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How to Manage Your Organization Virtually

Tatiana Morand  30 March 2020  0 comments
 
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How much of your organization do you currently run online?

 

For many membership organizations, the answer is “Not much.”

 

However, since we’re currently all confined inside, the normal ways of doing things are no longer possible. 

 

And since it doesn’t seem like things will be getting back to normal anytime soon, nonprofits, clubs, and associations will have to make the most of it… or risk taking a huge hit to membership and revenue numbers. 

 

Thankfully, though, there are a lot of ways you can do the activities you’d normally perform in person online instead. 

Here are the top six areas of your organization that can be done virtually, so you can stay on top of its needs even when you’re in the midst of social distancing. 

And if you’re looking for an easier solution to manage your membership and bring everything online, start a free 30-day trial of Wild Apricot!

1. Team Communication

Even though it may initially seem like your organization won’t be able to maintain a lot of its normal activities if you can’t meet up, there are a lot of online options that you can use to keep in touch.  

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Hold meetings with your team or board using video conferencing tools like Zoom. 
  • Get team chat tools like Slack (currently free for all nonprofits ) so that you can create various channels of discussion. For example, you could have one targeted towards volunteer management and another in which to discuss fundraising.
  • Use Google Drive or Office 365 to store communications with your board and team members so that they can all be easily accessed, as well as being able to work simultaneously in a document rather than sending it back and forth via email.
  • Using project management software such as Trello or Asana, so it’s easy to see what everyone is working on and stay synced up.
  • Forward office phone calls to your cell phone so that your community members can still get in touch, or use a service like Google Voice to take calls from other devices. 

How Wild Apricot can help:

Help other admins keep track of members by leaving notes 

 

If you don’t want to bombard your teammates with member updates or if you find it hard to discuss changes made in person, then you can leave internal notes in Wild Apricot. This field is hidden in the sense that only administrators can view or update this. 

 

For instance, if you’ve recently contacted a member and want other admins to know, you can add this note by selecting by going into the Contact details page for that member and clicking Edit in the Internal use section to make a note.

 

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Read More: 9 Super Productivity Tools for Nonprofits

2. Membership Management

Even when you’re stuck at home, you can still find ways to make sure your members are engaged and thinking about your organization — particularly since they’re stuck at home too! 

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Run an online contest using your social media accounts. It can be something specifically related to your organization, or you could just ask members to share what they’re grateful for and spread a little sunshine! The winner could get free membership swag or a discount on their next membership renewal. 
  • Share ideas of activities they can do during self-isolation. For some organizations (such as a bird-watching society or a professional association that offers online training) this can be fairly self-evident. For others, you’ll have to think a little out of the box. For example, the Ridglea North Neighborhood Association is hosting a social distancing scavenger hunt so their members can get safely out and about. 

 



  • Share ways they can help the community. Even if you don’t typically do community outreach, it’s a great time to mobilize your members to do so. For example, the Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation is running a grocery delivery and purchase service for seniors over this time. 


     

    • Host virtual meetings. Just because you’re socially distancing doesn’t mean you have to be socially isolated. You can host a video call with members or run online workshops, like the Arapahoe County Quilters are planning on doing.

    How Wild Apricot can help:

    Keep your members up to date with a virtual noticeboard

    You can keep members in the loop about your latest projects and news by building an online noticeboard on your website using the Forum gadget

    You can encourage your members to post information and start discussions in the comments, or you can use the gadget settings to restrict who can read, comment or create topics in the forum. For example, if you want to use your forum to only share official organization updates, you can set all membership levels to read only, and only give a specific member group access to comment and create topics. 

     

    If your members want to be notified when something new is added to the noticeboard, they can click subscribe to forum.  

     

     

    Encourage contact within your community with a member directory 

     

    To help your members keep a sense of community and offer each other support, you can add a member directory to your website. Members will be able to see the contact details of fellow members, and will be more likely to reach out and keep in touch.  

     

    You can set restrictions on who can see the directory, which members will be listed, and which information is visible. Your members can also choose to hide an information field or their whole profile from the directory in the Privacy section of their profile. 

     

    Learn More: How Wild Apricot's Membership Management Software Can Save You 20 Hours a Week

    3. Events

    Have you been forced to cancel your upcoming events?

    If so, you have a few options: you can reschedule them, cancel them, or move them online. 

    If you’re planning on going virtual, here are a few ideas: 

     

    • Host an event on your preferred social platform and go Live — Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Youtube all offer this as an option. For a complete guide on how to live stream videos on social media, check out this post
    • Host a webinar if you were planning on offering a presentation with a guest speaker using a platform like GoToWebinar.
    • Use a video calling platform like Zoom for your usual meetings. This is the strategy used by the Greater Orlando Organization Development Network, who have moved their meetings online for the time being. 

    • Host an interview over video with an influencer in your organization’s area of interest.
    • Hold a virtual class related to your organization. 

     

    If you'll be going this route, be sure to download our Virtual Event Checklist so you don't miss any steps in planning your virtual event. 

     

     

    How Wild Apricot can help:

    Schedule virtual events in the online calendar


    You can make it easy to manage your event and get people to sign up by scheduling an event in the online calendar. To do so, click menu bar and then click the button. You can then select an event type: simple or advanced.

    If you’re hosting a free event, like a meditation session to help members cope with stress, then a simple event will do. If registrants need to pay to attend (like if you’re running a paid online training course) or if the event spans multiple days or sessions, then an advanced event would allow for these options.

     

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    Find out more about adding online events here.


    Send out automated event emails for more registrants 

    Reminders are always helpful when it comes to online events. Sending out multiple emails, such as announcements and reminders, as well as registration messages, helps increase registrants and participants. You can schedule these emails to be deployed a certain number of days before the event, so you can sit back and relax while the emails are sent out. 

     

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    Setting up event emails is simple: select the event within the and then click the link. From here, you can set up the type of event emails (e.g., announcements, reminders, new waitlist registration).

    Click here to learn more about customizing your email. 

    4. Fundraising

    Although many organizations rely heavily on events to raise money, times like these call for getting creative. 

    Check out this list for many virtual fundraising ideas you can try, or take a quick look at the options below:  

     

    • Open an online store. People have a lot of time to shop while they’re at home, and chances are they’d love to use it to support your organization. Run a quick poll online to see what kind of merchandise your supporters would like to purchase, and start sharing it on your website.
    • Run a campaign on social media. Since a lot of people (myself included…) are spending a lot of time on social media, it’s a good time to create a Facebook fundraising campaign that they can see and access easily.
    • Start a crowdfunding or peer-to-peer campaign. Both are great options depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
    • Email your supporters and remind them of your impact. Even if you’re not on the front lines of COVID-19, you know your organization is doing vital work. If you continue to share your impact and make it clear that you still need support, many people will still be willing to do so.
    • Reach out to your donors and see how they’re doing. A thank-you letter or a quick phone call will not go unappreciated in a time during which many people are feeling scared and isolated — and who knows, it could lead to donations further down the line. 

    How Wild Apricot can help:

    Secure regular revenue with recurring donations 


     

    If you’re struggling without your usual fundraising events and drives, one solution could be to set up a recurring donation option on your website. 

     

    With one click, your supporters can choose to give a regular gift that is automatically transferred every month, quarter, half year or year. This cuts out the hassle for them of repeatedly filling out forms, and you’ll get regular revenue without having to keep reminding donors.   

     

     

    Just a note: you’ll need a Wild Apricot Payments account in order to set up recurring donations. Find out more about Wild Apricot Payments here. 

     

    Start a new way to fund your organization with an online store 

     

    If you haven’t branched out into selling products or services to raise funds yet, this could be your chance. 

     

    Whether it’s selling gift certificates for when your venue reopens, or selling a great downloadable resource you created, it only takes a few minutes to add products to your Wild Apricot online store and start generating revenue. 

     

    Just a note: be aware of the tax laws where your organization is based. Click here to read about applying taxes to your online store.

    Read More: 15 Spring Cleaning Ideas for Your Nonprofit

     

    5. Volunteering

    Working with volunteers is obviously a lot harder when you can’t meet up in person or even do many of the same activities your organization typically does. 

    That being said, though, your volunteers are probably looking for things to do and ways to help — so it’s the perfect time to suggest other activities they can do. 

    Here are a few ideas to keep your volunteers engaged during this crisis: 

    • Ask for their help with online tasks. A lot of your volunteers might have talents that they use in their day jobs that are as yet untapped by your organization. For example, maybe one of your newest volunteers works as a graphic designer, and would be willing to design a few simple graphics to jazz up your social media.  
    • Ask them to do online training. If there are any updates in your field they should know about, or any skills they want to level up, it’s the perfect time to do so. (You can check out our list of free nonprofit webinars happening every month for some inspiration!).
    • Ask them to check in with others. For example, they could write and send out cards of appreciation to other members, or call members of your community to see how they’re holding up (if that’s something you would be comfortable with). 
    • Ask them to spread the word. For example, you could ask them to create videos or social media posts of their own to share what your organization is up to, or share any online fundraising campaigns you have running to their social networks.
    • Ask them to donate. This can be tricky, but if you feel comfortable doing so, you could ask them for donations in lieu of their time. 

    You can also remind your volunteers that there are other ways they can help their community without being part of an official organization, just like this flyer by Volunteering Otago does: 

     

     

    Ideas such as delivering food to less fortunate members of your community or offering to write letters to people in care homes who can’t receive visitors are great ways to keep them engaged with your organization as well as supporting your area in general. 

     

    How Wild Apricot can help:

    Let volunteers contribute by granting partial admin rights

    It can be challenging for volunteers to help run your organization without their physical presence. However, they may be needed to help build your newsletter, update a small section of your website, or manage events.

    If you don’t want your volunteers updating your homepage or locking you out of your account by accident, then you can grant them restricted administrative functions, so they can work remotely on your website. 

    To change your contacts’ administrative settings, hover over Account in the main menu and select Manage Account Administrators. You can then select Limited administrator and check off the functionalities they can have access to, and click Save

    For more information on Account administrators and their roles, click here.

    6. Payments

    Are you still taking payments by cheque, like many small organizations? 

    If you haven’t yet made the plunge to online payments, it’s the perfect time to set them up. 

    Taking online payments has a few advantages:

    • You’re meeting members and donors where they are, so it’s a lot easier to collect payments on time.
    • You can raise more money for your organization by creating an online donation page that your supporters can share.
    • You don’t have to go to the bank to deposit cheques, thus saving yourself time.
    • You don’t have to worry that payments will get lost in the mail.
    • It’s a lot easier to issue refunds, in the sad situations in which you might have to do so. 


    How Wild Apricot can help:

    Manage payments online by setting up a payment system


    Whether you're collecting membership dues, hosting a paid event or running a fundraiser, it’s easy to start accepting online payments from your website. 

     

    To set up online payments, click Settings from the main menu bar, and click on the Payment settings link under the Account section. Click here to learn more about setting up online payments. 

     

    Read more: Understanding Online Payment Services + Top 10 Payment Providers 

     

     

    Even once the world has returned to normal, we hope that these tips can give you a few new ideas to try and  help your organization collaborate better online. 

    Are there any tips we missed? Let us know in the comments!  


    Tatiana Morand

    Posted by Tatiana Morand

    Published Monday, 30 March 2020 at 5:42 PM

    Search: WildApricot.com 

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