How can our orgs communicate effectively in the middle of two huge crises - 1) Police brutality and misconduct in Baltimore, spurring response by community members fighting for their rights and lives; and 2) Nepal’s crushing earthquake, and the millions whose lives will be impacted for years to come?
This is an extremely delicate challenge, whether the crisis is human-driven (as in the Baltimore police actions) or a natural disaster.
FundRaiser: We are republishing this blog post on responding to disasters because it is so helpful for nonprofits on how to respond when the public's attention is focused on a disaster. Following Nancy's guidelines can help you stay centered, appropriate and helpful under challenging circumstances.
What is the place of nonprofit communications in the wake of disaster, particularly when this most recent crisis of epic proportions—the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan—is rightly dominating our minds and conversations, as well as the media?
That’s the subject line of this morning’s email from our local JCC, asking for my input on its member survey. My immediate response was to delete it, because it’s all about the JCC’s needs and not about what members like me need. At least that’s what the subject line conveys!Has your organization ever alienated its audiences doing something like this, something totally narcissistic? Here’s what’s really annoying: The JCC folks do get it right in the first sentence of the email itself — There is only 1 week left to take our online JCC feedback survey. Please take a few minutes to complete it. Your opinion is extremely important as it helps us focus our improvement efforts on the areas that matter most to our community. We hope to hear from all of you!
But that’s the only sentence in the entire wordy email that speaks to serving the wants and needs of us JCC members. And most folks won’t even get there because the subject line is so JCC-focused.
Here’s my response to a fantastic question raised by one of our colleague nonprofit communicators this week. Eager to hear your thoughts! Q: Should I include an ask in announcing a big win? Tomorrow we’ll email supporters to celebrate a recent victory. This win has not been a focus in our emails to folks on this list, but is something our organization is responsible for (and supporters will care about).
I want to keep supporters excited about our impact, and motivated to give during our year-end campaign (we’ll email a year-end appeal later this week). It seems easiest to just send a quick victory email sharing the great news and linking to more detail on the win. But I wonder if it’s best urges folks to take a Thank you action, e.g. “Thank President Obama for this good thing!” Keep in mind I have to send the year-end email later this week, and can’t rework that content (it’s part of a series).