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Crisis Communications Plan Template

A crisis communication plan is a set of guidelines and procedures used to prepare a business for an emergency or unexpected event. It include steps to take when a crisis occurs, who is responsible for what, and how to communicate with key stakeholders. This fully customizable template (and completed example) will give you a head start in creating your own crisis communications plan!

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Why you need a crisis communications plan

When a crisis occurs, the need to communicate is immediate. If company operations are disrupted, customers will want to know how they’ll be impacted. Employees will be concerned and will want answers. The media will be knocking on your door and blowing up your inbox. All of these “audiences” will want information before the business even has a chance to assess the situation and begin communicating.

This is the reason you need a prepared and well-documented crisis communications plan. Your company must be able to respond promptly, accurately, and confidently during a crisis in the hours and days that follow. Many different stakeholders must be reached with confirmed information specific to their needs and interests. The image of the business can be positively or negatively impacted by public perceptions of the handling of the incident.

Our crisis communications plan template is fully completed as a sample/example, so you can see exactly how one might look in practice (rather than just filling in the blanks). Simply download it as a Google doc (this is what it looks best in) or Word doc and make the changes you need to customize it for you own company!

What you'll find in this crisis communications plan template

This 15+-page crisis communications plan template defines the responsibilities and procedures for communicating with internal and external stakeholders in the event of a significant, unforeseen business disruption or threat to the company’s reputation.

We’ve included:

  • The definition of a crisis and a framework for understanding the severity of the situation
  • The suggested formation of three key response teams: a first line of defense, a dedicated comms team, and a greater response team that includes department heads and other key stakeholders
  • An 18-step procedure and process that should be followed in the event of a crisis
  • A crisis factsheet template
  • A key message template
  • Examples of holding statements
  • Common FAQs from target audiences
  • A crisis debrief template
  • An outline you can use to work through either common or specific, pre-identified crisis scenarios


Download this template:

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