By Patrick Horn

CHICAGO (April 1, 2017) — Katherine Kerr, a self-described “recovering journalist” and co-founder of Polaris Non-Profit Solutions LLC, offered a strategy for crisis communications in a workshop held during the annual convention of the Religion Communicators Council.

“A crisis is anything that threatens the operations or the reputation of an organization,” said Kerr, who gave examples of crises ranging from illegal activities to vandalism, arson, assaults, murder and natural disasters.

Warning that the question of crisis is not “if” but “when,” Kerr offered a six-step communication plan that begins with assembling a response team, gathering information, developing talking points, designating a spokesperson, engaging with stakeholders and sharing information.

The first step is assigning roles and responsibilities to the appropriate team members. Next, required information includes knowing who is involved and impacted, what happened and who bears responsibility, when the crisis happened and when informed, where the crisis happened, why it happened, how it happened, and whether it could have been prevented.

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