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Almost Done: Your Crisis Communications Plan, Step Four

March 29, 2013

Actually, that headline is a bit of a tease: you’re NEVER “done!”

Step Four, in some ways the most important, is simple: Update your plan frequently.

Notice that the first field on that contact form I discussed last week is “Date Completed.” There’s nothing less useful than a database that’s out of date; that’s doubly true with your crisis contacts!

At least once a year, review your “what-ifs” scenarios.  Many things may have changed.  There may be new organizations or facilities in your community, or concerns that didn’t exist last year.  That means there may be new individuals you need to add to your Crisis Communications Contact Roster.

Be sure to reconsider the members of your core Crisis Communications Team at this point, too.  People leave, move on to other jobs, new people are hired, and new skills are needed. 

Perhaps there’s an intern with a particular skill that would be useful ― often, this is their facility and expertise with social media.  During their internship, you may want to assign them to be a member of your communications team.  They’ll be supervised with someone with more seniority and perspective, of course. But it can be a great opportunity to tap into knowledge that might not have been available internally when you pulled your plan together. 

On the other end of the spectrum, you might add a senior staffer with experience that could enhance your

existing team, such as a crisis they have encountered and surmounted, or expertise in an operations area where a crisis could occur.

At least twice a year, update your contact list and distribute it to all team members.  Put a reminder in your calendar for January and July ― and don’t “snooze” it for more than a day!

E-blast everyone on your list, attaching an editable copy of their latest form, and ask them to update it within a week.  If they’ve moved, been promoted, taken another job, and/or changed their home email-address in the past six months, they might not have thought to tell you, as well as their friends and family.

You may find that someone is no longer appropriate as a contact because of they’ve been promoted or reassigned. If their organization is still important to you, ask for a replacement and contact that person directly to confirm their status and gather details.

NOW you can relax – knowing you’ve planned ahead, and have added alerts for future updates to your calendar!Image

 

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