Content & Connection During a Pandemic

With so many of us quarantined and working from home, it’s an understatement to say this is a challenging time. Many of the organizations we work with plan annual meetings, galas and fundraising events right around this time of year. How do you keep momentum and energy going when your event is canceled or postponed? How do you continue to raise money for your organization when everyone’s focus is on COVID-19?

I thought it might be useful to share a few simple ideas and examples for content, connection and promotion that you might be able to use during this unpredictable time.

Idea #1 - Create a fundraising or messaging video 

Last summer we worked with Matt Gerson, President & Founder of Tracy's Kids, a small charity that helps children cope with the emotional stress of cancer using art therapy in hospitals. They had a significant milestone they wanted to celebrate and had the idea to create a thank you video for their donors. They asked various spokespeople to submit a video of themselves talking to a camera, sharing their personal story and connection to Tracy's Kids. We received an array of quality - from iPhone videos shot vertically in someone's windy backyard to cameras on a tripod recording a public official - and we used all of them. We combined the videos with text on screen, graphics and photos they already had in their archives. To add more emotion to the video, we enlisted my 12-year-old son to read the voiceover (in my "sound studio" aka speaking into a microphone, facing a wall of shirts in our bedroom closet) and added music. The result (see above) was something that was so much more moving and impactful than a thank you email alone could ever be. And it was unintentionally all done from the comfort of each person's home!

Idea #2 - Create content by collaborating with others

Whether you have a nonprofit, association or a small business, there is knowledge you have or knowledge that would be useful to share with your people. One of the easiest ways to do that is by interviewing a guest "expert." Using Zoom or Skype or even Facebook Video chat, you could interview this person, record the audio and video, and create either a video blogpost, a podcast, or both. Here's an example from one of my favorite video bloggers, Marie Forleo. She recently did this interview from her home in LA with Nick Ortner in New York. Both screens were recorded and then the interview was slightly edited - transitioning from both people on screen at the same time, to one person at a time on screen - to create an informative and very watchable video blogpost and podcast. Simple technology - great content.

Idea #3 - Host a virtual event

By now, most of us have been on some sort of Zoom-type of call - whether it's a staff or board meeting or even just a virtual happy hour with friends. Take advantage of the fact that more and more people have become comfortable with interacting in this way and host your event virtually. Stream it live on Facebook, with Vimeo or countless other tools. Have a few guest speakers and share content by sharing your screen. Let people who attend engage, either on-camera if it's a smaller group, or via a chat box as the event is going, if a much larger group. But connect with people and make them feel included and heard. Here's an example from the recent 2020 Game Developers Conference (GDC), who switched its in-person conferences to streaming recorded versions on the GDC Twitch channel. (There are tons of services out there to help you with this - just google "Livestream my event.")

I hope these ideas get you thinking about what you can do in your own organization. Whatever you decide, I hope you're able to move your organization forward in some way during this trying time. If we can be of any help - whether it's editing your content or just brainstorming ideas for DIY video - please reach out to us - we're here and happy to help!

  • The video touched all the points we were aiming for. I got feedback from one very important donor/set of eyeballs so it was already worth the effort.  Many thanks!! (PS - Your son needs to get a SAG-AFTRA card.)

    Matt Gerson
    Matt Gerson, President & Founder, Tracy's Kids