You Have an Emergency Fund... Now What?

You’ve been burning the candle at both ends to support your hospitals and to bring value to your donors. Many of you have created an emergency fund which accepts in-kind contributions, monetary gifts and other creative ways to help.

If you weren’t amidst a crisis, you’d rightfully take a well-deserved break. Unfortunately, the real work is about to begin. If you execute well over the next several months, you can establish relationships with hundreds, possibly thousands, of passionate, new donors; play an important role in community engagement and provide lifesaving support to the frontlines. So, let’s go.

STEP 1: Social Media Strategy

You need to be part of the social media landscape. Period. Some of you may have trusted relationships with your marketing departments—while some of you may be held at arms-length right now over the perception of ethics, timing and messaging. At a minimum, have a conversation with the gatekeepers over your important role in community engagement. If given direct access to social media channels, consider the following:

A. Curate Your Brains Out.

Creating original content is time consuming enough when you aren’t busy. The easiest, fastest thing to do is repurpose content. Find a video, post, tweet or quote that reflects your brand and this current crisis well. Share it, credit it and keep moving forward.

B. Pay to Play.

Health care philanthropy will never be more relevant. Now is the time to spend some of that Facebook advertising budget. While hospitals are focused on education and reporting, the foundation can complement those messages with inspiration, hope, gratitude and the soothing power of paying-it-forward.

C. Think Two-Way.

Your social media strategy must include creating conversations that encourage community engagement. This is not a one-way communication effort.

Ask questions, post comments that elicit response and provide ways for people to become involved. This is a crisis everyone must get through together.

STEP 2: Community Partner Strategy

You currently have the attention of every influential group in your community, so review your partnerships. What business leaders and key influencers will rally beside you? How can you use their advocacy and marketing muscle during this crisis? They understand the urgency and want to help. Here are a few things to consider:

A. Ask Them to Connect and Share Your Social Media.

This is the simplest of all asks. Gaining the expanded exposure and push from your partners could be amazing. But it can also be tricky. After all, this is more than a health crisis. This is also an economic crisis. Be sensitive to their struggles. Monitor your partners’ activities and recognize their sacrifices wherever possible. When they do push content for you, make sure you publicly recognize it through social media. Always pick up the phone to thank them directly.

B. Support Their Leadership.

Community organizations will have important roles when the dust settles. They will be the ones working to repair order to your community. Provide what they need to remain relevant during this crisis. Communicate with them regularly, deliver credible facts and messaging and distribute what they need to inform their constituencies well.

STEP 3: Media Outreach Strategy

Your local media wields credibility and influence. While they may not have physical access to your hospitals during this crisis, this could provide a unique opportunity to work together. Your hospital leadership and marketing department are most likely in contact with media sources. This is your chance to join those conversations. You have something unique to offer. You have valuable access and bench strength to offer.

A. Access.

As non-essential personnel continue to dwindle from hospitals, foundations have a unique opportunity to step up as storytellers. You have trusted relationships with physicians, nurses and other frontline employees who can provide incredible, beyond-the-walls stories of hope and gratitude.

B. Bench Strength.

Right now, your volunteers are hurting. These individuals are at home, wishing they could do more. It’s in their DNA. Mobilize them as interviewers, writers, bloggers and connectors to your frontline providers. Find creative ways for them to capture and tell your stories during this crisis.

Executing these strategies can provide lasting benefits for you, your caregivers and your community.

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