Following the sad news that the Queen has passed away, many of you may now be working out the implications for your organisation, staff and beneficiaries. We now know the date of the state funeral to be Monday 19 September – here are some key things for your charity to consider over the coming days.
Before you do anything else, check any scheduled social media posts, emails, or other communications that may have been written before the Queen passed away. Comments or phrases drafted days ago may now be inappropriate or have the potential to cause upset or organisational damage if posted or shared.
It may be appropriate for your organisation to issue a public statement of commiseration, especially if your work is connected to the royal family, you have royal patrons or supporters, or your work is of national significance.
If you have a social media policy covering staff, it may be worth re-briefing it to reduce the likelihood of any staff making insensitive comments that may cause upset or reflect negatively on the rest of the organisation.
Look at any events that you have planned over the next week to ten days and decide whether it is appropriate, or even possible for them to go ahead.
Monday 19 September, the day of the state funeral, will be a bank holiday and a day of national mourning, with many public services being disrupted.
If you have events scheduled to take place at public buildings that day you will almost certainly have to reschedule, similarly if you have members of the royal family, local officials, or other directly connected people due to speak or attend.
Even if there is no specifically related reason to reschedule an event that day, consider that many people may choose not to attend (including any speakers, hosts, or guests of honour), or be too preoccupied by events to really take part.
Any meetings you might have scheduled with Ministers, MPs or government officials in the next week or so are likely to be cancelled, as they focus on formal arrangements. Be patient, their admin staff will have hundreds of meetings to move so don’t expect quick replies. Be prepared for meetings to be pushed forward quite a bit and work through the implications for you and your work should that happen.
If you have a royal patron, especially if it was the Queen, you’ll likely have a set of agreed protocols to follow regarding suspension of activities and other steps to take. Get them out, and work through the required steps and plan around any implications for your activities over the next few weeks.
Support your staff
People will have a whole range of reactions to the news. Some of your staff will be deeply upset and emotional about the news, and others may be largely unaffected. Talk to them, and be open to people feeling very differently, and give them space to react and come to terms with the news if they need it. Consider giving people time off on the day of the state funeral if it falls on a normal working day.
It currently seems likely that for formal accession of King Charles III will take place this Saturday, but the public coronation is unlikely to happen for some time, possibly in three to four months. For many charities, the considerations will be similar once a date for that is announced, with the additional opportunities that this more celebratory occasion will bring.