PR crisis deepens at Susan G. Komen

Since defunding—then re-funding—cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood, executives have bailed out and fundraising has dipped at the breast cancer nonprofit.

A second high-ranking executive at Susan G. Komen for the Cure has resigned, and, perhaps more devastating, the organization’s fundraising is taking a hit. It’s all part of the ongoing fallout from Komen’s announcement to defund, then reinstate funding for, cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood—a PR disaster that’s now more than a month old.

Nonprofit marketing expert Nancy Schwartz, president of GettingAttention.org, said it’s simply the latest failure on the part of the breast cancer awareness organization.

“The events around the defunding of Planned Parenthood are indicative of deep problems within the organization, cultural problems stemming from a disconnect between the organization’s stated values (health and well-being for women) and their actions,” she told PR Daily. “The strategic policy and communications debacles that followed the defunding express this more essential problem.”

On Tuesday, these deep problems materialized anew when Dara Richardson-Heron, chief executive of Komen’s New York City affiliate, resigned from her post. Several weeks ago, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Katrina McGhee said she would step down as of May 4.

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