Planned Parenthood reports success in the first campaign of its new focus on online communications. As reported in Philanthropy Journal, , Planned Parenthood waged an electronic campaign to spur citizens to voice support for the Supreme Court’s Roe decision that established a woman’s right to legal access to an abortion and laying the groundwork for its interim president’s testimony last September to the Senate Judiciary Committee on John Roberts’ nomination to be chief justice
In less than eight weeks, that effort generated more than 125,000 email messages from Planned Parenthood supporters enlisting their friends, with more than 100,000 individuals signing a campaign petition in August alone.
This campaign to activate citizen advocates was one of the first steps in Planned Parenthood’s new focus on harnessing online communications. Another core element was the hiring of the Planned Parenthood Online team (3 1/2 staff members) who are charged with learning how to best use the Internet to provide online health information and services; communicate with existing and future supporters to increase revenue and advocacy work; promote and protect the Planned Parenthood brand; and best serve customers.
The launch of a new Planned Parenthood web portal in 2005 was the Online Team’s first success. Prior to that launch, users searching for a topic related to Planned Parenthood such as reproductive health services or for opportunities to get involved would find over 100 affiliates competing with each other to present their results. The team realized that this frustrated users, when the organization needed to provide that health information or opportunity. In response, after four years of planning, Planned Parenthood relaunched its website as a single port of entry to national and dozens of affiliates.
This is a great model of an organization adapting itself to integrate online communications into the way it works. Let’s hope that the online team works hand-in-hand with the "offline" communications team. Good going Planned Parenthood.