by Rebecca Koenig (Story posted 13-Feb-2017)
A note from Full Court Press: Recently, our very own Dan Cohen was featured prominently in an interview with the Chronicle of Philanthropy concerning one of the most daunting challenges a nonprofit can face: a Trump Twitter strike. We were also excited to see our friend Beth Kanter quoted extensively as well.
Donald Trump has added an unexpected role to the American presidency: Tweeter-in-Chief.
His 140-character dispatches are notable not just for their tone (aggressive) and time of composition (early morning) but also for their ability to move markets — at least momentarily — and steer public attention. A tweet about Lockheed Martin sent the aerospace company’s stock down 5 percent. Another, about Toyota’s plan to make cars at a new factory in Mexico, evaporated $2 billion from the company’s market value.
That has nonprofit leaders worried about what will happen if the president uses Twitter to target their organizations. It is not a far-fetched scenario: In 2012, businessman Trump did just that, slamming the executive directors of the U.S. Fund for Unicef and the American Red Cross over their pay — and citing incorrect compensation figures.
Now, such outbursts carry the weight of the most powerful perch in the world, and that unnerves nonprofits. As Erin Hennessy, vice president at TVP Communications, notes, President Trump’s tweets usher in “extreme scrutiny from the public.”
Responding to nonprofits’ fears, communications firms are scrambling to provide guidance on dealing with the president’s digital bully pulpit. They’re advising charities to draft social-media posts in anticipation of various possible scenarios, set up phone trees to expedite communication with major donors, and run drills testing their crisis-communications plans.
Full Court Press, which counts foundations such as the California Endowment and nonprofits including Alliance for Justice among its clients, held a staff meeting last week on the topic of Mr. Trump’s tweets. The aim, principal Dan Cohen said, is to start “rebooting our social-media training for the new world order.”