Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards heard whispers that the Susan G. Komen foundation would stop funding Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings from an anti-choice blog in early December. But she shrugged it off as the kind of bullying rumor that often circulates in her world. (Until Planned Parenthood, she says, “I had never worked with an organization where there were people that literally got up every day trying to figure out how to keep us from doing our work.”) Then the Komen foundation president called just before Christmas to say it was true. “It came as a total surprise,” says Richards, who requested a meeting with Komen’s board to revisit the matter but was denied.
It was only after an Associated Press reporter broke the story in late January that Richards let loose the deluge. “Disappointing news from a friend” was the subject line on Richards’s January 31 late afternoon e-mail to more than a million supporters. The first Facebook posting on the subject received 2,438 shares.
Four days later, Planned Parenthood boasted $3 million in new funding; 32,000 new Facebook fans; 22,000 people who “shared” the freshly inaugurated Planned Parenthood Facebook badge, leading to upward of 100,000 new viewers of the site; the very public support of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who donated $250,000 to the organization; vast television and radio exposure; and… the Komen funding back in place.
How exactly did Cecile Richards pull off this trick?
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