Nonprofit Crisis Communications
Ann C. Fitzgerald, President
Mark Zuckerberg has taken a beating lately for his initial silence following a report that a political consulting firm used data improperly obtained from 50 million Facebook users.
Experts faulted him for not following the tried-and-true script for crisis communications: Get out in front of the story, say you’re sorry, inform the authorities and public, and take quick action.
Nonprofits also face crises. A leader resigns. Donor money is misappropriated. An employee is charged with a crime. In these cases, the same rules apply. The Colorado Nonprofit Association recommends all nonprofits put in place:
- A written crisis communications policy
- A checklist of crisis management steps
- An emergency phone tree
- A detailed crisis communications plan
- A guide to help you prepare for a crisis before it happens
- A process for identifying, and preparing for, potentially foreseeable crises
- A decision tree for potential actions and guiding considerations
- A post-crisis review
Despite Zuckerberg’s misjudgment, Facebook will undoubtedly weather this storm. Prepare your nonprofit to handle the unforeseen challenges ahead.
Ann C. Fitzgerald is Founder and President of AC Fitzgerald, using her decades of experience in fundraising, management, leadership, and sales to help nonprofits build their capacity and achieve success. She is a sought-after speaker, writer, and advisor.