Monday, October 1, 2012

We've Moved!

Welcome to Frugal Guidance. This blog is no longer being expanded. But feel free to visit us at Frugal Guidance 2.. The new blog is a self-hosted Wordpress blog and will be expanding with new material, email lists, and even marketing a new version  of Andrew Brandt's book about job hunting on LinkedIn. We'll also be updating some of the material we presented here, too.

You may still browse our older posts, but please visit us for new material about technology, social media, job hunting and their intersection with frugality.

Our first new posts:

Thanks to all who have visited us here, and we look forward to seeing you at the new site. Leave a comment and let us know that you stopped by.

And thanks to Google and Blogger for hosting this site.

Frugal Guidance 2.

Questions? Email me.


Packing boxes graphic courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at

Friday, August 24, 2012

Linked In-terface Issues

During the past week, LinkedIn has been rolling out a new interface for its member profiles. In the usual LinkedIn fashion, they neither announced the change, nor offer any explanations to help users cope with the new interface, nor do they say why they made the changes. This is, unfortunately, LinkedIn's normal operating procedure. 

The same attitude is reflected in the actual changes made. Most LinkedIn bloggers and users agree the new appearance is nicer. The user photo is a bit larger. There's more white space and the upper part of the profile (what media people call "above the fold") is cleaner and simpler. But therein lies the problem. In exchange for good looks, LinkedIn has sacrificed the user's abilty to quickly "push" info out to the reader. 

This is hard to explain to anybody who may not have actually seen the new interface. (If you haven't, you are excused for a few minutes to take a look at your or your friends' profiles and see what I'm talking about.)

Yes, most of the same info is available, but hidden. If you haven't already done so, be sure to click on the down arrow next to the Send a message button of somebody you are connected to. Here you will find a menu that let's you:

  • Suggest a Profile Update (a rather cheeky suggestion to start the list with),
  • Recommend, (a non-cheeky and very nice thing to do), 
  • Find References (useful to HR and other people), 
  • Share
  • Export to PDF
  • Save (Which works IF you have a paid LinkedIn account. If you don't, it sends you to a LinkedIn ad page which suggests that you pay for the service.)
  • Flag (useful if you run across an obviously fake LinkedIn profile).

Question to LinkedIn interface engineers, why would a user automatically connect all these functions to sending messages?

However, if the profile you are looking at is for a 2nd degree connection, you see a "Send InMail" button with an attached arrow with a shorter menu:

  • Get introduced,
  • Find references,
  • Share,
  • Export to PDF,
  • Save.

If you aren't connected to the person, you have even fewer choices:

  • -Find references, and
  • -Save.

The choices might be different for those who have a paid LinkedIn account. I wouldn't know.

Click on the Rolodex-card looking button, you can also see contact info for the owner if they supply it: email address, snailmail address, blog and other links, and phone number. The one thing they don't include, which really ticks me off, is the vCard download button (which is what you used to get if you clicked on the Rolodex-card-button. (More on that in a sec.)

So, there's a lot of information available here, but much of it is tucked away behind buttons and clicks. To find some info, like the name of one more employer, or your most recent Status Update, the reader has to scroll down. Other info or tasks are behind a tab or button. The layout of the contact info *is* nicer and it is nice to see it in one place.

However, if you work in HR, recruiting, or sales, you don't see much of the info you're used to without resorting to an extra click or two or three or four. If you believe that extra clicks mean less productivity, then that is a problem. Previously, at a glance, you could see the usual info plus a status update, look at the blog or internet links, and see up to three recent employers. That may have been enough for the reader to decide whether to look further.

The information was pushed out to the reader better in the older view. If you're a job hunter, the change is particularly important, because it makes the people looking for you a little bit less efficient and makes you easier to pass over. (It also puts an exclamation point over the need for a good, professional photo and keywords in your headline.)

OK, now to that vCard link. Most LinkedIn users probably didn't know it was there and won't miss it, that's true. However, those of us who use Outlook or another contact manager on our computer often clicked it. I, for one, liked to add a new contact's photo and contact info to Outlook, along with the date that I connected, and a few relevant comments. (Whether I actually follow up and USE that info is another matter, and might be  the subject of an "I really should do this..."-type blog post.)

Yes, that functionality is still available IF you see your new contact's photo pop up in your home stream. (Click on their name and, when the little popup window, well, pops up, you still see the vCard button -- which also means that LinkedIn is using the same icon for two different functions.) But having somebody show up on your stream is a bit random. Also, that popup screen doesn't pop up if you're viewing from an iPad.

You can also see the same thing in Groups if somebody's post comes up in the discussion list. That's also pretty random.

And, yes, you can download a vCard file of ALL your contacts from your contacts list, but that's like using a machine gun to get rid of crabgrass. It's overkill and unusable for adding one or two contacts.

And, yes, you can copy the info onto your clipboard, then paste it into the notes section of a new Outlook form, and then parse, copy, and paste the info into the correct fields, but that was what the vCard was supposed to automate in the first place.

So, I give LinkedIn a definite Thumbs Down on vCard usage. (And I suspect they will be getting rid of the vCard option on those popups when they get around to it.)

Yes, I agree the new profile look is prettier. No doubt about it. But I don't recall ever hearing a LinkedIn user say, "I'd be so much more effective on LinkedIn if only they had a prettier interface that looks more like Google+!"

So on appearance, I grade the new interface a B-plus. On improved usability, I'd grade it D-minus. On helping users learn how to use the new interface, I'll give LinkedIn the usual F. 

If you are a job hunter on LinkedIn, you better check and make sure that your photo looks professional and that your headline includes the key words for the job you want. And, of course, you need to also do many other things on your profile to make a professional impression.

And if anybody knows of a third-party software solution to add a vCard to my profile, please let me know. It won't help me download any info, but I can at least show LinkedIn that I miss it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Discovering Full Names on Linkedin

Part 2 of Guerilla Search Techniques on LinkedIn

As discussed in our previous post, if you do a People search on LinkedIn and get results with only last initials (or no name at all), don't despair. You just need to do some more work. Find a partial name you think will be a useful contact. Click on it and look at their profile. There may be several ways to find their full name:

1. Check their profile. They may have their full name elsewhere in the profile, along with their email address. (If they entered their full name in their Professional "Headline," as described in the earlier part of this series, you already see it.)

2. If they have links to a Twitter account, a blog, or an online résumé, click on the link the find their full name. (On most browsers, use the right-click button to open the link in a new window or tab.)

3. Also check their business name. If Alfred B. is owner of Baumann’s Flowers, there’s a pretty good chance that his last name is Baumann.

4. See if you already share a group with the prospect. If you do, click on the link to the group and use the group's Members search tools with the first name and initial. If necessary, copy the first few words of their Headline, too. You should be able to find the full name for the fellow group member. Click on that search result, and now you may see the profile with the full name. (You could conceivably join a group just to search for that contact, if all else fails.) This technique might not work with the newer open groups, though, and LinkedIn is getting better at hiding some people’s last names in groups, too. (For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they would want to.)

5.  Here’s my favorite trick and it works almost every time. Look at your prospect's Recommendations, both given and received.

If your prospect has a recommendation, see if the person entered the full name of your prospect when writing the recommendation. If not, click on the recommender's name to go to their profile. Even if you can't see the recommender's full name, look on the right column for Firstname Recommends. Click on the link to See all Recommendations. There, you should find the partial name of your prospect. When you click on the partial name, you go back to the original profile and now see the full name.

The same technique usually works for recommendations written by your prospect. Go to the Recommendee's profile and search for who gave that recommendation (located at the bottom of each recommendation). This will only work, of course, if the the recommendee approved the recommendation for viewing.

6. If all else fails, check the names of others who have looked at that profile. If you find one from the same company who is also a connection to you, click on that profile and check their contacts. They might already connect with your prospect and you can see the full name. You may need to check several profiles for success with this technique.

If none of these techniques work, then it’s time to ratchet up the search to include Google or Bing. The next part of this series will show how you can do advanced searched for LinkedIn using the search engines.
Keywords: LinkedIn, search, names, members, guerilla, recommendations

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making Yourself More Visible to Others on LinkedIn

Part 1 of Guerilla Search Tactics on LinkedIn

 LinkedIn is The Sphinx of the social media networks. The (mostly anonymous) people running it tend to make major changes in the interface and features without any announcement, explanation or even instructions. Often, the changes are useful to the average user (improved interface, the ability to follow companies, job search tools, etc.), but sometimes they do something that's obviously designed to make more money, the users be damned.

That's what LinkedIn did October, 2010. In the good ole days (say, the previous September), when you did a People search on LinkedIn, your search results could include 1st level connections, 2nd level connections, 3rd level connections, members of your groups, and either the first name of non-connected people or just their title. For your 1st, 2nd, 3rd level and group connections, you would see their full name and could click on their link and see their full profile. You could search all your groups at once (handy if you belonged to a lot of groups), search for new LinkedIn members, and use other criteria.

Then, without any warning or explanation, LinkedIn began changing search results. 1st and 2nd level connections show up as before, but 3rd level connections and even fellow members of groups often show up with only their first name and last initial. Click on the link to their profile and you still don't see their last name. If you click on the link that says "See Full Name," you get a window which says, in effect, "Either get more connections or cough up $99.95 per month, sucker." LinkedIn also now requires a subscription to search for people using the categories: Groups, Years of Experience, Interested In, Company Size, Fortune 1000, and Recently Joined. (Function and Seniority Level are new paid search categories, too.) So, LinkedIn now has the dubious distinction of being the only social media site that makes it HARDER (or more expensive) to search for other people on their network. (Don't get me started on their pricing policies.)
You might respond, "So what? I don't use the People search that often. I don't try to convert 3rd degree connections into 1st degree connections, either." This may be true, but if you're job hunting, you want hiring managers, freelance HR people, and even old friends TO BE ABLE TO FIND YOU!

That's where these changes really bite you in the ankle. Sure, HR professionals who regularly search on LinkedIn for potential employees will cough up the higher fees to get better search results.  But what about hiring managers who only do occasional searches, small business owners, consultants, freelancers, or people who are unemployed and looking for work?

Fortunately, there are several things you can to do make it easier for others to find and contact you. There are also ways you can search for these missing names, both on LinkedIn and off. In this post we’ll show how you can make yourself more visible on LinkedIn. Then we’ll look at some guerilla techniques for finding other people on LinkedIn.

Make Yourself Easier to Find – Even When LinkedIn is Trying to Hide Your Name
First, make a simple change on your profile. On the LinkedIn menu bar, point at Profile and click on Edit Profile. Then, click on Edit, next to your name. Below your name, you'll see a block for entering your Professional "Headline". All you need to do is repeat your name in this block. Instead of just entering your job title, write something like, "Andrew Brandt writes frequently about his love/hate relationship with LinkedIn." (Better yet, write something appropriate to your profile.) You decide whether to use first or third person in the headline, just be consistent.

Some people do put their email address here, too, although that might be a technical violation of the LinkedIn terms of agreement. I suggest you make your email address prominent somewhere else in your profile. (NOT in your name field, though!) Hiring professionals often like to see email addresses rather than go through LinkedIn with expensive InMails.

After this, go to Settings (on the top right of the page). Under Profile Settings, click on Public Profile. There, select the Full View option (or think carefully if you still want to restrict info on your public profile). You should already have customized your LinkedIn URL to add your name. If not, do it now. Save your changes.

Another way to make sure your full name always shows on your profile is to ask people who are writing recommendations for you on LinkedIn to include your full name in your recommendation. (Most people only use first names.)

(You used to be able to customize the link title to your blog and internet connections with your name, too. LinkedIn, playing cat and mouse with its users, no longer lets you do that.)

If you belong to groups, check your group settings to see if the group name and logo shows up on your LinkedIn profile page. (In the group menu—not the top-of-the-page menu—point at More...  and click on My Settings.) If you want others from the group to be able to find you more easily, click on Display the group logo on my profile. If you belong to 10 different job hunting groups, though, you might not want to show all of them, especially if you're still working. (Your boss might read your profile and not like the idea that you're trying to jump ship!) There might also be a few groups you want to keep private, like that Cat Lovers Who Knit group that doesn't exactly fit your Construction Foreman professional title.

Of course, the best way to make it easier for others to find you on LinkedIn is to have more connections so you show up more frequently as a 1st and 2nd level connection. You don't have to become a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) who accepts any invitation on LinkedIn. (You can bet that open networkers are feeling vindicated nowadays, though, after taking so much heat from LinkedIn.)

If you belong to a group and send an invitation to a even just a couple of LIONs in that group, you'll make it a lot easier for all your group members to find you. (Invite other group members and friends, too.) You should do this, at least, for your professional groups related to your job hunt.
Another way to help HR people find you (especially if you are in a job hunt) is to add the Skills application to your profile. Go to the More menu and select Skills beta. (The beta, or test, indication may come off soon, since it’s been around for some time, now.) Add keyword skills to create a list on your profile. With this list it will be easier for HR people and others to find you based on a search of keywords.

If you want to add optimized search words to your profile (actually, repeating certain keywords in your profile so you show up higher in LinkedIn’s search ranks) you need to first find out which words you should emphasize. Here’s one way to do this:

1. First, find 3 or 4 detailed job descriptions for positions you think would be perfect for you.

2. Copy and paste these descriptions into a single text file. (If you use Word, save the document as a text only file.) Copy this entire file onto your clipboard.

3. Go to the website

4. In the box below where it says, “Paste in a bunch of text:” paste in those job descriptions from your clipboard and press the Go button.

5. This creates a word map, where the most frequently used words (other than “a,” “the,” and the like) are presented most prominently. This gives you a pretty good idea of which keywords are most important in your dream job. Make a list.

6. Make sure those keywords are used frequently in your LinkedIn profile. The top one or two probably should be in your headline. Repeat those and others in your summary and make sure they also show in your Skills section that we described earlier.

7. Do a search for those top job skills with LinkedIn’s Advanced Search tool. If you still don’t show up on the first page, look at profile for the person on the top of the list and count how many times they use the top search terms.

The important thing is NOT to make it look like you’re trying to load up your profile with lots of search terms. Writing style and communication are more important. But this might make it easier for hiring managers to find you on LinkedIn.

Next: Finding Full Names on LinkedIn, even when LinkedIn is hiding them

Keywords: LinkedIn, search, jobhunting, HR, guerilla, keywords, SEO

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Link-Fest for all things LinkedIn

Have you ever wished it was easier to find information about LinkedIn from all the different resources on web? Well, as of today, it IS a bit easier.

Nathan Kievman, the founder of LinkedStrategies and a frequent speaker, trainer, blogger and writer about all things LinkedIn, has just created a wonderful new central resource of links for finding all kinds of information about LinkedIn.

The list includes sections on:

  • LinkedIn Facts (historical and current)
  • Official LinkedIn Resources
  • Official Groups for LinkedIn (including some for employees only)
  • Statistics on LinkedIn Membership Worldwide
  • A list of almost every published book written about LinkedIn with links
  • A collection of LinkedIn Profile SEO optimization guides, including videos
  • Articles on Career Management and Job Search using LinkedIn
  • And, naturally, a collection of articles and resources on how to network on LinkedIn
  • There's also a short list of links to some of LinkedIn's best known consultants and writers

As you would expect from a LinkedIn consultant, the site appears to be well tagged and SEO optimized for easy finding through the usual search engines, too.

This is also a good place to start your own research about LinkedIn. Be sure to look around the rest of Nate's site, too, for blog posts, books and more.

Tags: LinkedIn, Nathan Kievman, blogs, consultants, LinkedIn facts, social media

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Planned Parenthood vs. Komen, Part 2


Social Media Planning is Important. Yes It Really Is!

Years ago, when still working as a professional bassoonist in Shreveport, Louisiana, I was hired to perform in an orchestra and accompany a community chorus in Texarkana as part of a fundraising event for the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure. The Komen Foundation was prominently mentioned in the musical parts that we performed from as well as in the programs. It was actually a fun gig. The chorus was enthusiastic and so was the audience. What I noticed then and later was that the people supporting Komen, in concerts, in runs, and even corporate sponsors, were all doing so because of the cause. Their volunteers included people all along the political spectrum.

This week, when AP broke the news that Komen was withdrawing funding from Planned Parenthood, you could practically hear that bipartisanship cracking, falling and crashing all around the nation, almost as if it were a massively loud challenge-level of Angry Birds.

The defunded organization, Planned Parenthood, will likely be noted in future textbooks on social media on the adroit way they responded to the news. (After all, they had had over a month to plan.) They deplored the politicization of the granting process by the world's largest breast cancer foundation and also announced a fund-drive to replace that money along with a lead gift from a previously little known foundation. All of sudden the social media were alive with the debate. People began raising money on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. News organizations reported on grass roots efforts to raise money, which climaxed in a $250,000 pledge from Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, who announced that funding for breast cancer should not be political.

The Komen Foundation was silent for nearly two days, after which the group's founder and CEO, former Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker was seen, alone and looking unhappy, on her website's video, and later in news interviews. First she was saying that Planned Parenthood didn't meet their criteria because they were involved in a Congressional investigation. Later that story changed somewhat and it was a decision based on metrics and proving outcomes based on the amount of money given and patients served.

But Ms. Brinker wasn't served well by former supporters, nor by former critics. Anti-abortion groups were quick to crow about the apparent defunding of Planned Parenthood. Early in the week, Americans United for Life President and CEO, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, (who in her press releases and news interviews showed she cannot say the words "Planned Parenthood" in any sentence without adding the words "abortion," "death" or "killing") was one of the first to crow about the decision. There was no doubt of moral victory on her part, even when Ms. Brinker was trying to convince others it was merely a matter of funding criteria.

Clearly, Ms. Brinker and her foundation were surprised by the public and media reaction. Even though they repeatedly stated that uterine politics were not involved, other evidence was piling up to suggest otherwise.

We also learned, from postings on another pro-life website,, that Komen had blocked funding to five cancer research centers last November because of their support of embryonic stem cell research. The defunding was in the amounts of $3.75 million to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, $4.5 million to the University of Kansas Medical Center, $1 million to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, $1 million to the Society for Women’s Health Research, and $600,000 to Yale University. These were amounts far higher than Planned Parenthood's gifts, but had barely, if ever, been mentioned by the media. However, other schools (including Penn State, which is now definitely under investigation, although not for its cancer research) retained their funding.

We also learned that Komen had, last April, hired Karen Handel as senior vice president for public policy. Previously, Ms. Handel had run for the Republican nomination for Governor of Georgia on a pro-life platform and had then announced she was against any government funding of Planned Parenthood. Ms. Brinker later stated that Ms. Handel had no involvement in the decision, but it's pretty clear that she must certainly now be involved in the culture at Komen.

Also, the Think Progress website,, announced that former press secretary and prominent right-wing writer and speaker, Ari Fleischer "was secretly involved in the Komen Foundation’s strategy regarding Planned Parenthood. Fleischer personally interviewed candidates for the position of 'Senior Vice President for Communications and External Relations' at Komen last December."

With all due respect to Think Progess's scoop, to anybody who knows Dallas's philanthropic and business community, the fact that a former Bush White House conservative is involved with a Dallas-based charity is pretty much a non-news item. What would have been controversial is if a liberal Democratic Yankee had been hired to do the same thing.

In the meantime, the comments on Komen's web pages, their Facebook pages, on Twitter, and in the media kept coming in, including people who were Komen activists (and apparently at least one or two directors of Komen chapter offices), passionately disagreeing with the foundation's actions.

Finally, Ms. Brinker threw in a towel of sorts. She announced that they will revise the criteria under which Planned Parenthood chapters were denied funding to include only real, legal investigations (rather than those apparently fake, political Congressional ones). The news media announced that it was a reversal of their earlier stance, although it probably, really wasn't. No funding was restored. The change is only that the same people who had applied before can still apply again. Of course, Planned Parenthood hardly needed the money now. As the result of their campaign, they had raised over $3 million in three days. That was more than four years worth of Komen Foundation donations.

That this decision would please nobody was immediately apparent. Liberals and moderates, who felt Komen was bowing to political pressures from the Right to Life community were hardly mollified. Those who opposed Planned Parenthood and abortions felt betrayed or just blamed the liberals.

An AP/Wall Street Journal article quoted Tony Lauinger, state chairman for Oklahomans For Life, "We were very happy to see (Komen) discontinue funding to Planned Parenthood."….  "For an entity ... that's trying to prevent breast cancer across the world, it's directly counterproductive that the organization would be giving funds to Planned Parenthood, which is the largest provider of abortions in the country."

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, sent out emails and social media messages Friday aimed at "tens of thousands" of abortion foes, urging them to withhold donations to Komen. Days earlier, when the original decision was reported, he'd urged people to donate to Komen.

Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest grudgingly admitted that Planned Parenthood had done a better job with social and press media, saying that it was “unfortunate that the Komen Foundation had come under vicious attack from Planned Parenthood as part of a media-savvy campaign.” In her own release, she continued, "This week we have all been witness to highly partisan attacks from pro-abortion advocates and an ugly and disgraceful shakedown that highlights Planned Parenthood’s willingness to pursue a scorched-earth strategy to force compliance with their pro-abortion agenda."

Clearly, lest there be any doubt, Dr. Yoest does not like Planned Parenthood.

In contrast, the most gracious language appeared to come from Planned Parenthood's own Cecile Richards, who thanked Komen for their "reversal" and hoped the two organizations will continue to work together in the future. Of course, it's much easier to be conciliatory when you've won the public debate and also raised $3 million in a few days.

The fact that media emphasized many of the good things that Planned Parenthood has done, and that the various other health services that they provide are worthwhile and supported by millions of women, and the fact that they raised so much money, will stick in the craw of many pro-life organizations' supporters.

There's one other aspect of Planned Parenthood's media blitz that will continue to gnaw at and anger pro-life groups, like Dr. Yoest's supporters. When Planned Parenthood complained that the breast cancer research was being politicized, they committed the unforgivable sin of being right.

If there is a somewhat sympathetic figure in this whole tempest, it might be Nancy Brinker of Komen. She founded the organization in 1982, after the death of her sister by breast cancer. It's easy to assume that her quest to cure breast cancer is personal, passionate, sincere, a life-long pursuit, and above politics. For thirty years, the foundation became famous for its ability to mobilize people and grew into one of the largest and most visible cancer groups in the world. Whether she became the victim of the anti-abortion crowd surrounding her, or whether she lead the change is unknown and may never be known.

Meanwhile, the Komen Foundation staff and board may need to go to some clinic (other than Planned Parenthood) and have their ears checked. Their lack of anticipation of how their policy changes would be seen in the social media, and their tone-deaf non-response for a long time after the issue became public, was truly unprofessional and inexcusable.

What is likely, though, is that Komen's future races might be more lightly attended, the pink ribbons a little less prominent, some corporate sponsors may be a bit harder to find, and donations from long-time supporters may decline. If they are made up by new donations of pro-life groups, that may be small consolation for a group that used to be seen as above politics and focused only, solely, on a mission to defeat a deadly disease.

That is indeed sad.

Tags: Komen, Planned Parenthood, cancer, politics, abortion, pro-life, pro-choice

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Women’s Health Organization Scorned

Dispute Surprisingly Shows Which Organization is More Adept at Social Media and PR 

This week has seen a social media and press explosion between two of the country’s largest and well-known health agencies: The Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer organization and Planned Parenthood.

Regardless of how you feel about the news or the organizations, a fascinating part of the media event is how the two organizations have or have not used social media and the press to present their views on the program. The sad part is that, on initial impression, the Komen Foundation might have permanently damaged their ability to unite women across the political spectrum to their cause.

The facts in brief:

Just before Christmas, the board of the Komen Foundation decided to remove grant funding for any organization that is under congressional investigation. Unfortunately, that was a rather narrowly defined decision because it was also decided only one organization that received grants from Komen was under investigation, Planned Parenthood. The investigation? One by a single pro-life Congressman, Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida. This decision ended five years of funding of several Planned Parenthood clinics by the Komen Foundation, funding which had been criticized by various anti-abortion/pro-life groups.

After learning of the decision, Planned Parenthood was rebuffed in its efforts to discuss the matter with Komen leaders. It took a long time, at least a month, before the decision was reported in the press on January 31, 2012. However, Planned Parenthood clearly had done a better job preparing for the social media and the press than Komen. In fact, Komen appears to have been surprised by the reaction and unable to respond for nearly three days – which may have made all the difference in the debate.

Kivi Leroux Miller, author of Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog, yesterday did a communications analysis of the two organizations, and finds that Komen was unable to even post a tweet about the issue, while online activists were suddenly mobilizing against them.

Let’s compare media exchange between the two organizations.

When the news of Komen’s decision was broken by AP on Monday (Jan. 31st), the initial public reaction was entirely from Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood's national website offered a press release, clearly posing the defunding as a political act, stating: "Anti-choice groups in America have repeatedly threatened the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for partnering with Planned Parenthood to provide these lifesaving cancer screenings and news articles suggest that the Komen Foundation ultimately succumbed to these pressures." Then, in boldface quotes:

“We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure. Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America."

Planned Parenthood, in the same press release announced the creation of a new “Breast Health Emergency Fund” to restore the funding for those screening exams, and announced the lead gift of $250,000 from the Amy and Lee Fikes’ foundation.

Curiously, the Amy and Lee Fikes’ Foundation is unknown on the web except from this press announcement. has no record of it, although there is a legitimate Leland Fikes Foundation. This suggests the foundation may have have been founded to deal with the Planned Parenthood controversy, which is fine. But it points to a possible aspect of Planned Parenthood’s preparation which may be another story remaining to be written.

This press announcement was followed by online campaigns by a variety of individuals on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, as well as political groups like, to raise money for the Emergency Fund. In fact, if early reports are accurate, online pledges have already replaced a good part of the lost funding from Komen with over $400,000 already pledged.

According to Planned Parenthood, the Komen foundation funded 170,000 breast cancer screening exams over five years, out of 4 million exams performed over the same period. Putting this in perspective, 170,000 clinical exams is a lot, but it appears (if we’re really comparing apples to apples here) that Komen funded 4.25% of Planned Parenthood’s breast screening exams. This is far from insignificant, but certainly not a major hit to the overall funding of the program. Seeing that Komen’s funding went to just 19 of the Planned Parenthood’s 800 health centers, though, those individual centers would probably be affected severely.

One activist, Alison Fine, co-author of The Networked Nonprofit, quickly set up a web page called “Komen Kan Kiss My Mammogram!” announcing the goal of raising $1 million for Planned Parenthood. As of 4:55 pm on Feb. 2nd, they claim to have raised $3555 from 809 people. Perhaps this is a drop in the financial bucket, but it may be representative of many of the suddenly mobilized activists.

A distributed cartoon has been making the rounds


Komen seems to have been surprised by the controversy. For three days there was nary a tweet or a Facebook update concerning the issue, let alone a press release on their web site.

Finally, late Wednesday or early Thursday, Komen’s website posted a video from their founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker. In brief, she stated that the defunding is a result of a long review on funding priorities and never mentions Planned Parenthood by name. She also restated her organization's pledge to serve all women who need breast cancer screenings.

It seems reasonable to think that Ms. Brinker, as a former Ambassador and CEO of one of the nation's best-known charities, has some experience with media. Unfortunately, her video demeanor shows her as not only serious, but worried. Also, apparently reading from notes just off camera, she keeps her eyes glued to the script and not quite on the camera. This has the unfortunate side-effect of not making eye contact with the viewer. Reading some of the early comments under the video, this has produced a flurry of negative comments, some of them going far beyond political to the personal.

Although the Komen organization claims that the decision to defund was not political, the response of at least one anti-abortion group was almost gloating, according to Fox News:

"As a breast cancer survivor, I applaud the decision made by the Komen Foundation to discontinue their partnership with the billion-dollar, abortion mega-provider, Planned Parenthood," Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest said. "The work of the Komen Foundation has life-saving potential and should not be intertwined with an industry dealing in death."

Sadly, even Presidential politics are being dragged into the affair, “About 250,000 people have signed a petition on the website, a political supporter of President Barack Obama, calling on Komen to reverse its decision, Sarah Lane, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.” Italics mine. Quote from

The fact that supports Pres. Obama wouldn’t appear to have anything to do with their decision to create a petition. Chances are MoveOn would do the same thing no matter who was president. However, if the Komen group wanted to keep left vs. right wing politics separate from their funding decision, it now appears that it is out of their hands.

Even the satirical e-card site Someecards has weighed in on the controversy:


So, what will be the fallout from the controversy?

The Susan B. Komen Foundation, which has had a wonderful national reputation for its fight against breast cancer, may have permanently stained its pink ribbon campaign, which up to now was seen as apolitical. According to yesterday’s blog post on Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog), ”Komen for the Cure, it seems, is no longer a breast cancer charity, but a pro-life breast cancer charity.”

Although there have been tweets and comments around social media from women saying they will no longer support Komen, there is a possibility that there will also be increased funding from conservative, anti-abortion groups which have boycotted the Komen Foundation because of its support of some Planned Parenthood clinics.

Planned Parenthood, no stranger to controversy or to Congressional and other investigations, appears to have had the more nimble response. By being the first to comment publicly, they have framed the defunding as clearly a political move. It has mobilized its own funding campaign, and has been joined by other social and political groups. They may be able to recoup the lost money in a few days’ campaign, no mean feat.

Permanently damaged is the good done by cooperation between the two associations and the appearance that breast cancer is a cause that unites all women and should be above mere politics.

Both organizations may lose some of their reputation by the dispute. Oddly, they may both increase funding as the issue becomes politicized, at least in the short term. It’s hard to see how the Komen Foundation is not the more injured party in the long term, but we will see. 

Since this article was first published, I found a news post published last night (2-1-12) from the pro-life web site announcing that the Komen Foundation has also removed funding from several cancer research groups which also do research with live stem-cells. The organizations which are no longer funded, according to the report, are Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the University of Kansas Medical Center, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the Society for Women’s Health Research and Yale University. - AB

This media situation continues to develop at a frenetic pace. Just this afternoon Republican New York City Mayor announced his own donation of $250,000 to Planned Parenthood to help make up for the lost funding from Komen, according to The Daily News, saying “Politics have no place in health care,” Bloomberg said in a statement on Thursday. “Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”

Tags: nonprofits, funding, fundraising, social media, press, Planned Parenthood, Komen

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Almanac of Holidays

Strange, Funny, Little Known & Religious Holidays for February, 2012

February's Celebrations (mostly USA):

Full-Month Celebrations
American Heart Month
An Affair to Remember Month
Black History Month
Canned Food Month
Creative Romance Month
Great American Pie Month
National Cherry Month
National Children’s Dental Health Month
National Grapefruit Month
National Weddings Month

February Weekly Celebrations
3rd Week International Flirting Week

Daily Holidays
1-Feb National Freedom Day
2-Feb Ground Hog Day
2-Feb Candlemas
2-Feb National Change your Windshield Wipers Day
3-Feb The Day the Music Died - Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper
3-Feb Patient Recognition Day
4-Feb Create a Vacuum Day
4-Feb Thank a Mailman Day
5-Feb National Weatherman's Day
6-Feb Lame Duck Day
7-Feb Wave All you Fingers at Your Neighbor Day
7-Feb Send a Card to a Friend Day
7-Feb National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
8-Feb Boy Scout Day - celebrates the birthday of scouting
8-Feb Kite Flying Day - in the middle of winter!?!
9-Feb Toothache Day
10-Feb Umbrella Day
11-Feb Don't Cry over Spilled Milk Day
11-Feb Make a Friend Day
11-Feb White T-Shirt Day
12-Feb Abraham Lincoln's Birthday
12-Feb Plum Pudding Day
13-Feb Clean out Your Computer Day - second Monday of Month
13-Feb Get a Different Name Day
14-Feb Ferris Wheel Day
14-Feb National Organ Donor Day
14-Feb Valentine's Day
15-Feb Candlemas - on the Julian Calendar
15-Feb National Gum Drop Day
15-Feb Singles Awareness Day
16-Feb Do a Grouch a Favor Day
17-Feb Random Acts of Kindness Day
17-Feb National Public Science Day
18-Feb National Battery Day
19-Feb National Chocolate Mint Day
20-Feb Cherry Pie Day
20-Feb Hoodie Hoo Day
20-Feb Love Your Pet Day
20-Feb President's Day - third Monday of month
21-Feb Card Reading Day
21-Feb Mardi Gras / Fat Tuesday / Shrove Tuesday
22-Feb George Washington's Birthday
22-Feb Be Humble Day
22-Feb Walking the Dog Day
22-Feb International World Thinking Day
23-Feb International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day
23-Feb Tennis Day
24-Feb National Tortilla Chip Day
25-Feb Pistol Patent Day
26-Feb Carnival Day
26-Feb National Pistachio Day - it's a nutty day!
26-Feb Tell a Fairy Tale Day
27-Feb Polar Bear Day
27-Feb No Brainer Day - this day is for me!
28-Feb Floral Design Day
28-Feb Public Sleeping Day
28-Feb National Tooth Fairy Day - and/or August 22
29-Feb Leap Day - 2012, once every four years; also Sadie Hawkins Day (if I remember correctly)

Some Religious Celebrations

Anglican/Episcopal Celebrations and Remembrances
(Names in brackets indicate for trial use)

1  Brigid (Bride), 523
2  The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple
3  [The Dorchester Chaplains: Lieutenant George Fox, Lieutenant Alexander D.
Goode, Lieutenant Clark V. Poling and Lieutenant John P. Washington, 1943]
4  Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865 (new date)
5  [Roger Williams, 1683, and Anne Hutchinson, 1643, Prophetic Witnesses]
6  The Martyrs of Japan, 1597 (new date)
7  Cornelius the Centurion (new date)
11  [Frances Jane (Fanny) Van Alstyne Crosby, Hymnwriter, 1915]
12  [Charles Freer Andrews, Priest and “Friend of the Poor” in India, 1940]
13  Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818
14  Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869, 885
15  Thomas Bray, Priest and Missionary, 1730
16  [Charles Todd Quintard, Bishop of Tennessee, 1898]
17  Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda & Martyr, 1977
18  Martin Luther, 1546
20  [Frederick Douglass, Prophetic Witness, 1895]
21  [John Henry Newman, Priest and Theologian, 1890]
22  [Eric Liddell, Missionary to China, 1945] Ash Wednesday
23  Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, 156
24  Saint Matthias the Apostle
25  [John Roberts, Priest, 1949]
26  [Emily Malbone Morgan, Prophetic Witness, 1937]
27  George Herbert, Priest, 1633
28  [Anna Julia Haywood Cooper, 1964, and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, 1904,
29  [John Cassian, Abbot at Marseilles, 433]

Catholic Calendar
February 2012
2: Feast of Presentation of the Lord.
3: Optional memorial of Blase, bishop and martyr. Optional memorial of Ansgar, bishop.
5: Psalter I, Ordinary Time Week 5. (Memorial of Agatha, virgin and martyr.)
6: Memorial of Paul Miki and companions, martyrs.
8: Optional memorial of Jerome Emiliani.
10: Memorial of Scholastica, virgin.
11: Optional memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.
12: Psalter II, Ordinary Time Week 6.
14: Optional memorial of Cyril, monk, and Methodius, bishop.
17: Optional memorial of Seven founders of the order of Servites.
19: Psalter III, Ordinary Time Week 7.
21: Optional memorial of Peter Damian, bishop and doctor.
22: Ash Wednesday; Beginning of Lent. Feast of Chair of St. Peter, apostle.
23: (Memorial of Polycarp, bishop and martyr.)
26: Psalter I, Lent Week 1.

Feb 08, 2012  Tu B'Shevat

Islamic Holidays

Feb 05, 2012       Sunday       Milad Un Nabi (birthday Of The Prophet Muhammad)
Feb 09, 2012       Thursday   Milad Un Nabi (shia)

Hindu Holiday
Feb 20, 2012 Maha Shivaratri

Buddhist Holiday
15 Feb   Parinirvana (Mahayana)

Celtic Holiday
01 Feb  Imbolic (or Oimelc)

Shinto Holiday
03 Feb  Setsubun

Other Holidays
Feb 06   Waitangi Day (New Zealand)     
Feb 11   National Foundation Day (Japan)                        
Feb 14   Flag Day (Canada)          
Feb 18   Carnival (Brazil)               
Feb 21   Mardi Gras (Louisiana)

Tags: Holidays, Almanac, USA, International, Religious, Secular