Crisis Communications – Crisis Communications, Be Prepared
Girl Scouts of the Kentucky’s Wilderness Road Councils is one of the largest female youth serving organizations in the State of Kentucky. The number one concern of Girl Scouts is the well-being of their membership. Being a volunteer-based, youth serving organization, Girl Scouts is faced with many potential risks such as sexual abuse, accidents, and mismanagement of funds. While Girl Scouts has systems in place to prevent against risk on the operational side, they did not have a formalized crisis communications plan to react quickly.
The organization’s response to an emergency often has more impact on reputation than the event that precipitated the situation or event. Preparation is key to ensuring that reactions to and processing of the needs at a time of a crisis situation lead to a positive outcome. The challenge is to react as quickly as possible – within the first two hours of a crisis whenever feasible. In this age of instant information provided by social media, the window of crisis reaction has shortened.
The council was in need of a comprehensive crisis communications plan.
The goal was to create a comprehensive and nimble plan so when a crisis occurs there is the ability to communicate effectively with all stakeholders.
The purpose of this plan was to:
• Prepare for emergencies that can affect Girl Scouts
• Determine actions when emergencies occur that can affect Girl Scouts
• Select appropriate individuals to assist in maintaining Girl Scouts
• Respond to various situations, with actions and messages to ensure brand consistency
• Follow up after an emergency, and mitigate future situations
After in-depth interviews with the client and an intense risk assessment, crisis communications plan took form. Developing a multilayered plan was advisable.
There was a need for a three different plans to address two main stakeholders: communications staff/crisis response team and other staff members. What was developed: a comprehensive plan for communications staff/crisis response team, basic plan for all other staff, and a training module with a PowerPoint presentation.
The Crisis Communications Plan presented was detailed and all-inclusive providing the Director of Public Relations the tools she needed to prepare her team for and manage a crisis when one arises.
The plan was well received by staff and board members when presented to them and all staff have been given their specific plan.
Received Local and National Recognition
2010 PRSA Thoroughbred Awards – First Place
2010 Delaware Press Association Communications Contest – First Place