Spokes would like to thank Leslie Jones, Spokes Consultant and promotional marketing consultant for guest-writing this article.
When a local natural disaster, school-related emergency, environmental or health crisis unexpectedly occurs, is your nonprofit ready to be the “voice of expertise” when the media and community start calling? Do you have an effective, written plan in place that can quickly be implemented? Are you prepared to be a reliable source of information?
Delving deeper into our ongoing disaster preparedness theme, we offer a summary of key steps for your nonprofit to build a “community-in-crisis” communications strategy plan.
- Choose a primary spokesperson and a reliable support team. Your team can include staff, board members, volunteers, and community members. Explain the individual and collective roles.
- Ensure that everyone on that team needs to share the same outgoing message. It’s helpful to utilize these questions: Who needs to know? What do they need to know? When do they need to know?
- Prepare current educational fact sheets and statistics to easily share when a crisis occurs. Remember to keep it tightly focused and relevant to your nonprofit’s field of expertise. At the time of the event, you can add relevant information.
- Keep website and social media pages updated with changes in services/operations.
- Reconnect with your entire team after the crisis has passed. Brainstorm and openly discuss successes, needed improvements, and challenges.
- Revise your written action plan based on that follow-up meeting and update all necessary media materials.
For a helpful media strategy checklist from nonprofitrisk.org, click here.
By preparing now for an unanticipated crisis, your nonprofit creates an opportunity to receive heightened, credible coverage. Most importantly, your nonprofit is able to effectively support and assist your community when it needs you the most. That is a true success story!