Emergency Response Guide | npENGAGE

Emergency Response Guide

By on Mar 11, 2011 | NONPROFIT-FUNDRAISING

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Is your organization working to ready itself to respond to the needs caused by the earthquake in Japan? Convio wants to help you. Download and put our “Be Prepared When Your Mission Calls” rapid response fundraising guide to work for you.  

 Nonprofit Rapid Response

Rapid response is a top-of-mind topic for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes right now. After the Haiti earthquake last year, Molly Brooksbank posted 7 quick tips to taking action quickly in times of need and numerous other resources and learnings have been put out since with the issue at top of mind for nonprofits and charities around the world (see: 5 Social Media Lessons From the Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort by Geoff Livingston, Helping Haiti: Places to Donate, Creative Fundraising Ideas and Being a Smart Donor by Britt Bravo, How to Communicate in the Shadow of Disaster — Guidelines for Respectful but Effective Outreach by Nancy Schwartz, The Social Media Response to Disaster in Haiti by Amy Sample Ward and Text-to-Give Fundraising Campaigns Take Off by Joanne Fritz amongst others)

Being prepared for an unforeseen surge of donations is something every nonprofit should be positioned for, and the swell of attention doesn’t need to come only from a natural disaster. Unanticipated press coverage and subsequent attention on your cause can be the result of change of law or a court’s ruling. It may even be as simple yet unexpected as a pop culture figure bringing an issue to the forefront through controversy. The lesson far too many nonprofits learn the hard way is how to be prepared for unplanned events.

A few of the top takeaways from the guide include:

  • Respond Quickly — When communicating during times of crisis, simplicity and effectiveness are far more important than design or prose.  A straight-forward communication will help your supporters understand your organization’s position to the crisis and how they can support your efforts.
  • A quick response requires a quick setup — The more time you spend on approving messaging is less time you have to harness the energy and interest around your cause. Plan and prepare to the best of your ability so that you can respond rapidly.
  • Adjust Your Message — Sometimes messaging around an event requires sensitivity. But don’t let that inhibit your creativity to turn this concentration of awareness into something positive for your organization.
  • Know the Plan — Working quickly sometimes is accompanied by haphazard decision making. The unintended fallout of such mistakes can be missed opportunities, offended donors or worse, PR problems. The number one mistake any organization can make is not having the right message on the right donation form at the right time. Planning for these events and knowing your anticipated response helps you to minimize the opportunity for error and maximize your capacity to seize the benefits a media spotlight can provide.

The Guide outlines the above best practices in detail, provides additional best practices and tactics to follow and offers examples from nonprofit peers highlighting successful ways they’ve followed the guide’s tips.

Have any other lessons learned or tips to add to the list? Know of an organization who exemplifies how to respond rapidly in times of need? Share them here so the nonprofit community can be better prepared the next time the need arises.

This information was originally posted by Convio’s Molly Brooksbank in March of 2010. Read Molly’s post.

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