Part one in a two-part series: Communicating in Times of Crisis. Be sure to read tomorrow’s post on Developing a Crisis Communications Plan.
I’m sure you’ve read the news (or at least the tweets) by now. Yesterday afternoon, the AP reported that Komen for the Cure has decided to halt grants to Planned Parenthood, which were used for breast cancer screening for low-income women. According to the reports, Komen made this decision back in December based on a new policy that prohibits them from granting money to organizations under investigation. Because Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-FL, is investigating whether government money was improperly spent on abortions, Komen said its decision to stop the funding was final.
The controversial news spread crazy fast over traditional news and social media platforms. In the meantime, Komen for the Cure remained curiously quiet for nearly a day. In doing so, they missed an opportunity to strategically respond to the public discourse–or at the very least, save face.
In her blog post today titled The Accidental Rebranding of Komen for the Cure, Kivi Leroux Miller said: “I believe we are witnessing the accidental rebranding of what is surely one of America’s biggest and most well-known, and even well-loved, nonprofit brands. Komen for the Cure, it seems, is no longer a breast cancer charity, but a pro-life breast cancer charity.”
This is a brand they may not have chosen, but one that is now choosing them.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue of Life or Choice, there is a good lesson in this for all organizations. Every foundation and nonprofit needs a crisis communications plan—period. Not sure what a crisis communications plan includes? Find out in tomorrow’s post: Developing a Crisis Communications Plan.
Your opinion please! What do you think Komen for the Cure could have done differently to prevent this communications debacle? I’d love to hear your comments.