COVID-19 has changed work for everyone. Front line workers are working harder than ever and are always at risk. Some started working from home while others were unfortunately laid off. The world of association management and my role as a graphic designer quickly pivoted as well.
Since I already work remotely, my daily routines did not change much at all. However, my scope of duties and work routines for each association I work with changed drastically almost overnight. All of a sudden, associations required regular updates on government policies, news and information about their professions, events, and trade shows. Meanwhile, public information is constantly changing and being updated.
Normally, there is time to figure out how you want to explain or send an announcement to association members. Some delay in sending an e-blast would not normally affect the content of the message, but as we have all been finding out lately, a few days makes a big difference and information can even change drastically over a few hours.
One day, kids are home from school for three weeks. The next, they are home from school for the rest of the school year. One day, people have stable and meaningful jobs. The next, businesses must close their doors and lay off workers. One day, deciding early whether or not to cancel or postpone an event is proactive. The next, regulations force you to cancel.
The need to get updates out quickly and accurately has been top of the list of projects the past few weeks. As a designer, I am usually the last cog in the wheel. I get a completed word document and need to send it as an e-blast, website post, or PDF.
A few things can help this process.
- Preparation: Notify everyone involved that you will send an update soon. Include the method of distribution. This may seem like an obvious step, but it can let everyone in the process prepare so when they get the document, they start on it right away.
- Put a date on it: Information changes so quickly. Presenting a date can make sure people are not seeing old information.
- Proof, proof, proof: With everyone working faster than usual, there is a higher chance for someone to make a mistake
Note: I received a campaign from an organization that was supposed to be a catalogue of resources for working from home; none of the links worked. All the links were connected to PDF’s that were on an internal server, so none of the links worked once it went online. I emailed them about it, and they said all the links work when they tested it. These are the small things that can slip by when you’re in a rush that will have a big impact on your communications.
A previous article of mine discusses using templates and styles sheets to make quick changes to documents. This will help you optimize all of your documents.
You are about to put an update on your association or event website, and you suddenly realize you don’t have a place for it. You may not have needed a news section on your association’s website in the past or may have difficulty figuring out how and where to post COVID-19 updates. Posting a block of text on your homepage may be a quick fix. However, given the uncertainty, I would recommend creating a legitimate COVID-19 resources/information page
Many of the association clients that we manage now have pages for COVID-19 updates. Give this page a simple name such as “yourcompany.com/covid-19-updates”. Show a large link on your homepage that will link to it. You can link to this page directly in eblasts or other messaging. If your association has also recently started hosting online events, webinars, and/or social nights, I would also recommend creating a page to post recordings of these virtual events.
By creating useful and necessary web pages, member engagement and satisfaction will increase, and your website traffic will increase. It is a win-win situation when graphic and web designers use their skills to share information with association members.
Utilize these quick tips and tricks to keep associations afloat during these trying times. Those who are now taking the extra steps to create and distribute content will be remembered when this is all over.