No more. Now headlines like the ones below mean that no charity is off limits:
“Charities cash in on relatives of the dead”
“Scandal of animal charity fat cat”
“New shame of the charities: Widower’s details were passed on 200 times leading him to lose £35,000 and get 731 demands for cash.”
“British Heart Foundation slammed by angry family for trying to get more of dead man’s cash – even though he left them £77,000”
Journalists are now actively looking for stories which expose unethical, exploitative and unacceptable behaviour.
Which is why every charity needs a crisis communications strategy, so that if they come under fire, they are able to respond quickly, and in a way which will protect their reputation.
And every charity chief executive needs to be ready to face tough questions from reporters and presenters.
Which means he will need to have done a course in crisis communications training with experienced journalists who will not shirk from asking the most tricky questions.
Charity crisis strategy procedure
Developing your charity crisis strategy is a seven stage process, which should be undertaken by the senior management team, under the leadership of the communications team:
- Take a long hard look at how you operate and make an honest assessment of the risks you face and any vulnerable areas.
- Categorise these risk in terms of the level of likelihood and level of disruption
- Create action plans on how to handle communications for the most potentially damaging
- Create an operational crisis communications plan which integrates with your existing emergency plans
- Establish the chain of command and ensure your entire team knows how to react should an emergency arise
- Prepare holding statements and key messages
- Selecting and training key spokespeople to deal with challenging interviews
Once you have worked through these stages, you should have a robust strategy which is ready to be activated from the moment a problem threatens to escalate out of control.
Rough House can work with you to develop your charity crisis strategy and train your senior staff. For more information about how we can help, contact us on 020 8332 6200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.