How you handle a major unexpected event can make or break your reputation

Reputation is key for every non-profit organization and there is nothing that can impact that more than a crisis and how you respond to it. There are many ways to plan and prepare for a crisis so when the worst happens, you can be ready to react. It’s important to have a solid plan in place so you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.

Whether it is a vicious attack like the one at the Tree of Life synagogue outside of Pittsburgh, a scandal or a natural disaster that impacts your day-to-day ability to function, a significant and unexpected event can have a long-­lasting and negative effect on your organization’s reputation and its ability to carry out its mission.

A crisis management plan can help your organization implement clear-cut tools and tactics to deal with negative events, which could happen suddenly and without notice. A well-thought-out strategy will help you communicate both internally and externally to ensure the safety and security of all those involved.

During an emergency, you must respond promptly, transparently and confidently in the hours and days that follow. There are multiple audiences to address based on their specific interests and needs. The image of your organization is riding on your ability to communicate accurately and effectively to each and every one of them.

Here is a list of key crisis plan objectives:

  • Form a solid crisis communication team and telecommunications structure
  • Develop processes to effectively communicate with staff, board members, leadership, volunteers for their safety and effective decision-making
  • Prepare a game plan to make sure all external stakeholders, members/constituents are informed of key decisions
  • Manage communications for the community-at-large
  • Preparing a detailed media communications and interview plan  
  • Develop additional channels of communications such as web site posts and social media
  • Construct a multi-channel communication system for ongoing correspondence
  • Evaluate efforts to manage your crisis communication practices for the future

These are just a few guidelines for developing an effective crisis communications plan for your non-profit organization. If you have any questions or need assistance in preparing a strategy, contact Andy Rose at Kvell Communications at or 561-945-9356.