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How the Anti-Defamation League Engages Their Audience in the Face Of Change

By April 2, 2020

Leading Through Change

By: Amy Aronoff Blumkin, VP Brand and Marketing, Anti-Defamation League

The coronavirus pandemic has changed day-to-day operations for nonprofits across the country. Here’s how The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is altering their marketing strategy to adapt.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a global leader in fighting antisemitism and hate, with a mission to protect and secure justice and fair treatment for all. Headquartered in New York, ADL has 25 regional offices supporting our mission with locally-focused programs, campaigns, and outreach. The unprecedented effects of a global pandemic have pushed questions about how we communicate and engage with each other into the forefront, requiring the role of marketing to adapt and evolve. Nonprofits are responding by leading the charge, and navigating extraordinary circumstances to build and maintain relationships with constituents. So how is The Anti-Defamation League adjusting our marketing and listening to our audience to ensure we are engaging in meaningful and beneficial ways?

Connect with Constituents on Their Preferred Channels

Now is the time to adjust to how your constituents are consuming information. We have an abundance of content to share, and must reach our audience on the platforms and channels with which they are interacting. ADL wants to provide consumers with material to read, audio they can listen to, and actions they can take from home. Our Center on Extremism has been creating and updating blog posts sharing critical information on radicalism and bigotry, for example, How the Coronavirus is elevating antisemitic and racist tropes.

We are focused on engaging with all of our audiences and striking the right tone on our social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. We’re making sure that our content continues to provide our audience with two things: information that they need to know about ADL’s work and tools they can use right now to stop hate. For example, Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO, recently co-authored an op-ed with entrepreneur and former presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, in the Washington Post, “Avoid Coronavirus Racism and Scapegoating”.

Create Content That Will Support and Engage

While ADL’s mission is not directly related to COVID-19 relief, we are seeing cultural shifts as a result of the virus, such as increased bigotry towards ethnic minorities, which is tied to our mission of fighting hate. We’ve taken steps to address the pandemic in the following ways:

  • A new ADL weekly webinar series: Fighting Hate from Home, addressing critical issues such as the rise of hate incidents and xenophobia as a result of the virus. We had 1,600 participants in the first week!
  • Giving old content new life by refreshing old assets and making sure they reach new audience members. We are updating our website and adapting content to emphasize its relevance to our current situation. ADL is also resharing important video content and pertinent reports.
  • There’s low hanging fruit out there, too! Get creative with how to spread your message. For example, all ADL email signature blocks are now focused on the work we are doing with Fighting Hate from Home.
ADL shares the message of no place for hate to audiences of all ages

Students at the 2017 No Place For Hate Ceremony in New York City. May 24, 2017 at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and NYU Kimmel Center.

Listen to Your Constituents

We are also listening to and learning from our constituents by analyzing our Marketing Cloud metrics, including open rates, what content is getting responses, and which audiences are signing up for opportunities like webinars and newsletters. Website analytics are key in our strategy to amplify and share content in which people are most interested. We are also asking for feedback directly by using post-webinar surveys asking: what more would you like to learn and what more can we do? Everyone is creating content right now around best practices, so we’re aggregating that information so that we can provide the best user engagement at this time.

Adapt Processes to Meet Constituents’ Needs Right Now

Now is the perfect time to bring your organization up to speed with segmentation. In order to communicate effectively, audiences must be segmented into many categories, including by interests, interactions, and region. When it comes to new people engaging with us digitally, we must keep in mind they may be less familiar with our mission and adjust our content accordingly as we take them on a journey with ADL. The effects of COVID-19 are changing things rapidly and thus, the information we share with our audiences is changing as well. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good — with this new territory comes the opportunity for experimentation. It’s a great time to try new things, test them, iterate, and improve.

Together We Can Make The Change

Together We Can Make The Change

Engaging In Uncertain Times

During this unprecedented time, ADL is committed to continued and supportive engagement with our constituents. From sharing our mission to providing tools for navigating antisemitism and hate, we are maximizing our reach by meeting people on the channels with which they are engaging. With COVID-19 comes many unknowns, but we are utilizing this unique time to identify new ways to connect with our audience and encourage justice and fair treatment for all.

To learn more about running your mission during the COVID-19 outbreak and tackling issues such as fundraising challenges, unprecedented management, and safety of client-facing staff, please view our webinar HERE.

About the Author

Amy Aronoff Blumkin

Amy Aronoff Blumkin

As Vice President of Brand and Marketing, Amy Aronoff Blumkin is responsible for bringing the brand to life through impactful materials, campaigns and events. Her team delivers on this role by creating integrated marketing plans, being collaborative internal partners to tell the story of the benefits of a strong ADL, and increasingly focusing on a deep, data-driven understanding of ADL donors and prospects. Amy joined ADL early in 2017, after senior marketing roles with American Express, The Walt Disney Company and the Super Bowl, where she was CMO of the Host Committee for the first ever outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl hosted in the nation. She also served as the CMO of Lowenstein Sandler, a national law firm. In between her full time roles, while raising a family, Amy was a freelance marketing and leadership consultant, working with both for-profit and nonprofit clients. Amy earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont and holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School.