The dos and don’ts of COVID-19 messaging

In the midst of COVID-19, one thing is certain.

The people who care deeply about your organisation want to know how you’re genuinely affected by the crisis.

So tell them.

When thinking about your COVID-19 communications, there are a few important things to consider.

Here are the key dos and don’ts for your crisis response.

DON’T: Keep the same messaging

While it’s important not to overdo your crisis messaging, COVID-19 is top of mind for your audience.

Update your planned creative and messaging to fit the new context. Continuing your always-on communications ‘as is’ fails to address the elephant in the room.

People are aware of the magnitude of this crisis, and want to know how you are responding to it.

Make sure your messaging reflects this awareness.

DON’T: Fall down the hole of the COVID clutter

While it’s important to update your messaging, it’s equally important to speak directly to how your organisation is affected.

Don’t fall for the COVID clutter.

We’ve seen hundreds of businesses straining to keep relevant during the COVID-19 crisis through glossy communications and those emails.


Don't send generic COVID-19 emails


Most of these emails simply inform us that their team will be working from home, or that they are adapting to a changing context. As we all are. 

Before you send that generic COVID-19 response email, think about what your donors would be interested in. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How are our service recipients affected?
  • Is there an increased demand for our services?
  • Can we actually offer some good news in the negative news cycle?

Stand out from the crowd. What are you offering that is uniquely you?

(Psst… If you’re stuck on these questions, you can ask them directly to us via our live Q&A, 10am every weekday on our Instagram.)

DO: Communicate how your recipients are affected

Your audience is hearing hundreds of soundbites daily from the media and our government. How is your organisation responding to these areas?

The Smith Family put out a great response to the conversation around the move to homeschooling. 

With a quarter of their sponsored students without at-home internet access, they showed the increased need for their services as this crisis evolves.


The Smith Family's COVID-19 campaign

Source: The Smith Family Australia / Instagram. Inform donors how your recipients are affected.


While some organisations can naturally speak to the news cycle, for others, the impact isn’t as clear yet. If this is the case, speak to what would happen if your organisation stopped receiving funding.

What will happen to those you support?

Arts organisations like the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are being transparent in their need for funding during COVID-19.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra campaign

Source: The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Be transparent in how COVID-19 is affecting you.


DO: Prove your action through products

In this crisis, we need to get beyond just talk. Showing you’re responding in practical ways has never been more important.

One way to do this: build products around your response to COVID-19.

For example, Plan International Australia has launched an emergency fundraising appeal to provide hygiene kits to those in refugee camps.

Plan International Australia's campaign

Source: Plan International Australia. Where possible, build new products around COVID-19.


People want to help directly, so can you build a short-term giving product with built-in impact reporting?

It’s important to continue your marketing investment during this crisis, including building and adapting products.

DON’T: Panic

The key to navigating this crisis is to adapt, not withdraw.

Let your audiences know how you’re affected by COVID-19 and how they can help. And don’t forget your marketing basics.

If you’re unsure of where to begin, we’ve generated a free whitepaper on how NFPs can respond strategically to COVID-19.

About Us

Hi, we’re ntegrity, an award winning digital agency in Melbourne, Australia. We specialise in digital strategy, digital marketing, and training, and aim to operate as an extension of your team.

You can read more about our story and team or explore what we offer.

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