The Taming of the Shrewd
Episode 5: Crisis Comms
A familiar face for Episode 5 - Gemma Pettman, good friend of Lime Green Consulting and trainer at our regular fundraising strategy and trusts and foundations training courses. Gemma's also an independent accredited PR expert and joined us to discuss an important topic - how should charities and social enterprises communicate when bad news strikes?
Gemma gave us a whistle-stop tour of her approach to crisis comms, including:
- The different types of crises that typically hit organisations, and how you can work together as a team to create a list of scenarios to prepare for
- Planning in advance for a crisis - who to communicate with, what to say, how to use social media and the press, and practising your key messages
- Assessing a live situation - how do you decide when to respond and what to say? how do you avoid making the situation worse? how can you turn some crises into an opportunity?
- Looking after your people - how to support staff who are on the 'front line' of a crisis, and how to follow up after a crisis passes
We discussed how good crisis comms is crucial for building and maintaining trust with supporters, why organisations are often put off planning in advance, how social media has changed the nature of crisis comms, and how many organisations have successfully turned a crisis into a fundraising opportunity.
If you're interested in learning more, Gemma kindly recommended a few follow-up resources for listeners:
- A best practice guide to crisis communications for charities by Charity Comms: https://www.charitycomms.org.uk/crisis-communications-for-charities
- Madeleine Sugden's blog about how you can deal with a positive ‘crisis’: https://madlinblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/21/crisis-comms-responding-to-a-fundraising-boost/
- Further examples of successful fundraising in response to a crisis: the RNLI after Tory MPs' criticism of its overseas work and the National Trust in response to a fire at its historic Clandon Park site
Thanks to Gemma for her typically cheerful and expert insight. You can find out more about her PR work here: http://www.gemmapettmanpr.co.uk/