ICC Deploys Strategic Crisis Communications Plan for SIM USA to Minimize Damage and Drive Donations
In the summer of 2014, SIM USA missionary Nancy Writebol was one of the first American missionaries to contract the Ebola in Liberia. Upon her diagnosis, events quickly unfolded, leaving the organization and its staff both in Liberia and in the U.S. vulnerable.
SIM USA did not have a crisis communications plan in place, nor relevant experience in order to develop a working framework. The ministry contacted InChrist Communications for expertise and consulting.
InChrist Communications worked with SIM USA to develop a strategic approach that governed all media and stakeholder outreach and mass media communications. Through a series of well-managed media events, press releases, media advisories and other strategies, InChrist Communications was able to help SIM USA contain damage, drive donations and drive ministry awareness while remaining in control of the message.
- Ministry’s lack of a formal crisis communications strategy
- Ministry’s lack of a formal communications or public relations department or strategy
- Limited in-house communication assets
- Controversial subject matter
- Life-and-death time pressures
- Crisis escalations, as additional missionaries acquired the Ebola virus as the campaign was being deployed
- Competition for media attention with Samaritan’s Purse
- Lengthy duration of the crisis
ICC Strengths and Assets:
- Background and news judgment of ICC personnel as working journalists and faith-based PR experts
- Hands-on crisis communications experience
- Strong project management skills
- Rapport with upper management and line personnel
- 24/7 availability
- Ability to make major decisions and work quickly under tight deadlines
- Personal relationships with international, national and local media
- Access to online media contact databases
- Distribution capabilities directly to desktops of targeted, opted-in journalists
- Strong news writing
Strategies and Tactics:
- Strategy development and counsel client through crisis
- Make sound media relations decisions
- Host major press conferences
- Provide international, national and local media with complete and timely information
- Arrange interviews and talk show appearances
- Place op-ed pieces
- Coordinate videography, photography and creation of other assets
- Successfully worked through numerous life-and-death crises regarding Ebola patients and quarantine issues.
- Ongoing coverage by every major media outlet in the world.
- No negative news coverage.
- Obtained more than 30,000 broadcast, print and Internet news clips over a six-month period, with equivalent ad value of $300 million-plus.
- Ebola Fighters named Time magazine “Person of the Year” in 2014. SIM missionary doctor Jerry Brown featured on cover.