Your organization should be prepared to use or defuse public sentiment generated around a controversial event. It’s no exaggeration to say that rebranding is sometimes the accidental result of a scandal, destroying years of hard marketing and PR work.A timely example of such an event is the recent announcement that Susan G. Komen will not provide new grants to Planned Parenthood for breast exams. The impetus behind the decision is based in pro-life/anti-choice sentiment: Komen states their decision to stop funding is because Representative Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican, is investigating whether government money was improperly spent by Planned Parenthood on abortions. Many others believe the decision has more to do with Komen’s senior vice president for public policy- who is openly against abortion and even ran a political platform based that stance.
We think both organizations have a great impact. In the past five years, Planned Parenthood and funding from Susan G. Komen have provided over 4 million clinical breast examinations. Our business HelpAttack! is not to choose sides, or hold up one particular cause as more worthy of donations than another – donors make their own decisions. We do, however, have tools for supporters to help Planned Parenthood, or another organization, respond to an event like this. Here are some examples of using HelpAttack! to harness public sentiment and create additional support.
- Give to Planned Parenthood every time Representative, R-FL, Cliff Stearns Tweets (@RepCliffStearns). His investigations are cited as one reason Komen is pulling funds. In fact, you can give based off of any anti-choice group’s or person’s tweets. Here’s how: http://info.helpattack.com/campaigns/give-each-time-someone-else-tweets/
- Give to Planned Parenthood with a hashtag such as #komen http://helpattack.com/support/3740/Twitter+Tag?tag=%23komen or give with every “For the cure” http://helpattack.com/support/3740/Twitter+Tag?tag=For+the+Cure
- Give every time Planned Parenthood Tweets http://info.helpattack.com/campaigns/give-each-time-someone-else-tweets/
- Give every time Planned Parenthood updates their Facebook page with news, information and resources: http://info.helpattack.com/campaigns/use-rss-or-atom-feeds-for-giving/
- Give with foursquare check-ins to Planned Parenthood locations: http://info.helpattack.com/campaigns/use-rss-or-atom-feeds-for-giving/
If you are looking for ways to help Planned Parenthood, or if your own organization is developing a plan to respond to a PR crisis, we hope the above ideas are useful! If you work with a nonprofit of any stripe or color, this is a reminder to ask yourself if your organization is prepared for polemic news and attention. What’s your plan?