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Don’t Be a Copycat

Avoid the pandemic panic and leverage this time to steward donors.

Focus on what is most relevant to your mission and constituents; try not to react to other organizations’ messages.
Several of my clients have sent me examples of other nonprofits’ digital responses to the COVID-19 pandemic with a note that perhaps we should mimic one or more aspects of the messaging, format, or appeal. The constant barrage of emails from both competitors and non-competitors can make even the most level-headed leader start to second guess their own strategy for engaging donors and wonder if they should jump on the bandwagon. I believe the second-guessing response itself is valuable and should be the actual focus for next steps, rather than duplicating aspects of another message. When I get these inquiries from clients, I ask, “When you received the other emails, why did you respond so strongly and feel that you need to replicate them?” and “What about these messages makes you reflect on what we are doing at your organization?” These are the questions and underlying issues that should be addressed, rather than scrambling to create a copycat version of a message that may not have any relevance to your mission, your donors, or how COVID-19 is affecting your organization’s future.

“What about another organization's appeal makes you reflect on what we are doing at your organization?”

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