How to Communicate When Something is ‘Going Down’

Members need information, but not too much information when something is ‘going down’.

Ripped from Marla’s Volunteer Relations Headlines, once again, an issue that I just managed for a client. This is for a youth leadership organization where we have adult and child members.

Situation: Volunteer reports concern about financial handling on the part of another Volunteer.

Status: My client organization decided to suspend all activities of this group during the financial inquiry. This decision was made because the group is super small and there was no one to take ownership of leadership during this time.

My Client's Dilemma: How to inform other adults about the status. Special notation; the person(s) under investigation would also receive this message.

3 Solutions From Marla:

When writing to a group to deliver ‘bad news’, be sure to:

  1. Stick to the facts – no superfluous information or information that can be misunderstood.

  2. WIIFT – What’s In It For Them – Deliver the information that they want to know that effects their membership and ability to participate, even during this time.

  3. Follow-up – Be sure they know how to contact you with information that may be helpful to your inquiry as well as ensuring that you circle back to provide them with outcomes. They don’t need the details of the outcome, just information that would apply to their own membership and participation, that’s it.

OK, so below is a stripped down version of the letter that I provided to my client. Be sure you fill in details as appropriate to your organization.

Hello (name),

It has come to the attention of the administration of (organization) that there appear to be financial irregularities in finances of (their group name).

As a result, we are temporarily suspending this (group) during our inquiry.

What this means:

  • (Group) is not permitted to meet or participate as a group while the inquiry is active.

  • There will be no financial transactions permitted on behalf of (Group) during this time.

What this means to your child:

  • Your child is encouraged to continue to participate as an individual member ….

If you wish to move your child’s status to individual, please (website) or contact (person/phone/email) for assistance.

What happens next:

  • You may be hearing from a representative of (Organization) during this time or if you wish to contact us with further information, please contact (Representative).

  • As this matter is resolved, you will be contacted with the outcome.

In the meantime, we appreciate your support and wish you and your child the best!



So, there you go. Do you see the FACTS, WIIFT and FOLLOW-UP? Good!

CLICK HERE to download this letter in Word format!!