Giving Guide 2020

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W W W. M A I N E B I Z . B I Z 11 G I V I N G G U I D E 2 0 2 0 – 2 0 2 1 B Y M A R N I E G R U M B A C H B Y M A R N I E G R U M B A C H H OW TO T his was the year of the pivot. As leaders are adapting and finding innovative ways to cope with slashed budgets, reduced staff, declining reve- nues, increased demand for services or supplies and overwhelming feelings of unrest, they are also forced to examine how — and what — they communi- cate to the public. With all of these demands, communications may seem like a low priority. ink again. If the past year has taught us any- thing, it's that communications matter more now than ever before. Here are some ways you can you adapt your communications strategy. 1. Plan and prioritize Maybe you've been taking things day- by-day, but don't lose track of your long-term strategy while staying on top of short-term communications. ink about the past year. Were you too quick or too slow to communicate with your stakeholders as COVID was unfolding? Did your team feel prepared to write internal or public statements or address the media? Were you confident in the statements your leadership made (or didn't) about social issues? 2. Stay visible Now is not the time to go quiet. Engage with your colleagues, board members, volunteers and donors to stay top of mind, hold their attention and keep conversations going. ese are audiences that are already invested in your organization and share in your mission. Transparent communica- tion should be a top priority, even in the most chaotic of times, but don't say something just to say something. Does your messaging inform, bring value or communicate your organiza- tion's stance on important issues? 3. Be relevant In times of crisis, we look for the pil- lars in our communities to guide us. Your members, donors and friends view you as a trusted resource and support your organization for a rea- son. What need can you meet that people in your community are lacking or, better yet, asking for? For example, as COVID hit, Port- land Buy Local was quick to move into action. Within the first week of businesses closing, it joined forces with organizations across the country to outline clear proposals pertaining to small businesses, many of which were ultimately reflected in the CARES Act. Portland Buy Local became a vocal advocate for local businesses to be able to ship products (and generate needed revenue) during the shutdown. e organization also shared busi- ness resources, publicized a group for business owners to share ideas, set up virtual town hall events with speak- ers including U.S. Sen. Angus King and developed window infographics for businesses to easily communicate COVID practices with guests. 4. Think proactively You need to be ready to react as things change quickly, but that doesn't mean you can't be prepared for what might be ahead. Are trends beginning to emerge for the industries or people you serve? Can your organization serve as an expert to the media on a trending issue? Some well executed earned media efforts can go a long way toward increasing your visibility and reminding your audiences of your mission and values. 5. Embrace new channels of reaching your audience Make sure you're not losing opportuni- ties to be in front of your target audi- ence, which might look different than they have in the past. If in-person events have been your organization's bread and butter, you've likely realized by now that you need to switch things up. We've seen great success with innovative webinars, online conferences, and even virtual happy hours to network with support- ers. Consider who you're trying to reach, where you're likely to find them, and take inspiration from the virtual events that catch your attention as a consumer. Whether you're speaking up on big issues or positioning your organiza- tion's value in a new way, revisiting — and likely adapting — your communi- cations program now will help you be better prepared for your next commu- nications opportunity. M a r n i e G r u m b a c h i s t h e f o u n d e r o f F l u e n t I M C , a n i n t e g r a t e d m a r k e t i n g c o m m u n i c a t i o n s f i r m b a s e d i n We s t b r o o k . S h e c a n b e r ea ched at mar nie @ f luent Adapt your communications plan during times of change Whether the scale of your project is small or large, we have the products and experience to help you achieve your goals. We have over 150 years of helping Maine businesses grow and prosper. Call us at (207) 622-5801 and ask to speak to a commercial lender. Visit www.KennebecSavings.Bank to view a complete list of our commercial products. Visit to find an independent Maine agent near you. Business Property and Liability Insurance Products Cyber and Data Breach Liability Insurance Employment Practices Liability Insurance, EPLI & Equipment and Mechanical Breakdown I N S U R I N G M A I N E B U S I N E S S — I N S U R I N G M A I N E P E O P L E Innovative solutions for today's business challenges. We've been in business more than 140 years, and continue to innovate by providing you a portfolio that offers the kind of protection your business needs — today. GIVING GUIDE

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