How to Approach Reputation Management for Nonprofits
C-suite executives have many things on their plates to manage. If reputation management is one of them, that’s great! If not, it should be. There’s no way to predict precisely what could come up that could affect a nonprofit’s reputation. Members of the C-suite can work to be as prepared as possible to address internal and external issues. As many nonprofit C-suites have already discovered, it only takes one unforeseen event to affect a nonprofit’s reputation. Benjamin Franklin once said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”
The best time to work toward protecting a nonprofit’s reputation is now. The best defense solution for members of the C-suite is board management software.
Reputation matters in all things great and small. Members of the C-suite have worked hard to distinguish their branding from that of other nonprofits and organizations. They’ve worked hard to gain the confidence of donors and philanthropists. They’ve invested in promoting and publicizing the greatest success stories of the people the nonprofit has helped.
When that one bad deed becomes public, the effects of reputational damage will quickly become evident. To begin with, a bad, or even questionable, reputation sends out big red flags to donors.
With a bit of help from electronic communication and social media, bad news will surely travel fast. Just as quickly, the news will spread to the individuals and families that the nonprofit helps and the event will damage relationships with them as well.
Boards are sure to come knocking on the doors of the C-suite members who are responsible for managing the day-to-day activities for the nonprofit. As the board will ultimately be responsible for any negative impact to the organization, they’ll be eager to probe the executive members to find out where things went wrong.
How to Approach Nonprofit Reputation Management Responsibly
You have only to review the headlines to learn from the mistakes of other nonprofits. C-suite members also need to protect against cybersecurity and protect their volunteers from harm.
One of the biggest headline makers was the Wounded Warrior Project, which had to defend itself against allegations of wasteful spending of donor funds. When the facts finally came out, sources revealed that the Wounded Warrior Project had spent nearly $2 million on meetings and events and over $26 million on conferences and conventions. Former employees called it extraordinary and excessive and some were afraid to be shown on camera for fear of retaliation. The media was quick to look at data from other veteran nonprofits to compare spending on administration versus how much money actually went for the benefit of veterans. Nearly the entire executive suite was fired because of the allegations.
Another major issue that C-suite members need to concern themselves with is cybersecurity. Hackers have no concern for the valuable work that nonprofits do. There are security risks with how executives communicate with each other. There are also security risks with hackers being able to tap into files that they share and how to keep personally identifiable information confidential.
Successful nonprofits put large numbers of volunteers to work. The C-suite has a moral responsibility to provide good working conditions for their employees and volunteers. Executives also have a fiduciary responsibility to keep their employees and volunteers safe from accidents and injuries. In addition to financial risks, not properly caring for employees and volunteers will likely impede the executives’ ability to find the help they need and to recruit volunteers.
A sure solution for addressing risk management, reducing cybersecurity risks, protecting personal information and protecting staff and volunteers is by implementing a board management software system.
A board management software system keeps managerial information secure while not locking up their time with obtrusive security codes and questions. The security and efficiency of board management software more than pays for itself in the benefits of nonprofit operations and reputation management.
Benefits of a BoardEffect Board Management Software System
A board management software solution by BoardEffect gives the C-suite and the board of directors a secure online platform to create a plan of action to protect the nonprofit’s reputation. The platform provides a collaborative space for doing risk management planning, creating a public relations response plan, developing safety planning protocols for staff and volunteers, and for general communications between the board and executives.
A board management software program provides a secure electronic space for executives to identify risks and the associated potential and severity. Risks can occur at various locations and facilities or with management or financial systems. Risks can also occur during programs and activities, placing employees and your program’s beneficiaries at risk. Saying the wrong thing can also cause risks and liabilities that damage a nonprofit’s reputation.
Having a secure online space to identify and mitigate these types of risks will drastically reduce the possibility of reputational damage. Executives can safely create a public relations plan if a crisis should occur. In the case of an allegation, the spokesperson will have quick access to all of the nonprofit’s documents and data in order to be able to answer any allegations directly and truthfully.
Take a Proactive Approach to Nonprofit Reputation Management
There’s too much at stake for nonprofits to take a passive approach toward reputation management. Risks in the nonprofit world are plentiful. Donors and benefactors easily recognize a solid nonprofit when honesty, accountability and commitment are evident.
Nonprofits that enjoy good reputations benefit in a multitude of ways. Board directors and C-suite members who take their fiduciary duties seriously will help their nonprofit fulfill its mission. Honesty, integrity and transparency go a long way toward inspiring confidence in the nonprofit’s ability to be financially sustainable for the long term. Reputation-conscious nonprofits will draw volunteers from the public who want to serve your nonprofit and will attract passionate and dynamic staff members to the cause. Sponsors, collaborators, donors and contributors will be eager to help. The overall result will motivate more people to seek help from your nonprofit. A board management software system is the central platform that makes reputation management happen.