Where I live in DC, we just got the largest snowfall in 90 years, and now we’re preparing for another blizzard that could drop an additional ten inches.  Most news coverage talks about all the negative impacts of the blizzard, but flip that coin over and you can use it to engage your audience.  If you work for a school or nonprofit and you have valuable equipment stored outside, take photographs or videos and share them online via your Facebook or Flickr profile.  If you work for a nonprofit that helps low-income people or the homeless, send an emergency announcement to your supporters letting them know that the weather has increased the need of the people you serve.  If the blizzard damaged the grounds of your school’s campus, use Facebook to ask your students and alums to submit their own photographs of the damage by uploading them online.

If you run a consumer business, evaluate how much productivity you would have saved if your staff had been better prepared to work from home.  (Maybe you can use this as an opportunity to jump-start a year-long telework program that may make your workforce happier and more productive.)

Opportunities are everywhere.  If you’re a photographer or videographer, go out and take pictures and gather footage.  This snowfall is the largest accumulation in 90 years, and the photos you take today could be stock photography for the next 90 years.

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web 2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  Email him at