A Case for Nonprofit Communication During the Pandemic and Beyond

THE CLIENT: Nonprofit organization that provides substance abuse prevention programs and resources to at-risk populations

TARGET AUDIENCE: Older adults at risk for medication misuse.

CHALLENGE: A nonprofit agency that focuses on education and prevention of alcohol and drug misuse and abuse throughout Bergen and Passaic counties was faced, like so many others, with how to reach its clientele during the COVID-19 lockdown. Since all in-person programs were suspended, the organization had to devise ways to stay connected to its program participants, who benefit from the access to resources to remain healthy and safe, and avoid substance-related harm.

Some programs for children and families were brought online via Zoom with relative ease; the agency then turned its attention to its pain management program for seniors, who could be at risk for opioid misuse as well as other personal issues related to the pandemic. With older adults, the challenges were two-fold: access to technology and understanding how to use it.

To supplement its online programming for seniors and retain engagement, the client wanted to create something immediately to continue its work that did not require technology.

STRATEGY: The agency approached Rapunzel Creative to create both a digital and a printed monthly newsletter which focuses on pain management, with additional articles related to senior health and wellness as well as puzzles and games to keep readers engaged.

The digital newsletter began in June (shared via email, on the organization’s website, and through social media).

The print newsletter, which began in July, quickly became a vital piece of print communication. It is distributed by hand delivery to various sites such as senior congregate housing locations, municipalities, and senior-service agencies. The newsletter features easy-to-read 14pt type, color images with a mix of informative and fun content. The client has decided to continue the print editions into 2021 due to their success.

RESULTS: The print newsletter has become a cost-effective way to share the educational information and an efficient channel for reaching the senior population. In fact:

  • Nearly all (95%) of older adults who participate in the nonprofit’s programs have subscribed to the newsletter.
  • Print subscription requests also came from friends and neighbors of program participants, and seniors’ family members or caregivers who found out about the newsletter through social media or word of mouth.
  • In July 2020, 1200 copies were printed and distributed at eight locations or senior-serving agencies; in October, that increased to 1800 copies to 17 different locations. There are now about 1400 print newsletters distributed throughout Bergen and Passaic counties.
  • In fiscal year 2019 (Oct. 1, 2018 – Sept. 30, 2019) the agency served 1169 older adults, caregivers and health care professionals through its in-person programs for the entire year. It is now serving several hundred more a month through the newsletter and its online programs.
  • To better serve area residents, the newsletter is translated into Spanish with print copies of the Spanish version also delivered in the catchment area.

After the first newsletter came out, the client reported that, “We received feedback that the image, colors, and font size were eye-catching, and they liked all the different types of things in the newsletter. Even older adults who are not registered in our programs are reaching out to us to subscribe to it!”

At Rapunzel Creative, we are passionate about marketing nonprofit agencies, charitable foundations and community organizations. Schedule a complimentary marketing assessment with our team today!