Nonprofit & Trustee Director’s Alert! Watch your organization’s reputation.

Nonprofit & Trustee Directors Alert!  Watch your organization’s reputation.

In contrast to business firms, nonprofit and trustee boards can be against a brick wall when the reputations of their organizations go south.   In the commercial environment, the directors can be in a position to take swift actions to halt the decline, as Tylenol did in the 1980s when outsiders compromised its products. Nonprofits have a built in problems to acting with the same alacrity. Directors and chairs rotate too frequently.  In additional, for-profit organizations often have the financial resources to retain outside counsel.  Few nonprofit organizations can afford the same action level and support. 

Here are few suggestions to remedy the situation:

        * At the minimum, have some modest crisis management plan in place. Review it annually.

         *Appoint someone to monitor Internet information sources.  Some monitoring sources are free, like Google Alerts, and the service does a good job recording most Internet citations where your organization is mentioned.  Other fee paid services are available. 

  • Alert all board members to the reputational risk issue.  Even unsubstantiated rumors need to be brought to the director’s and management attention immediately.
  • Have an internal “hot line” available so that volunteers and employees can report information without embarrassment.
  • Require the CEO to immediately report all reputational comments to the board chair, so that the two can review the information and take action. 
  • ATTENTION CANADIAN READERS:  I have international readers ever day, but I am pleased to report that Canadians consistently account for 10% or more of all readers.  I would appreciate your comments on the issues that draw Canadians to my blog. Thanks.

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