If you haven’t already heard by now, Invisible Children (IC) has launched a new campaign by releasing a video. The campaign, KONY 2012, aims to increase awareness about Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lords Resistance Army, in order to raise support for his arrest.

This new campaign went viral basically overnight, and from a public relations perspective, it is brilliant. The amount of coverage it has gotten over the past two days is phenomenal. Although, there has been an overwhelming amount of backlash from people all over the country.

The main complaints against Invisible Children are:

  1. They are a shady organization; financially speaking.
  2. They don’t cooperate with the Better Business Bureau
  3. They have a low Charity Navigator rating
  4. The Ugandan army, who IC supports doesn’t have the best reputation.

Invisible Children just issued a response to all of these claims, but because I am curious by nature, I decided to do a little research of my own. This is what I found:

  1. As far as being financially shady, all of their financial records are on the IC website. Including their 2011 annual report. (You can decide for yourself how you feel about that).
  2. IC did not officially give its information to the BBB (IC explains the reason why they aren’t listed in their response to the backlash)
  3. They have 3 out of 4 stars on Charity Navigator
  4. For this issue, I have to start by saying there is no country in the world whose military doesn’t have some (or sometimes current) skeletons in its closet, the United States included. This doesn’t make it right,but it is true. The Ugandan Army has been investigated by the ICC for crimes committed during the 20 year war with the LRA. Although Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo did note that the  LRA had the worst documented cases.

Personally, I think the idea that individual people can indeed change the world is a fantastic thing to promote. Also, whether you’re a fan of Invisible Children or not, why wouldn’t you want to promote knowledge about Joseph Kony? The International Criminal Court wants Kony on 33 charges. These charges include crimes against humanity and war crimes. He has terrorized the people of Central Africa for 20 years. Under his direction his army has mutilated, raped, enslaved, kidnaped and killed tens of thousands of people.

I do understand this campaign deals with an extremely complex issue and I know that there are plenty more arguments for and against the campaign and the Invisible Children organization. But, this is what I saw were the most common issues brought up in blogs and on twitter. Personally I like that this controversy has made it so that thousands of people (myself included) have to do their own research and to think for themselves. After everything that I’ve read these past two days I’ve come to three simple conclusions to a not-so-simple problem.

Do I think that finding and stopping Kony is as easy as sharing a video on facebook and twitter and buying a bracelet? No. But I do think the awareness the campaign is spreading is a step in the right direction.

Do I fully support the Invisible Children organization? I haven’t quite made up my mind about that one, I still have some more research to do,  but I did buy my action pack…. so we’ll see!

Do I think Invisible Children really knows their what their doing when it comes to social media? Absolutely!

“Never underestimate the power of a small, dedicated group of people to change the world; indeed, that is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead


Susan G. Komen… PR disaster?

There’s no denying that Susan G. Komen has gotten themselves into a big mess last week.

I know its been written about and re-written about but I chose to analyze this case in a Public Relations point of view. This case shows just how much power the public has and how much of that power stems from social media. In this situation the pubic relations department and the organization itself was hopeless and stood no chance against the fury of the public.

Image per IGBtimes

So for those of you who aren’t quite up to date on the whole debacle here is a VERY simplistic summary of what happened. Susan G. Komen headquarters decided to pull funding to planned parenthood because it was under government investigation. There was an immediate backlash from the public, donors and political figures. In  addition many of the Komen’s individual affiliates such as Susan G. Komen Connecticut and Oregon chapters did not agree with the policy change. After a couple of days of a media frenzy Komen issues a statement reversing the original decision.

What I think is so interesting about this whole episode is that it only took Komen a couple of days to reverse their position. Which, in my opinion happened for two main reasons. 1. They lost support of many donors and influential people while planned parenthood saw an increase in support and donations. 2. Social Media. As soon as the nation hear about the news it didn’t take long for the whole world to start speaking about it, and it took even less time for  people to begin commenting and showing their disgust. Facebook and twitter were blowing up with comments about Susan G. Komen.

This shows that it wasn’t the media that made an impact it was the viewers that made an impact on the Susan G. Komen’s decision to reverse their initial decision. It is only now that the public relations department can begin to mend ties again.

Forward Thinking

This post is in response to Inspiring Generosity’s blog post; 7  Things Nonprofits Should Focus on in 2012.

It’s no secret that come January there are a plethora of articles that seem to center around how to make this year you’re best year ever. Well this is no different for companies or businesses. Everyone likes to put in their two cents about what this year is all about. Some are good some are bad and some seem like they could pertain to any year. But I really enjoyed Inspiring Generosity’s article.



The 7 things to focus on are:

  1. Mobile (as in [smart] phones)
  2. Voice Recognition (Siri)
  3. ZMOT
  4. QR codes
  5. Small Gifts
  6. Brand Building
  7. Going for the Gold (the olympics)

I liked this list because it had some basics that should be remembered year after year. Some things that seem obvious but are often times not given enough attention. Also, things that I had no idea what they were.

Basics: Brand Building, Small gifts; no gift is ever too small.

Obvious yet under appreciated: Mobile phones, voice recognition and the Olympics.

Didn’t have a clue: ZMOT, QR codes.

So I did little research and figured out what ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) and QR codes were. It turns out that these are both very useful tools for branding and spreading information about an organization.

Overall each of the items on the list tied into one another somehow. Which is essentially how all tools should work. They should some how connect to each other in order to best promote an organizations  mission.

The biggest take away I got from the article was “think progressively, but proceed with caution.”



Can nonprofits survive on Pinterest?

It seems like these day the newest social media site that’s taking over the world is Pinterest. First it took over my sorority, then the U of Oregon campus and now is getting more and more attention from  people in my social network. Despite the fact that it isn’t as big as twitter or facebook (yet) doesn’t mean you can write of  this site just yet. Fashionistas, designers, architectures, cooks, magazine and even news agency seems to be flourishing on the site but is it a place for nonprofit organizations?

The about section on Pinterest showcases that its main focus is for people to catalogue “things” that interest them. Such as fashion, food/recipes, design, architecture, etc. It is dominated by categories that are visual but I find that more and more non-profits are joining the site and even more people are talking about how to make it work for these types of organizations.

My first thought was there is no way  nonprofits can possibly use this site. I have since changed my mind and am currently following 7 organizations and counting. (To my disclaimer not all non-profits have caught on to this trend so there aren’t that many to follow.)

But what matters is that I have

changed my mind and here’s why:

  1. I started actually following non-profits on Pinterest. (Probably should have done that before making any judgments.)
  2. Reading articles and blogs about how beneficial the site is, how to start your company on the site and ideas on how to utilize the site.
  3. I realized that non-profits, just like most things in life, are not a one-size fits all formula. Some organizations do have interesting visual components. Such as; humane societies, UNICEF, water.org, Surfrider, etc.

I think even though the outreach of nonprofits to pinterest is slow-coming, there is a definite place for these organizations in the Pinterest world.


Diving in

Diving in

Hello World! Welcome to my blog, this is a little introduction as to who I am and what this blog is for. I’m a journalism student at the University of Oregon majoring in Public Relations and Magazine journalism. I have … Continue reading