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Coronavirus Crisis Comms Triage Kit

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Open Source Google Doc

Open Source Examples/Resources Google Sheet

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Get the latest public health information from CDC and NIH.


COVID-19 Q&A with Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Richard Wenzel

COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Crisis Communications 101

COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Leadership Communications

COVID-19 Media Coverage: How to Consume and Share News Responsibly

COVID-19 Q&A with Dr. Richard Wenzel — Part 2 — Latest News/Updates

COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Managing Remote Work + Communications Teams

Coronavirus Crisis Comms Triage Kit:

We’ve started a Coronavirus Crisis Comms Triage Kit — to share and crowdsource best practices, resources, and examples of effective crisis comms from foundations and nonprofits covering many of the tasks you’re likely attending to.

It will be better with your help and contributions.

Please use it, share it, add to it and help us make it useful, clearer, and better — in the spirit of being helpful, it is open source and available to anyone — not just Network Members

*This is a live, evolving, open crowd-sourced document. Please add examples, links, tools here

The Basics

When communicating about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, how can you be clear and effective? What are the basics? How can your messaging help and not harm? Here are some crisis communications tips and examples.  


    1. Best practices for crisis/emergency communications 
      1. Brevity. 
      2. Facts.
      3. Clarity. 
      4. Calm.
      5. Perspective.
    2. Lead with and focus on the facts so people know what to do. Don’t recommend 15 different directions for people to go in. 
    3. Be clear and explicit. Don’t create more noise and confusion by editorializing or injecting your opinion. 
    4. Here is an example of a message with clear info (bolded, bulleted, follows health officials recs) from Surdna Foundation. Here is another example of thoughtful, community-oriented messaging from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.
    5. See the CDC’s Crisis Communications Handbook.
    6. Communicate equity and inclusion from the beginning. Many Asians are experiencing increased racism and xenophobia. Do not use the term “Chinese virus” or the like. Communicate explicitly to your employees and leadership team that at your organization only the terms Coronavirus or COVID-19 will be used.


  1. Out of an abundance of caution, and in order to be good neighbors, we suggest you cancel any plans to meet in person starting now.  
  2. Consider virtual gatherings or conference calls, it’s important to help our communities come together and share information. Here are some tools:
    1. Zoom (free accounts for meetings up to 45 minutes)
    2. Google Hangout (good for smaller groups)
  3. Here is an example of a conference postponement from NTEN and another from PEAK Grantmaking. Here is an example of moving an in-person gathering to online from ComNetworkDENVER and another from ComNetworkDETROIT. 


      1. Don’t contribute to the noise with your opinion or perspective, focus on the facts
      2. Only quote vetted medical experts from the CDC, WHO, and NIH
      3. Lend your audience to the CDC, WHO, and NIH right now. Amplify their message by sending it verbatim to your community.  
      4. Share facts, not fear. 
      5. Here is an example of amplifying the CDC from the Nonprofit Times and an example of sharing resources from credible health officials from the Skillman Foundation. 


  1. Understand and act as if this is an emergency, because it is.
  2. Do whatever you can to flatten the curve.
  3. Here is an example of following recommendations clearly and with urgency from the Colorado Health Foundation and another from the Nathan Cummings Foundation. 


  1. We encourage you to share resources and examples with The Network by adding to this document or to this sheet.  
  2. Does your organization have a new travel policy or new event protocol — share it here.

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