Here at Ideal Publicity, we have a couple great non-profit organizations as clients, and we think these are great organizations for PR professionals to work with. Non-profits can be great clients, but sometimes it can be hard to think of ways to publicize these organizations since they do not necessarily have a consumer benefit – a service or product that they are trying to sell. However, taking on a non-profit to do PR for can be a very rewarding experience since you are directly benefiting those in need.
So with thousands of non-profits vying for media attention, donors, and volunteers, how can you make your non-profit client stand out from the rest? Here are 6 tips that are imperative in doing successful PR for a non-profit:
1. Create a media kit. The kit should include a brief history with the non-profit’s mission statement, a fact sheet, photographs of past events, information on the board of directors, the previous year’s annual report, and contact information. Be sure to have these documents available both online and in print.
2. Develop relationships with reporters. Know which reporters are more likely to cover stories about your organization, and be friendly with them. Send them a letter introducing yourself and your organization, send them a media kit, send special invitations to events, and always thank them after they cover an event or story about your organization.
3. Meet with their communications/PR committee. Get a voice from everyone involved in the organization when creating a PR campaign. Ask the organization to form a communications/PR committee comprised of one donor, one volunteer, one staff member, and one member of the board of directors. It is important that all parties involved are on the same page before implementing a PR plan and that all feel that they have had input. Meet with this committee on a regular basis to ensure that you are aware of their communications goals and are on progress with meeting these goals.
4. Attend all of the non-profit’s meetings and events for at least a month prior to creating a communications plan. It is important for you to get to know what kind of events they have, the culture of the organization, and what messages they want to convey. You may observe some things that you would not have learned in just meeting with representatives of the organization at these events, and these things are also important in creating an effective PR plan.
5. Create a crisis plan. This is something that many non-profits fail to do, and when crisis strikes, they are unprepared on how to best handle it. Think of all the possible things that could go wrong or criticisms you may receive from the public, and create a plan on how to respond to these issues. Being unprepared in a crisis often causes the downfall of many organizations, especially non-profits.
6. Select 1 to 3 key messages to focus on and develop a strategic PR/communications plan. Too often, non-profits have many goals, and they let important details slip through the cracks when trying to achieve too many things at once. Focus on only a few key messages before moving on to the next set. Assess the target audience, objectives, tactics, and a timeline to successfully carry out these goals. It may seem tedious, but having a concise and strategic plan will ensure that your plan will be carried out more effectively instead of just winging it.
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