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Covid19 – 5 Crisis Communication Tips for Nonprofits

Photo by Tai’s Captures on Unsplash

The past few months have been filled with global change. In a world of quick transient news, narratives spread fast. Users are more involved with news and media content than ever before, often changing a narrative before it’s even published. Nonprofits are especially vulnerable, because their funding often depends on the altruism of their donor base. In order to preserve and protect nonprofits, crisis communication must be considered in brand development. Here are 5 tips to developing effective lines of communication during crisis. 

  1. Understand the basics. When humans communicate, they encode and decode messages through verbal and nonverbal communication. Encoding is when a person turns their inner thoughts into a form of communication for others. Decoding is the process of an audience understanding these messages. World-view effects how messages are encoded and decoded. In order to communicate effectively, understand the culture of your audience.  
  2. Define the crisis. Write a detailed account of the problem. Then make a list of potential audience responses. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and develop potential responses based of the audience’s past behaviors and current psychographic information. Next come up with potential responses. 
  3. Think before you act. Don’t Overshare. Find the balance between information sharing and protecting your brand. Too much information will cause your audience to disengage or misinterpret your message, while not enough information allows others to manipulate the narrative. Finding the balance keeps the audience’s understanding high and misinterpretation low 
  4. Respond quicklyWhen possible, your organization will want to be the first voice in telling the narrative. Assess the scope of the crisis. Ask yourself, “Does this situation warrant a press release, community recognitiona social media video response from a person in leadership, a donor letter, an email blast, etc.?” This will widely depend on the scope and behavior of your audience and the crisis. While, you want to act fast, you’ll want to follow tips 1-3 first and make educated and strategic strategies for the most effective communication. Don’t react from emotion. Instead act with strategy and compassion. 
  5. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Social media can influence the perspectives of consumers. People make a living off being influencers because that power exists. Often, consumers think of influencers as friends, so they trust their opinionsUtilize this, understand it, and make strategies to combat potential negative social impact. Make sure you’re monitoring social media to respond appropriately and quickly. Read this article to learn how nonprofits can work effectively with social media influencers.

In times of crisis, nonprofits can strengthen their bonds and trust with their audience with effective communication. To do this, leaders must understand, define, think, respond and not underestimate. Following these tips will help protect your brand and dictate the narrative. For more help and development contact a Crisis Communication Specialist. 

Kayla Stikeleather | Marketing Associate & Freelance Communication Specialist | MA Global Communication 

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