Adrianne Geiger Dumond


The recent surge in charges against CEO’s and senior officials for misdeeds and unethical behavior should cause all non-profit Boards to ask, ‘Are we prepared or should we be?” The Boards fundamental task in a crisis is to ensure that the organization operates legally and ethically.

Emergencies are unexpected events that cause confusion. A bad storm, a fire, flooding, the arrest of a well-known staff member can cause disarray for everyone – staff as well as Board. Wouldn’t it be wiser to have a plan in place? A crisis communication plan can be discussed and strategies identified in one Board meeting. Putting a plan in place eases the tension about handling a situation, maintaining reputation, and being prepared for the media – who always show up soon.

A recent BoardSource article (July 23, 2018) outlined the questions to be answered in comprising a plan.

  • Where are our vulnerabilities?
  • Who is responsible for managing the crisis, and what are his/her duties?
  • Where should the command center be for responding to a crisis?
  • What resources might be needed? (human resource specialist, lawyer, finance official)
  • Who should be part of the crisis control team, and what are its responsibilities?
  • What information is appropriate to give to the public?
  • Who will speak for the organization?

It is understood that particular people who are good for a role now may change. But having a copy of the plan with notes from the Board meeting discussion will provide comfort to all – especially for the Executive Director/CEO who must lead the process now.

After the crisis is over, it’s important to visit the plan, again, and make any necessary revisions.

Author:  Adrianne Geiger Dumond, Executive Coaches of Orange County,