Here's what to know:

  1. Expect the unexpected.  It’s not enjoyable to focus on the negative things that could happen to your organization, but it is the responsible thing for board leaders to do.
  2. There are two types of crises: emergencies and controversies.  Emergencies are unpredictable events that can create havoc for an organization or the people it serves and harm its ability to deliver on its mission. Controversies are crises that threaten the organization’s reputation. They blindside even the most prudent organization.
  3. Planning is key to successful crisis communication. It is impossible to know what sequence of events will occur, but having a crisis communications plan in place will help ensure that priority stakeholders are kept informed, that all factual information is stored in a critical location, and that there is a single spokesperson who can communicate on behalf of the organization in a convincing and reassuring manner.
  4. A crisis communication plan addresses five sets of questions. 
    1. Who is responsible for managing the crisis, and what are his or her duties?
    2. Where should the command center be for responding to the crisis? What resources will be needed?
    3. Who should be a part of the crisis control team, and what are its responsibilities?
    4. What information is appropriate to give to the public?
    5. Who will speak for the organization?

Read the full article on crisis communication at BoardSource.