Tips for planning a successful virtual fundraiser

Tips for planning a successful virtual fundraiser

2020 has upended how we do almost everything. One major impact has been on how nonprofit organizations raise funds. In-person fundraising events such as galas, 5Ks and other socially-oriented events are no longer possible.

Greenough Brand Storytellers has been advising its clients on how best to shift fundraising events to virtual gatherings or socially distant meetups. Below are a few best practices that nonprofit organizations can use as they consider their fundraising events for 2020.

Suggestions for a successful virtual fundraiser: 

  1. Make it authentic: Try to stay as true as possible to the theme and vibe of the actual event as you can in the virtual event. 
  2. Break traditions if it doesn’t serve your goal: If you’ve done something in the in-person event because that is the tradition, but it doesn’t feel right for the virtual version, don’t stay married to it. 
  3. Innovate: Per #2, if there is a way to make something better, do it! 
  4. Test everything: Trying out a new idea? Test it among a focus group. Using new technology? Test it again and again until you know it works. 
  5. Keep it succinct: Our digital attention span is very short, so introductions, speeches and transitions should be concise. 
  6. Reach for a speaker: Because speakers no longer have to travel for events and because of the state of the world, many “celebrity” speakers are more willing to participate in local events. 
  7. Air it live: If possible, the best events are those that are live and not fully prerecorded (although pre-recorded elements are welcome) 
  8. Make it interactive: For example, give an on-screen shout out to all participants. Knowing that there are people around the world tuning in to this event, acknowledge everyone on screen collectively by opening up the zoom portal for everyone to see who is on briefly (~30 seconds). Additionally, having a chat function or hosting intermittent survey questions is a nice way to keep people engaged.
  9. Send gifts to participants: Just as they would for an in-person event, mail gifts to each participant’s home so that there is a common connection and a positive feeling felt toward the organization.
  10. Have a robust social media strategy leading up to the virtual event: The most successful virtual events leverage the power of social media in the weeks leading up to the event to create a call-to-action and support the organization. Encourage participants to post their viewing parties and tag the organization and use a special hashtag. 
  11. Create a call to action: The event should end on a positive note with a call-to-action for all participants to support the organization. 
  12. Focus: Do not try to do too much. Keep your event focused by limiting speakers. Stay on message and tie back to your organization’s mission and the goal at hand.
  13. Make it memorable: With so many events now virtual, think about what you can do to make your event memorable and stand out from all the others?


See how we can help your organization!

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 07/22/20

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 07/22/20

The COVID-19 pandemic is underscoring the value of technology and digital capabilities in healthcare. While the virus is causing unprecedented devastation and disruption, it is also fueling rapid advancements in healthcare technology that are likely to have a lasting and positive impact on care delivery.

Becker’s Hospital Review rounded up some of the new predictive analytics tools that hospitals have developed to forecast COVID-19 cases and plan resources accordingly. Notably, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia developed a platform that utilizes temperature and humidity data from 389 U.S. counties experiencing some level of COVID-19 activity to predict the severity of future surges.

Virtual care has also exploded over the last several months with survey data indicating it is here to stay. A CVS Health survey data from 1,000 people showed 48% were more likely to connect with a provider if the conversation was through digital messaging, 32% were more likely to communicate through telehealth and 30% were willing to use a virtual office visit.

Many patients adopted virtual care during the pandemic out of necessity but now it’s clear they want those services to stick around after the health crisis is over. An Accenture survey shed light on what patients like about communicating with their doctors digitally. Many noted that virtual care was more personal, more convenient and timelier.

Lastly, hospitals have traditionally relied on human clinicians to assign patients to beds and make decisions about when to send them home or back to the hospital. Now, with COVID-19 elevating the need to keep patients out of the hospital who don’t need to be there, providers are turning to Artificial Intelligence (AI) for support. STAT explored how the technology is helping them plan discharges and assess readmissions risk.



Medtech stories you may have missed – 07/16

Medtech stories you may have missed – 07/16

Lending a (robotic) helping hand during the COVID-19 crisis

Until there is a vaccine available, robots currently feature one critical characteristic that humans do not: immunity to the coronavirus. Therefore, robots are well-suited to go places where humans cannot and interact in ways that limit exposure to the virus. From disinfecting hospital rooms and bathrooms to early detection of COVID-19 symptoms and preventing loneliness during isolation, robots are offering a critical helping hand during the COVID-19 crisis.

On the frontlines

Robots are best suited for jobs that are too dirty, dull or dangerous for humans. The coronavirus is the perfect example of a job too dangerous. Enter Violet, one of the many robots deployed to be on the hospital frontlines, but unique in that it is equipped with a UV-C light that is a powerful disinfectant in hospital settings and known to be a coronavirus-killer. Its creator, Akara Robotics, is now focused on making Violet compact enough to fit in hard-to-clean areas, such as bathrooms and waiting areas. UV cleaning robots are in high demand. Other robotics firms, such as Xenex, say their sales of UV cleaning robots are up 600% compared to 2019.

Early symptom detection

Vayyar Imaging, an Israeli-based provider of 4D imaging sensor technology, is developing an intelligent care robot that can detect early symptoms of COVID-19 in under 10 seconds. As the economy reopens, the robot will be critical to restoring confidence in venturing out, as it can be equipped in any public space, such as supermarket entrances and airports.

 A cure for loneliness

In the midst of the pandemic, children and the elderly have been isolated at hospitals with limited visitation and interaction. Starting this month, a robot companion named Robin will make the rounds to ease hospitalized children’s distress, isolation and fear. It is the first robot of its kind that uses peer-to-peer interaction to help children overcome stress and anxiety. The technology analyzes facial expressions and the context of conversations, meaning it can react naturally to situations and interactions with children. In a study done by Expper Technologies, the creator of Robin, children reported a 26% increase in joy and 34% reduction in stress due to Robin’s companionship.

Isolation from the pandemic has also had a major impact on the elderly community, which has seen a spike in mental health issues and depression. This is where Stevie, also from Akara Robotics, comes in. The robot’s primary role is to alleviate loneliness and is programmed to tell stories, lead sing-alongs and build morale in group care settings.

Pediatric devices in development

Although COVID-19 has largely spared the pediatric population, it remains a serious threat, particularly as daycares, camps and schools begin to reopen. To address pediatric-specific concerns in monitoring the virus, the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation has launched a special competition focused on COVID-19-related innovation in the pediatric space. Companies such as Adipomics, MediChain and OxiWear will compete for FDA-funded grants to support medical device innovations to diagnose, monitor and treat the virus. 

Ben Godley Named President of Greenough

Ben Godley Named President of Greenough

BOSTON – July 16, 2020 – Greenough Communications, a leading independent marketing and PR firm, today announced that Ben Godley has joined the company as President.  Godley brings more than 30 years of executive management and marketing experience to the newly created role to help support Greenough’s growing portfolio of national clients in the healthcare, life sciences, technology, professional services, consumer and non-profit sectors.

Godley was previously the CEO and co-founder of CDP, a WGBH-owned public benefit corporation providing marketing, technology, data analytics and fundraising services to 230 public media stations and managing $110M in annual donations. For ten years prior, Godley was the COO of WGBH, the country’s largest public television content producer.

“I’ve known Ben well as a client and former colleague and I am thrilled to bring his experience and skills in business strategy, brand-building, service innovation and problem solving to our roster of leading clients,” said Phil Greenough, founder and CEO of Greenough Communications.  “Ben will help us grow the agency and deepen our value to the clients who entrust us as storytellers and stewards of their brands.”

“I’m delighted to work again with Phil and his incredibly talented team in helping a diverse set of powerhouse clients achieve ambitious outcomes,” said Godley.  “Returning to my roots in public relations, corporate strategy and marketing counsel has been a goal for some time and joining Greenough was the ideal environment.”

During his 10 years as COO of WGBH, Godley was responsible for corporate strategy and day-to-day operational management of the $240M, 900 employee educational non-profit.  Under his leadership, WGBH increased its operating revenue and endowment to record levels and created new initiatives and businesses to strengthen the company and overall public media system.  As COO, Godley oversaw WGBH’s regional television, radio and digital services and led the investment and significant expansion of their local newsroom and broadcast journalism services.

He joined WGBH in 2008 as Executive Vice President, was named COO in 2010 and was additionally named President of Business Services in 2017. Godley led the organization’s participation in the 2017 FCC spectrum auction and negotiated a local channel sharing partnership with a national broadcast network.  These activities resulted in nearly $300M in new capital to the WGBH endowment.  He oversaw the acquisition of radio station WCRB, initiated partnerships such as a model outsourcing alliance with New Hampshire PBS, a corporate affiliation with PRI and PRX, and the acquisition of GlobalPost.  Godley also extended WGBH’s community presence by negotiating a first-ever broadcast facility inside the Boston Public Library.

Prior to joining WGBH, Godley served as Senior Advisor and Deputy National Finance Director with Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign and on the senior staff of the governor as the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Commonwealth.  He was co-founder and CEO of the award-winning agency CGN Marketing & Creative Services (Cohn Godley Norwood), later sold to Epsilon.

Godley has served in a variety of capacities on several boards including the Massachusetts Children’s Trust, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boston Medical Center, roundCorner and RadioPublic.  He currently serves on the board of Rand Capital Corporation (Nasdaq: RAND).

Life as a Co-Op at Greenough Brand Storytellers

Life as a Co-Op at Greenough Brand Storytellers

By: Christie Macomber, Northeastern

My time as a co-op at Greenough Brand Storytellers is something that I will always value, both for the working experience I gained and for the people I met. Even under unconventional circumstances, as COVID-19 forced the office into remote work, the connection I felt to the team never wavered. 

Greenough serves a wide range of clients, primarily in the healthcare and technology sectors. While these industries were initially foreign to me, the immersive nature of the job meant I quickly became familiar with new terminologies and learned a lot about them through the perspectives of our clients. 

At Greenough, there is no typical day — priorities and tasks are constantly changing as the needs of clients and reporters evolve. I can attest that this makes for a great learning environment. During my time at Greenough I was fortunate to get a feel for a little bit of everything. My responsibilities included many routine tasks like scanning the news, compiling media coverage reports and taking notes on client calls, as well as supporting larger projects and agency business development. As a political science student at Northeastern University, I sought a position with a strong writing component. Greenough delivered, as I soon took on media pitching, crafting social media content and producing blog posts for clients. I was excited by the opportunity to work directly with media contacts and was successful in building several working relationships over time.   

My role as co-op at Greenough was also hands-on and fast-paced. Unlike previous co-op experiences, I was never treated like a traditional “intern,” and I was never made to feel like I wasn’t capable of producing the work of a full-time employee. This was instrumental in my growth, both professionally and personally. While the environment initially pushed me out of my comfort zone, it taught me a lot about effective time management, prioritizing deadlines, and multitasking that I’ll leverage in future roles.

I valued how hugely inspirational my coworkers were. Everyone who works at Greenough is very dedicated and hard-working, which speaks to the investment of the agency in both its people and in meeting the needs of its clients. My coworkers were extremely helpful, patient and compassionate. They encouraged questions and were always willing to sit down and talk through a challenge, while also encouraging me to problem-solve independently. 

There is a great sense of camaraderie at Greenough because everyone is aligned in achieving the common goal of delighting clients. This sense of unity also translates into the social elements of the office — with a relatively small staff, the team is very close knit. Weekly activities like Friday happy hour with fun themes or games encouraged socializing, as well as a well-deserved break from what was sometimes a hectic week. These activities also fostered a caring working environment, making me feel like I could reach out to any one of my coworkers if I had a problem and they would be willing to help me. This connection extended into remote work as well, making me feel incredibly supported, even from home, and demonstrated just how much Greenough values the co-op position.

With graduation around the corner, this co-op experience was invaluable in helping me acclimate to a professional working environment and hone new skills in communication and strategic thinking that will serve me well in the future. I’m incredibly grateful for my time at Greenough, and I would recommend this co-op to anyone looking to have an immersive and rewarding PR agency experience.