5 crisis PR lessons from ‘Kony 2012’

The white-hot viral video drew major criticism, which the organization behind the campaign addressed adroitly.

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The social media campaign called for the arrest of Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord responsible for kidnapping and abducting Ugandan children to turn them into child soldiers for the last three decades.

Last week, the issue became a trending topic on Twitter and Google, and the video grabbed more than 55 million views on YouTube. However, it also drew sharp criticism from people, who said the nonprofit simplified an issue, support military intervention, and misspends funds.

Of course, it didn’t take long for media to catch on, turning Invisible Children’s awareness campaign into a crisis communications challenge.

Ultimately, the organization has some important lessons to offer for everyone working in nonprofit PR when faced with a media storm.

1. Communicate immediately

In a crisis, the longer an organization stays silent the more they are perceived to be hiding.

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