March 26, 2012; Source: Wall Street Journal
The losses incurred as a result of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s now-rescinded decision to defund Planned Parenthood continue unabated and are beginning to show the depth of the damage caused by that decision. While some Komen affiliates are struggling with declining participation and revenues in their Race for the Cure events, Eric Brinker, son of Komen founder Nancy Brinker, declared himself the most recent to resign from the organization – in this case the board of trustees.
Perhaps more telling is the fact that in an annual Harris Poll released today, Komen’s brand took a deep dive. Komen is one of 79 nonprofits measured by the online survey, which queried 37,500 people; Komen descended from a number two ranking in a 2011 survey to a number 56 ranking in 2012 between Jan. 31 and Feb. 20.
In a statement from Robert Fronk Executive Vice President and Corporate Reputation Practice Head at Harris Interactive says, “Since it was first surveyed in EquiTrend, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has in many ways represented the ‘gold standard’ among non-profits measured in our study, consistently reporting high scores for quality, the willingness to recommend and, most importantly, trust. Now, Komen finds itself near the bottom of the pack on all of these items.” The prepared statement goes on to point out that “Stand Up to Cancer™, the American Cancer Society® and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® – who, like SGK, are dedicated to the early detection and treatment of cancer – rank in the top 12 brands among all non-profits surveyed. Additionally, these three brands rank in the top four among health-focused non-profits, with Stand Up to Cancer ranked highest.” Going on to say that, “Negative feelings towards Susan G. Komen have also skyrocketed in the past year, from an extremely low 4% in 2011 to 18% now, a 350% increase.”
Komen has always, since it was first included in the study in 2008, ranked first or second among all nonprofits. As the Wall Street Journal notes, “The poll evaluates a brand’s overall strength, connection to consumers and donor interest, among other measures.”
Eric Komen’s position is reportedly to be filled by a representative of an affiliate. On another note, local executive directors report that they feel a new level of inclusiveness by the parent group toward the affiliates. “We’re getting a greater voice,” said one executive. –Ruth McCambridge