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.
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