A crisis can take many forms and represent significant risk for an organization’s ability to continue ordinary operations, as well as for its image, its client base and its short- and long-term financial performance. Effective planning and response will help you navigate a crisis successfully. Here five tips to get started:
- Have a plan. Once a crisis occurs it’s too late to begin planning. Create an emergency response plan that takes into account all possible risks, from accidents and abuse to newer risks like active shooters and emerging health issues. Make sure you utilizes all necessary resources when creating your plan.
- Widen your expertise. It’s impossible to handle a crisis alone. You need a wide range of resources both inside and outside your organization, ranging from medical professionals and grief counselors to public relations professionals and attorneys.
- Create a crisis communications component to your plan. This includes establishing one spokesperson and defining his/her specific responsibilities, and establishing protocols for handling the media and for managing and monitoring social media.
- Communicate open and honestly. Take control of your situation and be first in communicating with the families of the children you serve. Open, accurate and rapid communications goes a long way in building and maintaining the trust and respect of your community and clients.
- Distribute, practice and update the plan. Your plan does not do any good sitting on a shelf. It should be widely circulated, understood by everyone involved and practiced. The plan should also be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.