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COVID-19 Crisis Comms Triage Kit

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Open Source Google Doc

Open Source Examples/Resources Google Sheet

Social Media Hashtag: #Comms4Good 

Get the latest public health information from CDC and NIH.

Previous Roundtables:

August 11: COVID-19 Q&A with Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Richard Wenzel — Part 9 — Latest News/Updates

July 29: Virtual Roundtable: Systemic Racism, White Supremacy Culture, and Sustaining Momentum

July 21: Research Findings — How the Pandemic Changed #Comms4Good + What’s Ahead for the Field

July 15: Virtual Roundtable: Rebuilding Better

July 7: COVID-19 Q&A with Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Richard Wenzel — Part 8 — Latest News/Updates

June 25: Narrative + COVID-19 + Uprisings + The Future: The Role of Narrative in Building a More Just Society

June 17: Virtual Roundtable: Inclusive Communications When the World is on Fire

June 10: COVID-19 Q&A with Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Richard Wenzel — Part 7 — Latest News/Updates

June 2: Virtual Roundtable: MLK Advisor Dr. Clarence B. Jones on Racism, Protests, and the Path Ahead

June 1: Virtual Roundtable: Responding to Racial Injustice

May 27: COVID-19 Q&A with Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Richard Wenzel — Part 6 — Latest News/Updates

May 20: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Why Community Matters and How to Build It

May 14: COVID-19 Q&A with Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Richard Wenzel — Part 5 — Latest News/Updates

May 13: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Digital Advocacy during COVID-19

May 4: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: It’s More than the Message: Adaptive Leadership and the Role of Branding

April 22: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Making Meaningful Connections Across Difference and Spaces

April 17: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Writing Clearly and Concisely

April 15: COVID-19 Q&A with Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Richard Wenzel — Part 3 — Latest News/Updates

April 10: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Framing for Change During COVID-19

April 9: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Promoting Productive Action — Lessons from the CDC’s Crisis Comms Handbook

April 3: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Managing Remote Work

April 1: COVID-19 Q&A with Dr. Richard Wenzel

 March 27: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Media Coverage: How to Consume and Share News Responsibly

March 25: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Leadership Communications

March 18: COVID-19 Q&A with Dr. Richard Wenzel

March 17: COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Crisis Communications 101

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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