Hootville spends a lot of time in its training trying to quell the deep-seated, misplaced fear which lives in the hearts of many nonprofit CEOs. This is never more true than when delivering Savvy Spokesperson 101 and Media Savvy 101 training. Too many spokespeople are too timid. Media doesn’t thrive on well balanced reason – it wants red meat.
We advise spokespeople to name names, declare public challenges and call authorities, companies and Ministers to account.
That sounds like what WWF spokesperson Nick Heath was attempting to do when he claimed that Queensland Nickel’s Yabulu refinery near Townsville was threatening to collapse, releasing toxins into the environment. The man behind Queensland Nickel is Clive Palmer.
In keeping with his modus operandi, Palmer sued – successfully. WWF has issued an apology and will pick up Palmer’s legal tab.
Of all the groups we train, environmentalists have it the toughest. Few others have such well-resourced, well-connected and virulent opponents. No multinational argues against better child protection services, aged care or breastfeeding education.
Today, as you consider what it is like to have Clive Palmer unleash his lawyers upon you, spare a thought for your nonprofit colleagues in the environment sector. Expect to see more of this in future from big business across the land.