ASU Lodestar Center
Today the power and decisions of an organization’s top leadership are more apparent than ever. Susan G. Komen has been stumbling since the ill-fated decision to end its partnership with Planned Parenthood. Komen’s leadership responded quickly to the public’s and their supporters’ criticism by restoring their partnership days later, but the organization has not looked the same since. Recently, Komen’s president Liz Thompson announced that she will be stepping down in September but she leaves the organization with its long-term health in jeopardy; in some cases fundraising is down 20 to 30%, and as numbers for fall fundraising events come in, that figure may grow.
Susan G. Komen’s misstep is a loss for the entire nonprofit sector. Last year Komen was one of the most respected and well-known nonprofit brands, and served as a model for many organizations to aspire toward. Even for students of public relations crises, few predicted that Komen’s actions would prove to be this difficult to overcome. Like many others, I hope to see Susan G. Komen regain its form and come out of these events as a stronger organization, but the mistakes made earlier this year provide an excellent learning opportunity.