Four Best Practices for Nonprofit PR Programs posted 04/29/16

By Alex Roberts

Public Relations is more than just building awareness to mass audiences. Public Relations is about creating dialogue around impactful stories and using them to educate, change perceptions or simply introduce the public to your organization. Generally unpaid, PR relies on the power of the organization to share its message. Because you’re asking someone else to tell your story for you (unlike marketing), there is increased credibility with every story that’s told.

That being said, PR efforts can have a strong impact on nonprofits. First off, PR is earned media coverage – therefore you’re generally not required to put a large spend behind something to drive awareness through media, whether it’s daily newspapers, TV or radio stations or on social media. Secondly, PR is all about storytelling, and who has better stories to tell than a non for profit. Whether it’s the great work the organization does in a local community, the people it’s helping or a huge upcoming event, fairly inexpensive programs can be developed to spread awareness to the right people through the right media channels.

Here are four nonprofit PR strategy tips to keep in mind.

1.) Create a plan

The first thing a nonprofit would need to do is determine its goals for the year. Are you looking to increase awareness through membership or donations? Do you have signature events you’ll be required to drive people to during the year? Are you strictly trying to drive name recognition within your community? Once you’ve determined your purpose for the year, you can start to map out a PR plan that has a purpose.

2.) Tell your story

Share what makes your nonprofit so unique with media and influencers. Embrace the small, local nature of your nonprofit (if this is what you are). Media, influencers and your community will always have a soft spot for a non-profit that directly effects the local community and makes a tangible impact on friends, neighbors, etc.

3.) Build a calendar

You’ll need to map out your key areas throughout the year that you want to engage with media and other influencers around your non-profit. For most non-profits, this would be a general awareness calendar and then an event calendar, putting the most emphasis around any signature event that may be required to raise a larger sum of funds for the organization.

4.) Measure your success

Measurement is always a difficult question when it comes to PR. Some institutions measure based off social media. Have you seen increased engagement on your Facebook page or Instagram account. Some base it off of attendance. Others, off the number of stories you were able to convince local reporters to tell on your behalf. This is a question you need to discuss with your board so you have tangible goals to measure against.

Start building your young friends board today

Challenged getting young professionals involved in your nonprofit? Download our free guide to start engaging your future leadership today.

Download free guide

Leave a Comment