By Brett Ridge | February 10, 2012
I was going to spend some time talking this week about the lessons that you and your board can learn from the recent Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood fiasco.
Bottom line: From a PR perspective, it simply pays to BE PREPARED.
Now for further discussion…what do you do when your parent-organization tells you to be quiet about something but you know that is exactly the wrong thing to do? What if at the height of a controversy you were told not to respond; to let the National Office take care of it.
But as Gail said in her recent post and Kivi Leroux Miller touched on in her article The Accidental Rebranding of Komen for the Cure, being quiet is committing suicide, and not slowly in this case. Social media has changed the game to where wildfires can spread incredibly fast, and not just across the street….but around the entire world in a matter of minutes.
If nothing else, make sure your Board is in agreement that you will have prepared something to say other than “no comment.” It may be as little as, “We hear you. We are listening. Your opinion is valued.”
To be clear, I am not saying you want to get into an argument on Facebook. That’s begging for bigger troubles. But I am saying, that simply ignoring what is happening is just not a realistic strategy.
Think of it this way, if a donor called you in the same situation, would you say, “We have no comment.”? Or would you try to at least give them the feeling that you are listening to them. You may not be able to tell them everything that you want to tell them, but you would at least validate their effort to call. Why would you treat people on social media any differently? You don’t need to give them a dissertation, but you can let them know that they are being heard.
Anyway, make sure to read Gail and Kivi’s articles listed above. And plan to make those lessons the basis of a planning session with your Board soon.