Nonprofit Crises and Crisis Planning


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Examine national and local nonprofit organizations in crisis and look at ways to prepare for crisis and reduce the negative effects of crisis when present.

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Nonprofit Crises and Crisis Planning

  1. 1. Nonprofit Crises and Crisis PlanningAssociation of Fundraising Professionals – South Dakota January 15, 2013
  2. 2. Have you ever…? Your nominations for nonprofits in crisis…good or bad• Penn State• The Second Mile• Susan G. Komen for the Cure• Livestrong• United Way of America• Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls• American Indian Services• Sioux Empire Fair• South Dakota Parent Connection• Volunteers of America –Dakotas• Washington Pavilion of Arts & Science
  3. 3. Why do bad things happen?
  4. 4. What we will cover• Examples of nonprofit crises• Ideas for crisis response planning• Sample crisis communications plan
  6. 6. The Second Mile• Founded in 1977 in State College, PA• Mission to serve underprivileged youth and their families• 2009 budget – about $3 million• Served up to 100,000 children & families annually statewide• Operations suspended in late 2011 For more:
  7. 7. Issues • Founder’s Syndrome • Founder as Titled Corporate Officer • Board Conflicts of Interest—General • Conflict of Interest—CEO and Spouse Both Employed by Nonprofit • CEO with Multiple Professional Relationships • Board Members Sharing Employment Relationship • Lack of Board Term Limits • Complex Governance Structure • Board(s) Too Large • Donors and Celebrities as "Leaders" • Access to Legal CounselSource: The Second Mile - Lessons in Nonprofit Governance, Sumption & Wyland
  9. 9. Too many headlines – KELO (1/2)08/30/2010 - Board Names New Exec. Director For Multi-Cultural Center08/27/2010 - Embattled Sioux Falls Center Has New Director07/14/2010 - Audit Of SF Center Shows No Missing Money05/06/2010 - Several Responsibilities In Interim Director Role05/05/2010 - Wallin New Multi-Cultural Center Interim Director05/05/2010 - Multi-Cultural Center Names Interim Director05/05/2010 - Embattled Sioux Falls Center Has New Director05/02/2010 - Aware Defends Decisions, Actions Of Multi-Cultural Center05/02/2010 - Aware: Reports About Leadership Are Untrue05/02/2010 - Qadir Aware To Speak Today04/28/2010 - Multi-Cultural Centers Impact on Hispanics04/28/2010 - Center Director Did Not Resign Voluntarily
  10. 10. Too many headlines – KELO (2/2)04/27/2010 - Whats Next For Multi-Cultural Center?04/27/2010 - Qadir Aware Resigns Amid Serious Complaints04/27/2010 - SF Multi-Cultural Center Exec. Director Resigns04/23/2010 - Commissioner Concerns Over Multi-Cultural Center04/20/2010 - Qadir Awares Car Business Under Fire04/20/2010 - Multi-Cultural Center Budget Breakdown04/19/2010 - Multi-Cultural Center Issues Boil Over04/19/2010 - Questions Asked About Multi-Cultural Center04/19/2010 - Leadership Questioned In Report On Center04/19/2010 - Audit Of Sioux Falls Center Being Expanded03/23/2010 - Exec. Director Returns To Work At Multi-Cultural Center03/22/2010 - Multi-Cultural Director Back At Work Tuesday
  11. 11. Board Names New Exec. Director For Multi-Cultural Center[New ED Christy Nicolaisen] replaces longtime executive director, Qadir Aware, who resigned in April after an internal audit detailed changes recommended for the agency. The nine-page audit cited serious concerns about whether Aware was capable of leading the center. The resulting controversy played a role in the departure of several board members. Source:
  12. 12. Issues at the Multi-Cultural Center?••••••••
  14. 14. Note from CEO Doug Ulman on USADA ActionJun 13, 2012 by Doug UlmanWe learned today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has leveled charges against Lance Armstrongthat he violated its rules throughout his career, based on the testimony of anonymous accusers.Regardless of anything anyone says, Lance Armstrong has been one of the most tireless andeffective cancer advocates in the world. His legacy as a cancer advocate and fundraiser isindisputable.When other athletes might have kept a cancer diagnosis secret, Lance made a courageous choiceto go public. That choice helped spark a revolution in how the world views cancer and its survivors.Lance created the Foundation to serve cancer survivors before any of his Tour de France wins. Ourfoundation has raised nearly $500 million to serve people and families affected by cancer. We helpcancer survivors struggling with the financial, emotional and practical challenges of cancer free ofcharge. And we advocate tirelessly for legislation, policies and funding to further the fight againstcancer.In our eyes, Lance will always remain a champion. Nothing can shake our faith in him as a leaderand trailblazer on behalf of cancer survivors. Our thoughts are with Lance and his family as theyface what can only be a very frustrating and difficult time as a result of USADA’s actions.
  15. 15. Issues at the Livestrong Foundation?••••••••
  17. 17. The best time to get ready for adversity…
  18. 18. Mitigating Crises• Pay attention to good governance and good management practice – Board recruitment & leadership development – Leadership development for staff – Policy & procedure documentation – Ongoing assessment and self-assessment – Consistent, honest communication norms
  19. 19. Mitigating Crises• Know your organization – Mission/vision/values/goals – Strategic plan and strategic direction – Key programs, clientele, constituencies, stakeholders• Know the community and marketplace• Subliminal SWOT
  20. 20. Mitigating Crises• Plan for adversity• Plan in writing• Educate board and staff• Follow the plan• NEVER ASSUME!
  21. 21. ―In the absence of the facts, people will make up their own story. It will be incomplete, incorrect, and negative.‖ Margaret Sumption
  22. 22. SAMPLE CRISISCOMMUNICATIONS PLAN Source: Colorado Association of Nonprofits
  23. 23. Crisis Communications Plan - Purpose• Prepare the organization staff and board to effectively and nimbly manage crisis communications;• Help staff and board respond in a unified, professional manner that reinforces leadership and creates loyalty;• Strategically enhance the organization’s brand/role, and the public understanding;• Manage the distribution of critical, often sensitive, information to the media, stakeholders, and public;• Inform stakeholders of the organization’s position to help shape a consistent response.
  24. 24. Crisis Communication Plan – Overview1. All crises should be reported to the board chair and CEO immediately.2. Only the chief spokesperson and back-up spokespeople are authorized to release information. All other staff, board, and committee members should be professional and helpful to the media by connecting them with the spokespeople, but will neither speak to the media, nor provide any information.3. There should be one designated crisis management lead person. There should also be one designated spokesperson who actually interacts with the media and other inquirers. Most likely, but not necessarily, the two roles will be filled by the director of communications and the president & CEO, respectively.4. All comments should be guided by professionalism and transparency, and serve to mitigate the crisis while reinforcing the leadership role of the organization.
  25. 25. Crisis Communication Plan – Overview5. "No comment" is never an acceptable response. If an answer is unknown or cannot be immediately answered, make note of the question, tell the inquirer you will get back with him/her, and do so. If the question cannot be answered due to a policy (such as sharing personnel information, etc.) let the inquirer know that.6. Personnel matters are to remain confidential.7. When possible, responses should be proactive, responsive, and action-oriented.8. We recognize the importance of media relations to public trust. In times of crisis, maintaining effective media relationships will be particularly critical in bolstering public confidence in the sector as a whole.
  26. 26. Stakeholders, insiders, and gossipStakeholders (staff, donors, partners, etc.) should be encouraged to:• Defer to spokesperson(s)• Resist temptations to: – Spread the word (gossip) – Speculate – Jump to conclusions – Panic – Disengage
  27. 27. Questions and Comments?
  28. 28. Thank You! 818 S. Hawthorne AvenueSioux Falls, South Dakota 57104-4537(605) 336-0244 or (888) 4-SUMPTION