YMCAs during the COVID-19 outbreak should do all of the great things they’re known for and what they do best: continue to care for people. They’ll take a new outlook that will be different than what we are accustomed to as staff members and volunteers continue to work every day, as members and constituents engage with the organization for various different services and activities.
The well-being of you, your family, staff, staff’s families, your volunteers, donors, program participants, and their families must be the number one priority.
How do we do this?
- Continue to take care of yourself and loved ones. Keeping your health is more important now than ever. The YMCA knows this better than any organization throughout the world.
- Continue to keep a pulse on your mental health and prioritize keeping your spirit up.
- Continue to exercise. Move around your home, go on social distancing walks, and do home workouts.
- Communicate through social distancing and technology. Let your staff, members, volunteers, donors, business and community/area partners know how much they matter in allowing the YMCA to provide social, faith, responsibility, care and respect through their mission.
- Have a clear message how the YMCA’s impactful work equals action.
- Then engage staff, volunteers, and members to convey the clear messaging.
- This can be done simply by calling people.
- But also continue to mail hand printed or written notes.
- Stay connected with your monthly donors and members that donate and/or pay dues via EFT. I would connect with these individuals first. For many organizations this group is your lifeline.
- Send videos and/or pictures of staff and volunteers working from home or their offices. Donors and members will appreciate being able to see that their membership dues and contributing dollars are being spent wisely. Share the videos through digital communications, like your website, social media channels, and email newsletters to your donors and members.
- By doing this you are allowing people to enter into some normalcy and daily routine.
- Continuing to work and/or volunteer is a great thing. You can give back to society in a positive fashion and keep busy during these uncertain times.
- Create a master calendar of all the changes and tentative rescheduling of events and programs you’ve had to make. I realize this can change weekly, daily and even by the hour as we have seen recently.
- With spring events and some early summer special events being canceled, many organizations are hosting “pay to not attend” events. Make sure to include a personalized note for how their ongoing support will transform the mission work of your organization.
- Conduct staff meetings virtually to continue to stay aligned.
- Rethink your annual shutdown weeks in the summer. Many YMCAs close in August for a week or a few days to do “deep cleaning.” It might not be wise this year to close another week in August. Can the local YMCA team look at doing this “deep cleaning” maintenance week (provided they’re still following government guidelines) during this time of closure? This again shows the donors and members that the staff is working to keep the YMCA moving forward. This could create some part-time jobs and hours for part-time staff that have been displaced in teaching classes, or working at the front desk or as a lifeguard.
- Continue to think outside the box.
- Continue to say “thank-you” and ask donors and members how we can service them in this time of need.
Together great things do happen and we will all be stronger and learn new skills through the COVID-19 outbreak and new normal that we are experiencing.
What has your YMCA done to communicate to members and supporters during this crisis? Let me know in the comments below!