Crisis communications: What to do before, during and after a crisis
Non-profit Communicators Conference
May 19, 2017
What is a crisis?
UNT grad (Go Mean Green!)
Spokesperson (PIO) at North Texas
Director of Public Affairs at Metrolink in
Started working on crises after college
What is a crisis?
High profile company
BEFORE – Take advantage of this time to
improve performance when a crisis occurs
• Incident response plan (agency)
• Crisis communications plan
• Holding statements
• Identify roles and responsibilities
• Identify back-up for each role
• SOPs for each role
• Where you report
• Policies (approval policy, media
policy, social media policy)
• Media training
• FEMA training
• Technology training
• Power sources
• Contact lists (electronic and hard
DURING – SAFETY FIRST
All actions and communications should
Implement your plan.
Provide regular, consistent updates to
all of your audiences.
Employees, customers, board members,
elected officials, etc.
Identify a place where people can go
Ensure key staff avoids fatigue.
Ensure legal and agency leadership
approves all information.
Circulate that information internally
Say no comment Say what you know.
Even if it is not
Minimize the impact
Lie Show action (what is
Speculate Discuss coordination
Defend bad policies Provide them info on
how they can get
more info or assist.
Crisis management in the
new media age
Information spreads like wild fire.
• It is crucial that you coordinate a consistent
• Empower your employees, stakeholders to act as
ambassadors by providing them with accurate
info and asking to help disseminate.
• Social media policy should give guidance on
how to interact.
Smart phones means photos and videos WILL surface.
• Always agree to “look into”
Use social media to:
• Provide updates to stakeholders.
• Respond to questions/concerns.
• Monitor top concerns, key issues (important to
report these to leadership)
• Quantify customer impact and effectiveness (# of
complaints, avg response time, etc)
• Tools exist that allow you to manage all account
from one platform and offer some metrics.
Maintain communications with new stakeholders, followers, etc
Express appreciation to stakeholders (employees, customers, elected officials)
Continue to work with legal to approve communications due to possible lawsuits
Debrief What went right? What went wrong? How can we improve?
Now is the time to prepare…
(Not an endorsement of any one religion over the other…just a lesson in preparation told through a well known story.)