An Introduction to Crisis Management for Nonprofits

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Brian Goldthorpe, President of Privileged Communication, will discuss the importance of Crisis Management and Communication for Non-Profit Professionals. Brian defines a crisis as any situation that threatens a non profit's reputation, or that may disrupt an organization's ability to carry out its mission. Non profit crises may originate from a variety of causes - from fiscal emergencies and legal woes, to leadership problems and staffing struggles. Though the origins and response strategy vary from crisis to crisis, the importance of effectively managing these situations remains constant, playing a large role in whether the organization is successful over time.

Learning objectives:

1. Create a shared understanding of the importance of effective and efficient Crisis Management and Communication for non-profit organizations and professionals.

2. Educate participants about the key components of a crisis response, including general messaging, internal communication, media relations and social media.

3. Offer any participants in the webinar a free 60-minute crisis management consultation with Brian via Skype or phone to be scheduled at their convenience. Email Brian at brian.goldthorpe@secureyourrep.com or call 267-973-0619 to coordinate scheduling.

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An Introduction to Crisis Management for Nonprofits

  1. 1. An  Introduction  to  
 Crisis  Management   ! Insights  for  Nonprofit  Organizations   ! 4/10/14   1pm  EST
  2. 2. Your  Presenter Brian  Goldthorpe   President,  Privileged  Communication   www.secureyourrep.com   ! With  over  ten  years  of  professional   experience  in  strategic  communication,   public  relations,  organizational   communication  and  crisis  management,   Brian  has  a  broad  base  of  experience  and   relationships  that  he  applies  to  benefit   every  client.  He  previously  served  as  the   statewide  Public  Policy  Director  for  the   Pennsylvania  Chapters  of  the  National   Multiple  Sclerosis  (MS)  Society,   Communications  Associate  for  the   Philadelphia  Workforce  Investment  Board,   and  Legislative  Aide  for  former  Ohio  State   Senator  Jeff  Jacobson. 3
  3. 3. Overview • A crisis is any situation that threatens a non profit's reputation, or that may disrupt an organization's ability to carry out its mission. ! • Non profit crises may originate from a variety of causes - from fiscal emergencies and legal woes, to leadership problems and staffing struggles. ! • Though the origins vary from crisis to crisis, the importance of effectively managing these situations remains constant, playing a large role in whether the organization is successful over time.
  4. 4. The Practice of Crisis Management Includes • Standards to measure which scenarios constitute a crisis, and among those, which require a response ! • Methods used to respond to real and perceived crises ! • Communication (internal and external) that occurs throughout a crisis response
  5. 5. A crisis mindset requires the ability to think of the worst-case scenario while simultaneously suggesting numerous solutions. Trial-and-error is an accepted practice, as the first line of defense might not always work. It’s necessary to maintain several strategies in your contingency plans and to be always on alert.
  6. 6. Why is Crisis Management Important • In our social media savvy, 24-hour news world, it’s increasingly important for nonprofit organizations to plan, prepare and preempt (when possible) crisis situations. ! • While charities are generally appreciated and have far more goodwill than politicians and businesses (some of my other clients), charities are not seen necessarily perceived as being innocent. ! • Well-publicized fiscal, leadership and morale crises have stricken some of the largest and most prolific nonprofit organizations in the world. As a result, all nonprofits are more susceptible to public criticism and attacks on their reputation. ! • It’s vital for charitable organizations to establish a crisis team and create a crisis manual, complete staff training and be prepared for the an aggressive and fast-moving news cycle.
  7. 7. Why is Crisis Management Important, cont’d • Your credibility and reputation are heavily influenced by the perception of your responses during crisis situations. ! • In times of crisis, your stakeholders will expect you to emerge as a leader to minimize the impact of the crisis at hand. At the same time, any detractors will look for someone to blame. It’s an extreme environment, and it’s incumbent upon non-profits to establish a sense of normality, and foster collective learning from the crisis experience. ! • During crisis, leading organizations must also deal with any strategic challenges they face, the political risks and opportunities they encounter, the errors they make, the pitfalls they need to avoid, and the paths away from crisis they may pursue. ! • If handled effectively, a crisis provides non-profit organizations with an opportunity to exhibit leadership, illustrate value, safeguard your stakeholders and educate the public.
  8. 8. Effective Crisis Management Begins Early • Know what can precipitate a crisis - what are your unique “risks” ! • Understand how to assess your “risks” – which may generate the most interest and concern amongst the public, the media and your stakeholders (not all “risks” are created equal) ! • Prepare and plan – create protocols, assign roles, write an action plan, compile contact lists and develop resources ! • Practice – occasional fire drills help leadership prep for how to activate the crisis response plan ! Taking these steps increases the likelihood that you will make sound decisions, take responsive action and conduct effective crisis management
  9. 9. Communicating during a Crisis • Crisis Communication is one area of Crisis Management that is designed to protect an organization when facing a threat to its reputation. ! • Most often, the goal of crisis communication is to minimize damage and enable an organization to continue to function at full capacity during a crisis. Many crises also present opportunities to communicate new ideas and objectives. ! • Crisis Communication can play a significant role by transforming the unexpected into the anticipated and responding accordingly.
  10. 10. Communication through Anticipation • Anticipate the purpose, goals of your communication and the messages during the crisis ! • Anticipate the communication philosophy / approach you’ll likely use during the crisis ! • Anticipate the news media interests and potential stories at the beginning and as things evolve ! • Anticipate likely questions that media, policy makers and the public will have – especially, at the outset
  11. 11. Philosophical Approaches to Communication • Lead with concern - convey empathy and caring ! • Acknowledge uncertainty and share dilemmas, possible outcomes ! • Foreshadow potential or likely developments, challenges and responses / actions ! • Address and guide expectations
  12. 12. Stakeholder Audiences • Issue experts • Employees • Board members / leaders • Key partners and collaborators • Interested public • News media (traditional and digital) and external public affairs staff
  13. 13. The Goals of Communication during a Crisis • Foster trust and credibility through timely, transparent and when possible, proactive communications ! • Identify and explain any risks or potential risks – address, ease public concerns ! • Minimize harm, reduce the scope and magnitude of crisis by achieving high awareness and taking steps toward change if necessary ! • Give guidance, options and suggestions for helpful actions
  14. 14. Crisis Communication – Keys to Success • Maintain connectivity with all stakeholder audiences ! • Minimize disruption of daily professional responsibilities • Create an opportunity from every crisis – examples • Be proactive – get out in front • Be accessible to all audiences, especially the media • Show sincere empathy for any people, places or organizations affected by the crisis • Be as transparent and honest as possible, provided there are no legal implications in doing so • Keep detailed and secure records of all external communication • Secure private correspondence and confidential / internal information • Communicate early and often during a crisis – you must become THE source for media • Communicate crisis response messages through several channels, including traditional and social media • A multi-faceted crisis communication plan is the best!
  15. 15. Questions?
  16. 16. Next Steps Contact me to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss crisis planning for your organization – ! Brian Goldthorpe President Privileged Communication Washington, DC C: 267.973.0619 E: brian@secureyourrep.com W: http://secureyourrep.com ! ! “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” – John F. Kennedy
  17. 17. https://bloomerang.co/ resources/webinars   ! ! April  Topics:   ! Prospect  Research   Capital  Campaigns

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