Communicating with Confidence and Dignity in Crisis
June 29, 2021
Award Winning Communications
~Communicating with Confidence and Dignity in Crisis~
It was a weekend in early December when I got the call. A Way Home Kamloops’ vivacious and driven Executive Director Katherine McParland had passed away and the Board of Directors needed assistance developing a communications strategy to inform their internal stakeholders – youth, advocates, and board of directors – and their external stakeholders – donors and supporters, media, and the community at large – of the sad news.
This kind of news starts to spread very fast and it’s imperative you get in front of it and it’s not just to be the first to say something. When you communicate well during a crisis, you are able to better proactively manage the messaging with consistency and transparency, to provide a sense of clarity of next steps, and in this case, to bring honour to a young leader who lost her life far too early.
We led the Board of Directors to create and implement a plan that included a media briefing, a press release to share details, and a communications strategy to deliver the tough news in a timely fashion during the COVID-19 pandemic which added all sorts of challenges.
Board Chair Louise Richards wrote a lovely kudos for our team a few weeks later: “Our organization faced the sudden and unexpected loss of a key staff person. As an organization with a high profile in the community, we knew we had to let staff, clients, and the public know that we were able to manage the situation. Aleece provided clear, insightful, and decisive advice, worked with us to craft a concise message, and managed our contact with the media. She was available any time we needed her and thought of all the angles that needed to be addressed.”
It is important to recognize that a communications strategy in a crisis isn’t just about managing your reputation – it is very much about being transparent with what is happening and to show a path forward for your stakeholders. Our team was honoured to receive a 2021 Communitas Award for Crisis Communications Implementation for our work with A Way Home Kamloops.
Communitas Awards were started in 2010 as an outgrowth of the pro bono recognition program of the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, a several-thousand-member group that honours creative achievement and fosters partnerships with charity and community organizations. As part to its mission, AMCP gives grants to community organizations and underwrites a large portion of Communitas expenses.
“By recognizing individuals, organizations and companies for their volunteerism and socially responsible business practices, we are hoping to not only bring attention to great programs but are working with community minded leaders to make the spirit of communitas an essential element of every business,” said Ed Dalheim, executive director of AMCP.
Our team at Amplify Consulting Inc. gratefully accepted this award in honour of Katherine McParland and thank A Way Home Kamloops for trusting in us to develop and help implement strategic and compassionate communications during this time.