For just a minute, let's set aside our own personal views about the gay marriage debate and examine it from a messaging standpoint and how the same can be effective for how your non-profit mobilizes supporters towards a specific call to action. Timing...it's all about timing. To the right people, with the right message, at the right time. That's the whole premise of effective marketing. In President Obama's case, publicly supporting gay marriage came at the right time. Here's a simple timeline of how his public support was rolled out (some argue that it was very strategic):

The last few weeks of 2011 saw an astonishing number of public crisis arise at corporate giants, colleges and universities, and even well respected brands. When they needed a plan the most, many of these organizations failed and severely bruised their reputation, faced public humiliation, and sometimes even suffered sales. The truth is that is not about whether or not a crisis will arise, but when one does the plan of action that should follow to appropriately and strategically handle the crisis so that it does as little damage as possible to the organization. As simple as it may seem, organizations fail during a time of crisis because they lack a pre-established crisis communications plan that they can rely on. During a crisis is never the time to figure out what to do; it's too late and you're in repair and recover mode by now. While an organization can never be fully prepared for the oncoming damage, there are a few tactics to put in place before disaster strikes. 20 Point Crisis Communications Checklist