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Blog | Apr 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

Communicating in a Crisis

This post is a round-up of advice and commentary that has been circulating on the web since the bombings in Boston on Monday. This event demonstrated that crisis communication is a skill none of us can afford to overlook.

Stop, drop, and roll with the news.

Probably the most talked-about blog in the nonprofit world this week was from Nancy Schwartz: How to Communicate in the Midst of Tragedy: 9-Step Checklist. Nancy says that any “business as usual” communications could potentially do more harm than good in a time of crisis. She warns everyone to put on the brakes and reconsider all scheduled activities. One of the brilliant aspects of this post is that she has organized her recommended activities into time categories: “Immediately,” “ASAP,” “Next 10-14 Days,” and “By the End of April.”

This post is a MUST READ, including the comments section, which has some debate and additional recommendations.

Don’t wait: plan, plan, plan.

One of my favorite nonprofit bloggers, Joanne Fritz, has a post that covers general recommendations for any kind of crisis, whether it’s happening outside or inside the organization (God Forbid.). Top 6 Tips for Effective Nonprofit Crisis Planning explains how you need to be an advocate for good crisis preparedness in your organization.

One of Joanne’s most valuable reminders is that the point of good crisis communication is not to completely control the message.

Because of social media, there is little chance of controlling information in a way that used to be possible. So don’t try to. But you can, through monitoring and judicious response, provide good information, fight rumors with fact, and express concern.

As Joanne says, if you prepare ahead of time, “you’ll be thanked later.”

Two other educational posts from the week.

The explosions at the Boston Marathon and the Facebook huddle talks about the activity on Facebook following the explosions in Boston.

People often complain about social media…But when you want to know if everyone’s okay, it’s the first place to go.

This post can give you some insight into the collective consciousness during a crisis, which can help you better understand how to help and not do harm with your own communications.

Thou Shalt Not Stoop to Political Point-Scoring: A journalist’s guide to tweeting during a crisis exposes media people behaving badly. But more than that, it provides some solid advice about how to participate, either as an organization or an individual. It shows how to be smart and not end up with egg on your face, or worse – contribute to panic, frustration, or even danger.

If you know of any other good or bad crisis communication examples, please share them in the comments.

Image credit: Yelena Rovenskaya on Pinterest

Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.

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