The poor public relations display by the Suzy Komen Foundation is a blunder for the ages. I have seen a lot in my time as a media executive, but the handling of the decision to remove funding from Planned Parenthood was done poorly. Suzy Komen has every right to choose which organizations they provide funding to, but the announcements could have been handled much better. Planned Parenthood is a popular organization in their own right, so why the Suzy Komen Foundation didn’t test the waters with a public opinion poll surprises me. The potential for backlash was great especially if you aren’t out in front of the situation. The Komen Foundation has been playing defense the entire time and hasn’t even been playing that well.
In my experience I believe they should have made a public announcement that several of their funding commitments were going to be put under review due to a change in policy and direction of the organization. Following that announcement they should have done a public opinion poll to see which organization supporters they would have the greatest threat of backlash from. From there they should have determined a uniformed response if they decided to move forward with any decisions for funding cuts. That uniformed decision should have been followed with a show of resolve that they stand by their own policies and that any public backlash wouldn’t be met with a reversal of funding cut decisions. The Suzy Komen Foundation did a very poor job of even keeping their executives on the same page when publicly they were coming out with conflicting statements. The backlash that Suzy Komen Foundation received should be a warning to all organizations that act hastily when announcing major policy decisions. This will no doubt have an impact on the fund raising efforts for the foundation in the future. Aside from the money, the focus has been taken away from the cause of the foundation which is an even greater tragedy.