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Once the decision has been made to close, you’ll need to decide who to inform and how to inform them.
Closing any organisation can create uncertainty for those affected by its work. By keeping people affected by your closure informed of relevant and accessible information, you can reduce their concerns and avoid any misunderstandings.
This can also provide an opportunity for you to involve them in the closure and seek additional support or assistance.
It’s helpful to have a plan for your communications. You should consider the following.
Consider the main audiences you need to keep informed.
This might include:
News of closure may travel fast and no one will want to hear second hand.
Carefully prepare and schedule your communications. Make sure those most affected by the closure hear the news first. For example, volunteers and service users.
Explain the key reasons for the closure. Try and keep it to a few short, simple statements which explain why you're closing and the next steps in the process.
You need to communicate why you're closing as well as what the closure process will look like.
While you may want to tailor what you say to different groups, there should be commonality between what all groups are told.
For those most invested in your organisation, make face to face or direct contact the main communication channel.
Be empathetic and give people the chance to reflect on the impact your organisation has had.
Be honest about the implications of closure for your cause or the people you serve and explain what you’ll do to ease the impact of closure. While additional details and context may be useful, try to avoid being defensive or regretful.
Be clear about the finality of the decision. Share details of when and how your board made the decision.
Think about what roles people can play in closing the organisation.
For example, can people’s memories of the organisation be compiled as part of any closure event or process? Will you be seeking volunteers to assist with the closure?
If you can, give timescales and details of how people can be kept informed.
Responding to people’s reactions to closure can be a time-consuming task. Every situation will be different, but after the news is announced it’s important to monitor and engage with people’s responses.
Try to understand their perspectives and needs. Talk openly with them about the decision. Develop appropriate answers to common questions and evolve your initial communication and key messages.
You should bear in mind:
Important things to consider before deciding to close your voluntary organisation
Guidance on how to help people through the emotional and practical process of closure
Guidance on common situations charities face during closure
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