One question we’re often asked is whether a public relations strategy is worth it for a non-profit or ministry. Because non-profits often operate on a more limited budget than most for-profit businesses, choosing to spend donor dollars on outside PR counsel can be a serious decision.
Public relations objectives vary from client to client, and it’s important to spend time strategizing about your goals with your PR team before launching any campaign. However, there are several key benefits of PR that will bolster awareness of your non-profit organization.
Public relations will help you tell your story in impartial, trusted forums
Every organization has a unique story. Ask yourself, “Does the public know why we do what we do and what makes us different from the other organizations out there?” There may be other groups who are working toward a similar goal, but no one has your story. No one else has the people or the history that led you to where you are today.
Public relations really comes down to communicating your story in the right way to the right people. Unlike marketing and advertising, which use paid coverage, public relations relies on earned coverage in third-party media outlets, which tends to carry higher credibility. A good public relations team will help you tell your story in a way that is of interest to gatekeepers in the media.
Public relations will teach your organization to speak with one, unified voice
Every time someone from your organization speaks to the public, whether through a media interview, in a newsletter or during 30-second conversation in an elevator, it is an opportunity to share your story. But what happens when everyone at your organization is telling a different story?
The first step to any successful public relations campaign is messaging. Consistent messaging to share what your non-profit does and why you do it is the building blocks on which communications strategy is built. Not only will messaging guide press materials and pitch angles, but it will also allow your organization to speak with a unified voice, not matter what the format.
Public relations provides proactive reputation management
Your non-profit’s reputation is your most valuable asset. It takes years to build a strong reputation and just one poorly thought out tweet to destroy it.
A public relations team will be proactive in building your reputation, using opportunities like media interviews and social media to solidify a positive perception of your organization. At the same time, they will create a crisis management plan and continually monitor for potential threats so they are able to respond before it spirals out of control.
Organizations who are prepared for unforeseen situations are much better equipped to withstand crises without permanent negative impact to their reputation.