It’s the last thing we want to happen at our event, but unfortunately it’s sometimes inevitable. Crisis. We’ve seen crisis happen at big-name events such as the Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. A devastating, and tragic event.
If something like this were to happen to your organization, do you have a crisis strategy in place? If so, is it done correctly? We’ve put together 3 musts when it comes to developing a crisis management strategy and how to do just that:
Build a strategy for different possible scenarios and HOW you will respond as a team
Developing a thought-out crisis strategy is necessary if your organization is hosting more than 200 people within one space. Why? Because if there isn’t a plan in place and a crisis were to happen, there would be no order on how to handle that amount of people in a panic. You don’t want to be figuring out how to handle it the day of or in the moment. That’s why it’s extremely important to form a strategy with your teams/organization beforehand.
So, what’s the first step to doing that? Gather your immediate team 2-3 months prior to the event and have them think of different possible crisis scenarios, create a Google excel sheet, and plug in how each team would handle something unforeseen. Planning weeks in advance would allow all of your teams to be ready if a crisis were to strike. How your organization responds from an onsite perspective, social perspective, and communications perspective is crucial. Have a plan for EACH department.
Talk with local police stations to make sure they are aware of the event
A large event comes with a big responsibility for the attendees you are hosting. Their safety should be one of your top priorities when planning an event. A pre-event step that should be taken by every event team is speaking with your local police authorities. Chances are, a crisis will not happen. However, in the case that it does, having police ready and alerted will make their response time and awareness that much quicker. It also saves the time of explaining the location of the event, where it is being hosted inside the building, or who they should be in contact with- in the event of an emergency. Talking with police before the event and making them aware will save time, and time in the event of an emergency is absolutely everything.
Final meeting with all teams to go through crisis strategy
Hopefully by the time you reach about a month out from your event, you have a final “all team” meeting on the calendar. Your logistics team, your communications & social media team, your volunteers, your staff, and even consider your vendors. All teams should be at this meeting and everyone there should be on the same page with how the organization will respond as a whole by the time they leave. Communicate with your teams clearly. Run through possible scenarios. How will you communicate the crisis on social media? To the public? How will your teams respond on-site and who is the main point of contact if all chaos breaks loose? All of these points are musts when it comes to talking points at your final meeting.
We hope that your organization’s event never has to experience a crisis. However, like I always like to say, better safe than sorry. And by that I mean- build a crisis strategy. Being aware, being prepared, and having all teams on the same page is crucial when it comes to hosting an event. For you and your attendees!
For more event tips, check out our guide: 9 Steps to Event Planning below.