[UPDATE: November 12, 2020]
An organization’s messaging takes on added importance during a crisis like this one where there is no quick or straight path to the end of the disruption and chaos. The communications strategy must be developed to explain an uneven recovery not only to outside funders and supporters – including the community! – but also to staff members who will be feeling unsettled and worried.
[UPDATE: August 25, 2020]
The key to successful crisis communications at this point in late August 2020 is to continue a two-way dialogue encouraging a “culture of inquiry” and collaboration. A special challenge is to be transparent about why your decision-making process for the organization must remain fluid due to rapidly changing circumstances on the ground: the COVID-19 pandemic’s surges of spread and the promise of more government aid without delivery.
[UPDATE: June 25, 2020]
“COVID-19’s parallel unfolding crises present leaders with infinitely complicated challenges and no easy answers. Tough trade-offs abound, and with them, tough decisions about communicating complex issues to diverse audiences.”
Experts advise keeping up the (hopefully already begun) open, straightforward, and honest communication with all stakeholders as the COVID-19 pandemic crisis continues. In a crisis like COVID-19, “when information is unavailable or inconsistent, and when people feel unsure about what they know (or anyone knows), behavioral science points to an increased human desire for transparency, guidance, and making sense out of what has happened.”
Just as important, it’s key to make this a two-way dialogue: encouraging a “culture of inquiry” and collaboration.
[March 31, 2020]
Well ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, some organizations had adopted crisis-communications plans. But even for them, the sheer magnitude of this emergency has rendered some aspects of that prudent planning ineffectual.
As with the topic of crisis management, there is an established body of knowledge and experience from past crises that can guide the nation’s nonprofits as they develop and implement communications strategies through these unprecedented times.