed and flexibility. Prepare a template ready for emergency alert emails that can go out without a photo. (You don’t want to delay getting something timely out because you’re waiting on photos.)
- Have a social media plan in place, including Facebook.
- Don’t rely solely on email. During crisis, people’s inboxes get over-loaded.
- Get the right communication out to stakeholders.
- Test the back-end sites. Set up a couple of template donation pages. Your Crisis Marketing Plan should include who tests the links to the donation pages. Donation pages need to be responsive.
- Have arrangements made with local vendors for quick print & mail. Yes, digital will get there first, but not to everyone.
- Direct mail offers the right “end” to the crisis. Direct mail is the most trusted marketing medium.
- For best response, integrate marketing channels.
Don’t Forget to Plan for Afterwards
According to Whitney Broadwell, senior direct marketing development officer for International Medical Corps (IMC), the group that worked with the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, the big job comes after that first donation.
Once donors engage with your organization by making a donation following a major event, the next step is to convert them to regular donors. Even though an individual might have given your agency a quick gift, that donor might not necessarily know much about that organization. It is important to seize the opportunity to get them up to speed.
A quick thank you is important. Personally, I like a hand written thank you card, sent in the mail. It has a deeper meaning than something sent via email. It connotes effort. They made the effort to give your agency a gift, you need to make the effort to send them a proper thank you.
Remember to schedule periodic follow ups with the new donor, always referencing the initial gift. Put this into your Plan, so it doesn’t get overlooked.
Then, after the crisis is over, consider a direct mailing to your constituents. This way you can let them know what your agency did to help the members of your community.