Apr 15, 2014
Nonprofits aren't impenetrable to crises, regardless of how much good they do for the community. Unfortunately, mitigating potential risk is a necessary evil within all industries, no matter what an organization does.
Now that technology has penetrated into the marketplace, charities must communicate with benefactors across multiple channels, leaving them vulnerable to possible attacks. However, a sound strategy in combating potential risks can significantly benefit any nonprofit organization and protect brand credibility both online and off.
Listed below are three ways charities can survive a potential crisis:
- Transparency is best practice: In the time immediately following an issue, it's most likely not the best opportunity for charities to direct users to their donation management software. If there's an internal or external problem that arises, it's critical that any nonprofit instantly owns the issue and admits any fault, npENGAGE recommends. Begin with full disclosure into why the complication occurred, and then outline steps as to how your nonprofit plans on addressing the situation. Generally speaking, nobody likes a liar - especially one that sells itself on the good it does for the local community. The truth is important, but every detail is not needed.
- Make sure everyone's on the same page: Crises in any organization can be amplified if an internal source leaks information or misspeaks in a public forum. With this in mind, it's extremely important that before any widespread statements to the local population, charities must debrief the entire staff on what's going on and what they can and should not say, according to the NonProfit Quarterly. A public statement or press release should be crafted by multiple, highly-trusted executives or individuals who know the organization the best. Once a sentiment is shared, nonprofits should direct all media and outside inquiries to a public relations staff member and request that employees do the same.
- Share the story in your own words: The old adage goes, "There are three sides to the truth." In any nonprofit crisis, there are going to be multiple sides to the story, no matter what happens. In reflecting in the first point, it's important to be upfront and honest in order to win volunteers and donors' trust back - without it, an organization faces a difficult uphill battle. A well thought-out statement on social media or through a press wire can quickly explain any misunderstandings about the organization.