How NOT to handle a communications crisis. Lessons learned from Komen for the Cure

If you have been following the backlash that started yesterday afternoon, sparked by The Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s withdrawal of funding for a pro-life group in America, and watched as it quickly escalated across social networking sites, you will have witnessed what Kivi Leroux Miller calls “the accidental branding” of a non-profit giant.

Now I am not going to debate the rights or wrongs of SGK’s decision here, but I do want to point out to you the inevitable fall out for any organization which chooses to jump into a highly controversial area of public debate (and the abortion debate is hugely divisive in American politics) without a communications strategy; then compounds the damage by staying silent, thereby losing control of the dialogue while others take it over. It really is a fascinating study in how a communications crisis can escalate, particularly given the power of social media.

Kivi Leroux Miller has written a great post outlining the sequence of events which unfolded yesterday and it serves as a timely lesson so you don’t make the same mistake on whatever hot button issues your organization might be wading into.

Related 

How the Susan G Komen Foundation just torpedoed their brand

3 nonprofit PR lessons from the Susan G. Komen debacle 

 7 PR Lessons Komen for the Cure Didn’t Know It Was Giving You 

Komen In PR Mess Because of Planned Parenthood Decision

Komen Provides Excellent Crisis Management Case Study