Zooming for fun and for charitable causes

Zooming has become a word, like googling before.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic and resulting government-mandated on-site protective orders, so many Zoom meetings are being conducted that it’s a wonder the system is holding up.

Zoom meetings can be fun for the family and boost employee morale, but they’re also emerging as important connection points, especially for nonprofits looking to nurture relationships with supportive members. With the social context we live in — the new normal — changing by the hour, predicting more online meetings is a safe bet.

For an indefinite period, nonprofit development workers are unable to travel and the economy is slowing, making Zoom meetings a good way to manage relationships. Consequently, we all learn as we go.

With that in mind, here are some recommendations to make your nonprofit Zoom meetings (or similar online meeting software like Skype, GoToMeeting) profitable:

1) Develop a six-month digital-based plan for each segment of your donor base, as opposed to a travel-based plan. This may be determined by donation amounts, age, or any other designation meaningful to your nonprofit’s mission.

2) Give each of these initiatives a title and outline an approach or journey, a number of meetings (avoiding donor fatigue), talking points and value-added contributions that empower donors, and then base the number of meetings on what works best to keep them informed, enthusiastic and engaged.

3) Create a template for your invitation, reminder, and follow-up emails, a professional look and feel that showcases the nonprofit organization at its best.

4) Recognize that donors are also learning online meeting software, so make joining the meeting as easy as possible, probably don’t use passwords unless absolutely necessary for security reasons.

5) Script the meeting, ie don’t hype it. Identify the topic, presentation points, desired outcomes, action steps, and how long the meeting will last—shorter is generally better.

6) Check lighting beforehand. Better lighting improves your professional image and impact. Lighting—what lighting engineers call key (directly on speaker), hair (top), and fill (side) lighting—makes the difference between a meeting that looks like it’s happening in a studio and one that feels like it’s as if it were taking place a tunnel.

7) Check sound beforehand. Almost always use an external microphone

gives a fuller, fuller sound and reduces echoes.

8) Determine what background you would like to share behind the speakers of the host and/or panelists. Is it virtual or do you need to set up a green screen? Does your background overwhelm the speaker? The background could be a nonprofit organization’s logo if that’s not distracting in any way, or it could be a map or other image relevant to your mission.

9) If your WiFi might become unstable, use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router. This helps reduce lag and interruptions.

10) Decide if recording the meeting is necessary and appropriate, and if you are recording, decide that you must notify attendees at the beginning of the meeting.

11) Once your donors join the call, direct them to the top right corner of

their screen and suggest they click Speaker View so they can focus on the presenter and reduce distractions from others. And tell them about the chat button below and how you can use it to ask questions.

12) Say hello to your guests, thank them for their time, tell them if this suits you

– that they are muted to avoid unintentional noises from coughs, children, pets, etc.

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Well-presented Zoom meetings can have just as big an impact, if not more than face-to-face meetings. Prepare and practice. Run your Zoom meeting like the Oscars.

© dr Rex M. Rogers – All rights reserved, 2020

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