Social Media Crisis Communications for Nonprofits

Last Tuesday, I presented a workshop on social media crisis communications for the Virginia Association of Fund Raising Executives and I’m sharing the deck with you here.

We reviewed three different case studies from the American Red Cross, the Humane Society of the United States, and Komen for the Cure, pulling out dos and don’ts as we went along.

We ended the workshop by playing a “challenges/solutions” game inspired by an exercise in Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers (Amazon link).

I called it “What Could Possibly Go Wrong Next?!?”  and presented two basic scenarios: a potential food poisoning at a Meals on Wheels and a United Way executive making a politically incorrect statement.

Brainstorming Challenges

Some tables were asked to brainstorm what could go wrong next. In the meal delivery case, they came up with things like “someone died from the food poisoning” and “a volunteer knew the food was tainted.” In the scenario about the the gaffe, the challengers came up with things like “this wasn’t the first time he was caught on video saying something like that” and “big donors are pulling support.”

The other tables were tasked with coming up with a set of tools, responses, etc. that they could use during a crisis — but not yet knowing what the challengers were coming up with.

We then played out the game in front of the larger group, with the challengers playing a card, and the solutions team playing one or two cards in response. The rest of the room then voted on whether the response was enough to address the crisis. In both cases, we said the nonprofits were able to “swim” rather than “sink” — but it was a close call!

I urge you to play a version of the game within your own nonprofit, as it’s really the best way to prepare for your own potential crisis. I’ve saved a bunch of great links with more resources on social media crisis communications for you.

Tomorrow I’ll share the deck from Friday’s workshop on social media fundraising.

 

 

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