6 Tips to Prepare for Handling a Crisis in your Congregation

By Cherrie Graham

Aileen Katcher (photo by George Conklin)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 4, 2014) — According to the Institute for Crisis Management, 82 percent of most crisis situations are about people. Eighteen percent encompass the “other” categories, including natural disasters. Management and employee issues are by far the most likely crisis situations organizations will face.

A crisis is often defined as a situation that will be a decisive force in the future of your organization, either for good or for bad. Aileen Katcher has handled a multitude of crisis and media situations in her career as a public relations specialist working with health care communities and high-profile clients. In that time, she has handled everything from a celebrity about to give birth to a local congregation dealing with legal issues.

Is this a sudden crisis or something that's been smoldering? Are we ready to make a statement or do we need more information? What will be the long term impact of this situation?

Katcher suggests several steps to help you prepare for a crisis:

  • Create scenarios of the likely opportunities for crises to occur in your organization
  • Draft foundational messages about your organization's beliefs
  • Have an distinct implementation plan ready
  • Prepare and maintain contact lists (constituents and media)
  • Emergency kits (things like batteries, chargers, flashlights, computers, flash drives)
  • Monitor social media and use sites like Addictomatic to keep track of what is being said about your organization

Cherrie Graham is a member of RCC and Communications Specialist at Communication Ministries.

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