Risk, Issues & Crisis

International charity

How did we support a long-established international charity deal with revelations of sexual misconduct?

Challenge:

The charity has been established for several decades and specialises in providing camp-based learning experiences for children and young adults.

In the wake of the #metoo movement the charity found itself facing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct by volunteers and paid staff, all of which had the potential to generate high-profile, adverse media and social-media coverage as soon as they became public knowledge.

The charity’s in-house communications team lacked both the resources and  experience to deal with this kind of situation, needing help on all fronts.

Action:

We facilitated a two-day reputational risk workshop with senior figures from the charity, to help them start addressing the situation as a structural and cultural strategic priority, rather than a series of reactive, one-off events.

In immediate response to each individual case we helped the charity tailor appropriate crisis communications materials for use with the media, and for direct engagement with international stakeholders such as parents, staff, volunteers and commercial supporters.

These were backed up with emergency crisis media training (conducted online with participants in multiple countries), plus in-depth interview practice with a practicing broadcast journalist.

Result:

The charity has recognised the need to update its corporate culture to fully reflect the expectations of modern society—and ensure that consistent safeguarding procedures are adopted and followed at all levels of the organization.

It is now prepared to face a sudden uptick in media interest should any of several ‘pending’ cases enter the public eye.

Media spokespeople have been identified and trained for adverse questioning, plus there are social media monitoring and engagement guidelines in place.

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