It’s astonishing and sad how so many not-for-profit organizations operate with little or no public relations programs. This became truly evident with what one of my PR Campaigns classes and I experienced this week.
Each of my PR 107 classes is taking on two not-for-profit clients this semester. All of the clients have made presentations to the students; the students formed teams, selected leaders and are ready to start work. But last Monday, one of our organizations lost its funding and confirmed that we would not be creating a campaign on its behalf.
I quickly messaged my Facebook group of 65 PR professionals; some of them, in turn, contacted their colleagues about my search for an organization that would benefit from what Hofstra PR students could offer. Within several hours I had been contacted by a dozen organizations that were hungry for a PR program–because they had none. While every one of these groups has real PR needs, I wound up selecting the first organization that called because its projects and time frame were a good match for the class.
Not-for-profits depend almost entirely on government and private grants plus donations to survive. In tough economic times, the pool of money becomes shallow and sometimes dries up completely. Often what helps these groups win support is the awareness and recognition that a public relations effort can provide. And while these organizations recognize the importance of good PR, most can’t afford it. That’s why students and those just entering the field should consider interning and volunteering for a not-for-profit; students could use the experience–and the organizations could sure use the help.