Recently, we shared why it is essential to weave communications strategy throughout the nonprofit partnership facilitation process. This week, we’ll take a look at two challenges that can arise during the process and ways strategy and planning can help your prevent or handle these sticky situations.
1) Premature Announcement – This can happen so quickly and easily it is best to discuss with potential partners up front within the first couple of meetings. Some starter questions to ask:
- Have the potential partners discussed if they want these discussions to be confidential or transparent?
- Have the organizations participating in the partnership discussions communicated to employees that these discussions are confidential?
- If either of the organizations call from a reporter or another outside inquiry, have the organizations designated respective spokespeople? Do our employees and boards know who to refer reporters to?
2) Staff Rumor Mill – A shred of information taken out of context can really spark a fire inside an organization. Employees deserve to be informed at the right times before the rumor mill gets out of hand. Some starter questions to ask yourself:
- Have I identified “who needs to know what information and when” before sharing information inside my organization?
- Do my employees understand what a nonprofit partnership facilitation means?
- Do my employees understand their roles during these discussions?
- Have I addressed employee questions in the most open and honest way possible?
- What can I do to help my employees stay focused on our mission during this facilitation?
These questions will help you and your team decide the best way to form your communications plan throughout the facilitation. What else would you add to this?