Crisis Communication Lessons from Planned Parenthood
Anatomy of Strong Crisis Communication: What Planned Parenthood Did Right
- Prepared – It already had a crisis communication plan in place that it could tailor and put into action quickly; it recognized more attacks were coming and prepared its supporters to brace themselves.
- Decisive – It responded quickly (with the facts in hand) and decisively through written and digital channels (email, video, Twitter).
- Empathetic – PPFA’s response struck the right tone. It was strong and did not concede wrongdoing but acknowledged that the optics weren’t optimal.
- Engaging – Planned Parenthood’s supporters are passionate and ready to act – through Twitter, blog posts, emails to Congress, etc. The group used the power of personal stories to connect with people on the issue.
- Connected – PPFA prioritizes building and maintaining strong ties with allies and decision makers willing to stand in support of the organization
This is a preview of ComNet15 Breakout Session Let’s Talk About Race: Communicating Effectively for Social Change After Baltimore and Ferguson, sponsored by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Perception Institute
For the past century, our understanding about race has been grounded in our troubled racial history and its legacy of enduring inequities. While these inequities are thrown into sharp, public relief by incidents such as the violence in Ferguson and Baltimore and murders in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, it is the dehumanizing, everyday narrative of race that causes them to persist. The very experience of race is deeply connected to our emotions and innate fears, and causes ambivalence about what strategies and policies we should support that will lead to racial justice. For many, merely talking about or even noticing race makes people anxious.
By Dave Biemesderfer
The giving sector deserves credit for many things, but efficiency is not always one of them. For as long as there have been foundations investing in worthy causes, there have also been critics rightfully pointing out the duplicative, even wasteful ways with which the business of grant making often gets done.
- Changing public opinion can be a long, uphill climb.
- The first step to securing a policy victory is identifying the one point you want to change the public’s mind on. Then, ask yourself if changing opinion on that point will make it easier to enact a policy change.
- Embrace your cause and don’t be afraid to address it directly — the public will respond to authentic campaigns.