Nonprofit Organization Communication: Risky Business
Fabienne T. Cadet, Ryall Carroll
January 1, 2019
Strategy & General Management
nonprofit, communication risk, bettering society, business communication, human welfare
St. John's University
This paper highlights the role of nonprofit organizations in communicating risk. Nonprofit organizations have emerged as vital actors in not just working toward the benefit of human welfare and bettering society, but also making society aware of hazards or risks that exist. The approach used to communicate risk is a critical element that ultimately will lead to the success or failure of a nonprofit organization’s mission and objectives. Finding ways to communicate risk is a challenging task that requires being able to first make people aware of the significance or value of an act/idea or existing state, communicating the danger at hand, and then drawing on the causal relationship between the two. Although a major function, the literature on risk communication of nonprofit organizations is scarce. This article draws on the relational theory of risk, which includes three elements: object at risk (value), risk object (danger), and association (Boholm and Corvellec 2011). We recommend that the best way for nonprofits—and in some instances other organizations—that need to communicate risk is to communicate this risk through the use of narratives.