The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected each of us in profoundly personal, and yet somehow deeply shared, ways. Facts on the ground have changed so quickly, and so dramatically, that we find ourselves overcome with a huge range of emotions and needs: caring for immediate families, worrying about loved ones, reaching out to neighbors, and obsessing over news from every corner of the globe. And while our personal concerns may remain focused on community-based ways to get through this crisis together, our ability to serve our clients is paramount — if you’re reading this, we’re likely talking about your organization.
The time we are living through has only served to amplify how essential your work is, and we know first hand how much your teams are stepping up in the face of this crisis to move it forward. You deserve partners that can rise to meet the challenge alongside your team.
As a B Corp committed to supporting mission driven organizations, ThinkShout has always strived to live the values that you fight for day in and day out, and those values are most essential during times of duress, to ensure that we don’t lose our way when navigating a crisis. Rather than just assuming business as usual, we surveyed our team to understand their needs in this new era, and made necessary adjustments to ensure that we can find our new balance between work and life, and continue to operate at full capacity to serve your needs. We are also adjusting to our new shared virtual reality by creating free webinars, blog posts, and best practices for anyone in our community to learn from, including a new series on Equitable Digital Connections. We want you to know that we are thinking about your evolving needs every day. It is our job to stay ahead of emerging best practices, to learn from the efforts of similar organizations, and ensure that you have the digital tools and support to continue your work.
Tangible Ways to Deepen Digital Engagement
This is a moment where innovation and creativity are required from each of us as we respond to today’s crisis in a way that not only meets the challenge, but also helps shape the future to be more just and equitable for the communities you serve.
Our current situation presents two clear new opportunities:
- Deepen engagement with audiences by exploring new ways to use current platforms to leverage existing offerings.
- Expand engagement with audiences by exploring new-to-your-organization platforms and engagement tactics.
This applies to everything from strategic communications and campaigns, to how knowledge products are distributed.
Our immediate recommendation is to lean into exactly what makes your organization unique — your core product offering — and then consider how every digital tool at your disposal can better communicate its relevance and importance. Now is the time to embrace concepting, creating, and implementing equitable and accessible digital platforms and engagement tools. In this hopefully short era where all communication is virtual, it is our responsibility to bridge the digital divide both between organizations that have the capacity to engage with their core audiences and those that don’t, as well as within organizations as they work to best leverage digital systems to support all programs, partnerships, and mission-critical efforts. For organizations focused on social good, this is even more essential.
We are actively engaged with all current ThinkShout clients to discuss how the systems and strategies you’re already using can flex to meet this moment. Partnering with your organization as strategic, creative, and technical experts is our very reason for existence.
Where To Focus: Stabilizing Your Digital Platform
ThinkShout is investing deeply across four critical areas that all of our partners should prioritize at this time. As more services become digital-only (and perhaps in ways that are more permanent than initially thought), we need to be extra vigilant to ensure that content is accessible and designed for all audiences. If you don’t currently have a direct contact at ThinkShout, please reach out to learn more about how we’re expanding core offerings in:
- Accessibility: Now is a great time to ensure that your digital products are accessible to everyone. Auditing top content, analyzing your options, and building a phased roadmap are steps you can take today.
- Audiences: How are your products and content informed by human insights? New approaches to developing behavior-based personas can result in better outcomes organizationally and for the individuals you serve.
- Ecosystems: How do your digital platforms—audience-facing and administrative alike—serve your organization? Where are redundancies and otherwise inefficient systems hindering streamlined experiences for your users or efficient processes for your team? Are you considering new tools and need to evaluate how they fit into the full ecosystem?
- Full-Stack Content Strategy: When it comes to a platform that’s optimized for search and social, the little things are the big things. If you haven’t already, now is the time to audit and update your platform’s URL structures, metadata, keywords, and page titles for social and search.
Social distancing does not imply a lack of social connection. To the contrary, it makes the latter more essential than ever. People crave connection. A sense of belonging — and purpose. You can provide that to all of us as we sit, isolated, searching for meaning in the chaos and, most of all, a way to help. Let us know if we can help you make those connections that our society so urgently needs.