Money & Business

Daily Buzz: Preparing Your Association for PR Challenges

By / Jan 30, 2020 (hocus/E+/Getty Images Plus)

A crisis communications plan will help you expect the unexpected. Also: Want to be a better leader? Find out what matters most to your employees.

Unfortunately, even well-run organizations may occasionally face a PR crisis that requires an immediate and appropriate response.

“You never know when your nonprofit might see one of its most prominent donors get trapped in a scandal, discover one of its board members has engaged in #metoo behavior, or have its operations disrupted by an unfortunate disaster,” writes Turn Two Communications’ Peter Panepento on the Nonprofit Marketing Guide.

In preparation for these situations, organizations can create a crisis communications plan. Begin by establishing a crisis team that can come together quickly if needed. Typically, this group includes the CEO or executive director, the head of communications, and the board chair.

“Because crises don’t always happen between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, contact information for this group should be at the fingertips of your communications director or top executive,” Panepento says.

Since an appropriate response is so important, develop key messages ahead of time that reinforce what your organization stands for. You won’t know the nature of the crisis until it hits, so keep these messages general and easy to customize. That way, your organization will be ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

Exactly who is speaking is also important. Designate spokespeople who would be comfortable answering questions on the organization’s behalf. Ideally, these people would have media training and experience in front of a camera.

“Having your spokespeople identified and ready to go positions you to be able to respond quickly—and it helps prevent having multiple people offering conflicting or incomplete messages,” Panepento says.

What Employees Want From Leaders

If you want to better inspire and retain employees, you need to go beyond the traditional perks, writes John Boitnott in Entrepreneur. “Workers want value from their leaders, and they’re looking for an engaging work environment,” he says.

Focus on making connections with employees on a regular basis to cultivate a positive workplace culture. For example, checking in and asking about how they’re doing and whether they need any accommodations can help them feel appreciated and understood, Boitnott suggests.

Other Links of Note

Give members a sense of belonging and community, and they’re likely to renew. A recent MemberSuite article outlines how to do it.

Feeling insecure on the job? There are strategies to overcome your fears, says psychotherapist Amy Morin in Business Insider.

Associations need to figure out how to accommodate all levels of member engagement, writes Erin Fuller on LinkedIn.

Michael Hickey

Michael Hickey is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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