computer with icons up

Strengthen Your Digital Mobilization in the Time of Coronavirus

All public, and hopefully most private, events have been canceled, Clorox wipes and Purell are not to be had for love or money, and you’ve become super aware of how much you actually do touch your face. We’re all trying to figure out how to work from home without losing our minds.

Speaking of work—it hasn’t stopped just because our situation has changed. There’s still a lot we’re trying to accomplish this year; we just have to figure out how to do it in some wildly uncharted territory. 

If your organization typically relies on in-person events and one on one communications to deliver information, inspire action, and drive advocacy, these next few weeks may be extra challenging. 

We’ve put together some thoughts, ideas, and tips to help you start to pivot toward a digital-first mobilization strategy in the time of coronavirus—and equip your teams to keep running:

Getting Organized

1. Be aware of where your internal people are: mentally, geographically, and digitally. Who do you need to communicate with? How are they feeling? Where are they geographically? What social media platforms do they use?

Idea: Send out a simple survey and ask your list how they’re doing, which social media platforms they use, and what questions they have for you and your team. This will give you valuable information and let them know you’re thinking of them and considering their needs, reiterating to them we will get through this together. 

2. Make a spreadsheet of your normal communications (meetings, briefings, volunteer calls, planned events) and audience groups (staff, volunteer leaders, event leads, etc.). 

This could be as simple as setting up a shared Google doc that you ask your team leads to fill out. 

Communications Table

In this doc, you’ll want to capture at least five pieces of information for each group: 

    • Audience (and the number of people): Who, generally, is in this group and how many of them are there?
    • Event Description: What is this event?
    • Purpose: What is the purpose of this event?
    • Normal Method: How do you usually do this?
    • Requirements: What do people need to be able to accomplish?

Finding and Filling the Gaps

3. Now that you know what your needs are, it’s time to inventory the spaces you already have for people to connect online.

Here, it’s helpful to think functionally: What tools do you have for public communications? What about group communications? Text (like WhatsApp groups)? Video chats? 

4. Thinking through the next step, how could your planned in-person events be done using digital? How might you create stronger communications between your various audiences in this time of social distancing, for example moving from phone to video chat for digital face time? What could you add to your usual repertoire to enhance engagement and connectivity?

5. Create resourcing sheets for your various audiences. Remember, not everyone is comfortable with digital platforms, and you want to fully equip everyone to continue doing their work or taking action with you.

Your resourcing sheets should equip your audiences with all of the information and directions they’ll need in order to stay connected online. An easy way to create this type of document is via Google Slides or PowerPoint, then exporting it and sharing it as a PDF.

Your resourcing sheets should include:

    • Calendar of events/meetings
    • Links!
    • Instructions for joining/using each platform

Digital Mobilization Activation

6. Publish your resourcing sheets and send them to your audiences. Make sure everyone has a point of contact (POC) for any questions, and tell them how you’d like them to submit questions – like a Facebook Group, via email or on Twitter.

You’ll want to establish internal owners, those POCs, to make sure questions get answered quickly and nothing falls through the cracks. Make sure everyone knows who is responsible for what, and that your POCs are resourced properly. 

7. Consider starting action groups and collaboration spaces.

Public action groups: Consider starting a “digital action” group for your organization. This could be an action that you invite folks from across your movement to join, and you could provide them with a consistent flow of content and messaging to mobilize their online networks using social media. You may already have some of these based on campaigns you’ve run, but more folks may be interested in joining now that in-person or other types of actions are no longer available. Think about bringing your people together from across various movement sections and coming into a more holistic digital community.

Internal Leaders/POCs groups: You’ll want to make sure your people are equipped to lead their teams and projects well. Consider creating shared collaboration groups to make sure your staff and your volunteer leaders have what they need to lead, cut down on duplicate work, and crowdsource questions that are coming in.

None of this is rocket science, but in times of crisis, it’s wise to get the basics taken care of first. We’ll get through this together. We’re here to help you think through digitizing your mobilization efforts, so please don’t hesitate to reach out and book some time to brainstorm.