California State Parks Foundation (CSPF)
The California State Parks Foundation (CSPF or Foundation) is an independent, member-supported nonprofit dedicated to protecting, improving and advocating for California State Parks. It works with, but is not part of, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (California State Parks). Following revelations of financial irregularities at California State Parks, the Foundation was concerned its reputation could be tarnished by the issue, creating concern among donors. Rick and his team were engaged to evaluate the Foundation’s exposure to the state scandal and recommend ways to limit the impact on the Foundation.
The team conducted an extensive risk analysis of the potential crisis situation for CSPF through a series of in-person interviews with the Foundation’s senior staff and board members, as well as a comprehensive audit of their online presence, including their website, social media sentiment and annual report filings.
The overall reputation risk to the Foundation from its association with California State Parks was determined as minimal. There was limited media linkage between the Foundation and the problems at California State Parks. Close communication between CSPF and donors both before and during the situation also created an environment of trust that diffused the situation and reassured donors that their contributions were being used wisely.
To help avoid similar situations going forward, we recommended minor modifications in CSPF’s relationship with California State Parks. We also advised the Foundation to implement proactive communication strategies, including advanced communications training for key spokespeople.