How Your Nonprofit can Avoid the “Inevitable” Oops

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by Julia-Kaye Rohlf

The Chronicle of Philanthropy released an article last month on a professional nonprofit organization having the awkward moment which every individual knows only too well. Admit it, you have hit “reply all” to a message that was only meant for one or two people. DoSomething did just that, and their message meant for 4,000 who where participants of a donation drive went to their entire contact list of over two million.

Now DoSomething’s handling of the mishap was handled well and is a good technique to consider if you ever find your organization in this position. But let’s take a look at some tips to help eliminate errors like this in your organization’s future.

Wether you are sending emails, text messages, or group social media messages these tips can help you to make sure you are sending them to the intended audience each time.

Create Groups: This is probably the most sure fire way to help with this issue. Simply create a group (title it anything you would like), put all desired contacts in that group, and when you need to send a message to those people all you have to do is click on that group! Say goodbye to the olden days where you needed to turn butter and click each individual name! (also you can have the same contact in multiple groups)

Attach Pictures: More of a visual person? After hours at the office or on your home computer all words start to blur together to make alphabet soup on your screen. This tip is similar to the “group” section above (and can even be added to it). Simply choose an image (picture or icon) that you want to see when you are looking at certain contacts. This way when you are scrolling through the endless list of names and words your eyes will easily recognize the image instead of having to see the difference between Sarah P. and Sara P.

“Delay Send”: Some email servers allow you to opt into a setting where you can delay send. This way even after you hit the “send” button, you have a little accident prevention time to double check that everything is as planned. If not, simply hit “undo” or “cancel send”.

Take a Pause & Double Check: It sounds simple, because it is simple. We are only human, and we have all procrastinated on things and then stayed up until 2 a.m. finishing it. Of course you just want to send your donors their quick thank you message, but double check everything before you do. Nothing is more awkward than adding someone in a thank you that gave nothing, or (even worse) not thanking someone who did donate.

Start implementing these tips in your nonprofit’s communication systems today to avoid the “inevitable” oops of digital communication. They can save time and embarrassment!

About the Author: Julia-Kaye is an undergraduate at the University of Iowa studying English, mass communications, and theatre.  She hopes to work in the media business to help alter the way women are depicted.

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