Crisis Communications

7 Crisis Communications Tips Your Nonprofit Needs to Know


Standing left to right: Chris Ipsen (PIO for City of LA Emergency Management Department), Phyllis Tan (NCM Network Board Member and Office of Communications and Public Affairs, LA County Department of Public Health), Ron Epstein (Publisher for LA Parent Magazine), and Andy Weisser (NCM Network Co-President)

NCM Network thanks Marisol Barrios, an NCM Network Board Member, for her event recap. Her highlights follow below, and her professional details are provided at the end.

A crisis can happen at any time. Is your organization ready to handle a tragedy at your event; an employee caught with his hand in the cookie jar; a social media faux pas that becomes viral; or a natural disaster that impacts your ability to deliver services? Whatever the crisis, you need to have a plan now. In any crisis your organization will have a window of time to respond before there is a risk to damaging your organization’s reputation. At our crisis communications event held at the LA City Emergency Operations Center in January, our panel of experts shared their experiences and provided insight on what you need to include in your crisis communications plan.

Nonprofits can be messengers when collaborating with the media to disseminate information. As a nonprofit representative, you have the ability to position your nonprofit in the dovetails of a crisis. Remember to not overstep your boundaries yet leverage your nonprofit when being a resource to the media and a messenger to your constituencies.

Here are 7 nonprofit crisis tips:

  1. Train your media spokespeople
  2. Have a crisis communications plan
  3. Identify what-if’s
  4. Prepare messages and talking points
  5. Inform your constituencies
  6. Resolve crisis quickly to shorten media life span
  7. Close the loop with donors, volunteers, and other constituencies

Many thanks to James G. Featherstone, general manager for the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department, Chris Ipsen, public information officer for the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department, and Ron Epstein, publisher for LA Parent Magazine, for participating on this informative panel and for giving our attendees a tour of the LA City Emergency Operations Center.

By Marisol Barrios, NCM Network Board Member
Director of Communications and Marketing, Hillsides
Twitter: @MarisolBarrios

Image Credit [Crisis Communications]: Stuart Miles via


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