Non profits, voluntary sector organisations and social enterprises could be using available technology better, possibly in ways they haven’t tried before.
So it snows, and you have to cancel the seasonal market for which you’ve been preparing for the last few weeks, or even months. There are so many disappointed people – you, the organiser, your staff, your stallholders, their potential customers.
You and your staff have allocated time and resources, stallholders have prepared and/or refreshed products and services, customers were expecting to see and probably buy something new.
A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE?
Before completely abandoning the market, maybe there’s a viable alternative to cancelling it. Stallholders will have prepared products and services for sale, and many of them will have been planning to offer customers some special offers or discounts.
What about creating and organising an online virtual market on your website, or other shared platform, offering at least some of the above?
A ‘VIRTUAL’ MARKET
This ‘virtual’ market could start whenever the actual market was due to start, and run up to whenever the season ends. You could use posts in your social media channels and have a catchy unique hashtag, which both stallholders and customers can re-use and cross-post.
Stallholders could submit some copy/video about their products/services for you to use (reasonable quality video can now be done on a smartphone) – they can make whatever they were planning to have had/sold/displayed at the actual market look as good as they can make it.
What are the potential benefits that could happen with a ‘virtual’ market? You and staff could get to use the allocated time and resources in a slightly different and creative way, stallholders could still show off their products and services, and customers, maybe even more than would have turned up in person, could still see and possibly buy something, and they might also recommend the market to their contacts – bonus marketing!
ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?
We know that not every organisation is set up for adapting to a situation like this. We know that not every organisation can yet take payment online or over the phone. We also know many smaller organisations don’t have a website, Facebook page or other online presence. These cases illustrate what we, for some time, in our business RnR Organisation, have been saying needs to be happening in our sector.
Non profits, voluntary sector organisations and social enterprises need to be using available technology, possibly in ways they haven’t tried before. A lack of digital skills and no organisational culture to use technology in our organisations and businesses can obviously be overcome, but, in this case, having an online presence where they can display, promote and sell their wares will have given your stallholders a proven competitive advantage over those who didn’t have one.
We want to encourage organisers to consider running virtual events online when opportunities like this arise, possibly having it as a Plan B when they start planning any future markets or similar events.
NEED SOME PRACTICAL HELP?
We hope this post also encourages those in our sector without an online presence to think about why that is, and how they can plan to address that.
We’re here if you want to talk to us about practical ways of doing something about it.