Is Your Organization Ready for the Unexpected?


None of us expects a crisis to happen – hence why it is a crisis. And yet it only takes one incident to cause your organization potential harm to its reputation, credibility and bottom line. So why don’t the vast majority of companies and nonprofit organizations have a crisis communications plan in place? Answers we often hear are, “We’re too small, that won’t happen to us” or “We are in XY city. Nothing happens here.”

Ah, but there are just some things you can’t plan such as a random storm that knocks out power to your business for five days or a spokesperson for your organization making an offensive comment to a reporter at a fundraiser. It is these totally unexpected moments where having a plan in place will save you a lot of unnecessary hassle or headache. It also can drastically reduce the potential for costly errors in judgment resulting from decisions made in the heat of the moment.

Think about a crisis communications plan much like you do an insurance policy. You hope to never use it, but having one gives you peace of mind knowing you are prepared if something happens. A solid crisis communications plan doesn’t need to be complex, but it does need to be thorough. Basic elements should encompass:

–          Media policy

–          Designated crisis team

–          Basic approach to potential crisis situations, including timing, who it involves and potential communications channels

–          Media training

Still not convinced? Then take a look at the following, checking any items that apply to your organization:

*         My organization is housed in a building of some type

*         I have more than one employee

*         Our employees are located in more than one location or at remote sites

*         We use social media as a company or our employees use it at home

*         We offer our customers promotions, contests or specials

*         Our employees do manual labor

*         The types of services we provide could cause harm (e.g. filling wrong  prescription, accidental shooting, faulty construction or loss of revenue)

*         Our employees interact with clients at a physical location or via a call center

*         Our company executives are involved in the community, are active on boards or contribute significant dollars to political campaigns

If you checked at least two items then you should have a crisis communications plan in place at your organization. Don’t wait until the unexpected happens. Contact us today for a complimentary assessment.

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Stacy W. • August 3, 2012

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