In what is becoming a classic case of crisis communications mismanagement, the Susan G. Komen Foundation continues to feel the fallout of its decision to cut off financing to Planned Parenthood. In a report on NBC’s Nightly News, reporter Lisa Myers detailed the on-going impact of the decision that was made earlier this year. You can see the NBC Story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/ns/nightly_news/#46828303.
The Komen Foundation, known for its pink ribbons representing breast cancer survivors, raises much of its donations through local events such as the “Race for the Cure.” According to Myers, race registrations for a Fort Worth, TX event are down 40%, donations at an event in Southwest Florida were down nearly 30% and an event in Louisiana saw a decline in donations of 27%. The story also featured a major donor from New York City who has stopped supporting the Foundation.
Not only is the Foundation taking a hit financially, the initial decision is also costing senior executive their jobs. The Chairman of the Board of Directors has resigned; he was replaced by a previous Chairman. In addition, three senior executives have also recently resigned citing their own “personal reasons.” All three are reported to have opposed the original decision to cease funding of Planned Parenthood by the Komen Foundation. The Foundation’s Founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker, remains under pressure to resign.
When not handled properly, a crisis will cost an organization time, money and customers, as exemplified in the report. For executives who are unable to effectively communicate during a time of crisis, it can cost them their job. Currently the CEO of the Foundation remains on the job, but her position is precarious, primarily due to a poor initial response and ultimate handling of the situation.
As the situation continues to unfold at the Susan G. Komen Foundation, remember this: “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will. And when someone else tells your story, it won’t be the story you want to be told.” For more information about crisis and strategic communications, call the Fallston Group at 410.420.2001. Send email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Fallston Group is a crisis management and communications company.