Type to search

Featured Opinion covid-19

COVID-19: Practical ways to keep moving forward in a pandemic

7 min read
Share

We have no doubt that your newsfeed and inbox is as jampacked as ours with updates, warnings and fears about the spread of Corona Virus.  Everyone we know is walking the thin line between trying to stay objectively informed and feeling slightly panicky.  All those feelings are completely understandable in what feels like some weird alternate reality has somehow overlaid itself on our lives right now.

So, when we were putting together this important update we knew we wanted to add value (not more fear and hype) by focusing on some practical tips to help you as you navigate:

  • The (objective) reality of what is to come and how to prepare for it
  • Making decisions about your events and any consequences that arise
  • How to communicate change to your corporate partners
  • Ideas for free and creative online resources for your community
  • Staying grounded as well as some ‘silver linings’ we can clearly see.

PREPARING FOR A NEW REALITY (EVEN SHORT TERM)

Despite what you may believe about the severity of the Corona Virus, it’s important to understand that the economic flow-on effects of disruptions, cancellations, closures of countries, schools, workplaces, and mass layoffs may be significant.

We need to take what’s happening seriously, but it’s even more important that we do not buy into the hype and hysteria surrounding this and surrender to feelings of fear and overwhelm that get triggered as a result.

As a fundraiser, it’s vital that you do not second-guess or make decisions on behalf of your current and potential partners as to what they might be able to give, whether they want to, or whether they have the means to.  That is their decision to make.  Your job is to continue to give them the opportunity to be involved with your organisation and community.

The best practice approach is to keep reaching out and maintaining the connection with your partners – genuinely enquire after their health and that of their family, colleagues and community. How are they faring? We are all in this together, acknowledge their concerns and share with them how your organisation is (directly or indirectly) supporting those affected by COVID-19.  What programs you have in place, how you are being nimble and changing what needs to be changed to keep people safe.

Perhaps your organisation has no direct connection with this pandemic, you can still be sharing how this is effecting your ability to deliver services and programs to your community and why being involved with your organisation is such a good fit for their brand.

We all need each other right now, please keep showing up, having conversations and asking for support.

Of course, if your organisation is largely events-based, you have some decisions to make about how to best manage that process – more on that below.

A TIME TO BE DISCERNING

‘Crisis’ (from the root word ‘krei’) meaning ‘to sieve or sift, discriminate, distinguish’…

What are you able to sift through, distinguish or discriminate right now?  Distinguishing fact from fear, and what’s important from what’s a distraction, immediately springs to mind.

I offer this perspective to you as a way of reclaiming some control, space and calm that you may feel has been stripped away as overwhelming updates, events and stories emerge.  There is no doubt that we should all be working to #flattenthecurve, and as we are forced to enact ‘social distancing’, this can be the perfect time to ‘sift’ through and distinguish distractions from what’s truly important in our lives.

For many people, what is truly important are relationships – friends, family, loved ones, and of course community.  We could all use a little more patience, compassion and kindness right now, especially where our most vulnerable are concerned.

Adversity, challenge and change can bring out negative or fear-based beliefs and behaviours in family, friends and colleagues that we may have never seen before.  It’s easy to judge others and point the finger.  It’s MUCH HARDER to love and support someone ‘where they’re at’ (especially if we don’t understand or agree)  and allow them grace to find their way.

In Australia, during and after the bushfires, we witnessed a global display of compassion, selflessness, generosity, community comradery and kindness. Crises have the ability to unite people across countries.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if the same compassion, kindness and generosity we saw in human hearts during the bushfires were seen now in relation to the Corona Virus?

Regardless of the news (that can be drastically over-sensationalised) you need to just keep doing what you need to be doing.  Keep sifting through and focussing on what’s important, including self-care, looking after your family, not buying into the hype and hysteria and staying grounded.

MANAGING YOUR EVENTS + CONVERSATIONS WITH PARTNERS

If you are running events, then you will soon (if not already) face the decision to cancel, postpone or press on.  Each one of these decisions holds consequences.  Here are our best practice tips for managing this decision making process.

  • Before deciding to cancel, postpone or press on with an event, what other delivery options could you consider including? Brainstorm with your team how you may be able to change the structure/format and convert part or all of it to an online platform.
    • Could the event be livestreamed?
    • Could part of it be livestreamed?
    • Could you offer online masterclasses by presenters? Perhaps something even more interactive than the presentation they may have originally planned?  You can make it longer and be more flexible.
    • Would an online platform suddenly allow you to appeal to a wider, more geographically dispersed audience than your original event?
    • Are there things you could now incorporate in the online space, that weren’t possible with a physical event?
    • Is this something that you could turn into an ‘evergreen’ professional/personal development opportunity to your community that you can continue to sell and promote on your website?
  • Are there other programs or services that you could offer online?
    • Digital resources
    • Virtual tours
    • Online volunteering opportunities
    • Downloadable templates and resources
    • What creative ‘experiences’ could you offer your community as a value-add? (We have some ideas below!)
  • Through all of this change and internal discussions, it’s vital that you KEEP TALKING with your partners and sponsors. And do it regularly. Updates on COVID-19 feel like they are happening almost hourly right now, so be sure to offer regular updates to your partners – even if it’s just to say that you have convened an emergency board meeting to develop an action plan and will be in
  • Ask your sponsors how they are feeling. What ideas do they have? What ways are they seeing other partnerships shift and pivot to make things work.  What policies are they implementing that you need to know about? Show them you are a team and in this together. It might lead to a fabulous bespoke activation or opportunity that is a win/win/win for everyone!
  • Do you run another program, service or project that serves the same audience, or meets a partner’s goal that they could immerse themselves in? Again, your programs and wider team will be a goldmine of ideas here.
  • Whilst postponing an event can feel frustrating, it can also open up more opportunities for longer marketing and promotion lead time, more tickets sales, more time to nurture potential sponsors, opportunities to investigate and include more digital and online activations, as well as getting your partners involved in competitions, prizes, fundraising opportunities through their networks!

CREATIVE IDEAS TO KEEP YOUR COMMUNITY ENGAGED

There are some brilliant people in this world that have already started sharing creative and free online resources and opportunities for people to ‘stay connected’ in the face of social distancing.  We wanted to share some of the best ones we’ve seen, in the hope that your community, team and friends might find something here that’s valuable!

  • Download free colouring-in books from 113 museums around the world
  • 50 amazing skills you can learn on YouTube
  • Free online art tutorials
  • Mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises – Google them – there are dozens!
  • What about a virtual field trip!
  • Online volunteering opportunities
  • Cultural heritage and scientific projects from home
  • 15 Broadway plays and musicals you can watch on stage from home
  • Free synthesizer apps for musicians stuck at home
  • Long distance sing-a-longs
  • Companies offering free subscriptions due to school closures –

Please hit reply and share with us any resources that you’ve found and love. #weareinthistogether

This list might inspire you to create your own free online resources!

COULD THERE BE A SILVER LINING?

What if this pandemic ultimately created immense and positive change in our hearts, minds and communities in such a way that everyone, everywhere benefited?  I read a great blog post recently and it made me think about things like:

  • Local vs Global – sourcing, supporting and buying local goods and not relying on global mass consumerism.
  • More interest and connection to local attractions, nature and the land allowing us to focus on ethics and sustainability, community, farming practices, animals and the planet.
  • Syncing with the seasons – eating food in season. Less growing and transportation of food ‘out of season’ from anywhere in the world. Maybe more of us will become home gardeners, and convert more outdoor spaces to edible green spaces, even those small spaces that can fit a pot?  We have a home vegie patch and love it!
  • Eating in with friends and loved ones could become a new trend, creating more connection, downtime, sharing of nourishing home-cooked food, laughter, and checking in on one another. Imagine the health benefits!
  • Earth stewardship – as we get back in touch with the natural world, it’s my hope that we’ll naturally become more protective and caring for our environment and animals.
  • As people practice social distancing, we will be more comfortable in our own company, appreciating opportunities for reflection, meaning and purpose. When we do go out, it will hold more meaning – where we can be present for one another and more in the ‘moment’.
  • Rise of the entrepreneur – creation of home based and online businesses may accelerate as people seek more financial independence, and outlets for their gifts and creativity.
  • Traditional education and learning systems may change as we identify skills gaps, flexible online platforms and areas for development in people or all ages to help us all adapt and thrive.
  • In fact, we have the perfect online platform for you to upskill in corporate partnerships! You can check out our Fundraising Academy, everything is online, monthly coaching session via Zoom, easy downloadable resources, an awesome members-only community.  It’s like we must have known, so we made it easy for you!

A LITTLE SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

‘And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.’

Tags:

You Might also Like

1 Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *