Finding out what we already know

      5 Comments on Finding out what we already know

Jeff Morosoff, Assistant Professor, Hofstra University

Last week I visited the Fair Media Council’s headquarters to present “Public Relations on a Shoestring.” An audience of not-for-profit organizations participated in the two-hour workshop to learn how they could boost their PR efforts despite thin budgets. The feedback I got during and after the program confirmed what I already knew: not only do not-for-profits spend very little money on public relations efforts; they also know very little about what PR tools are available to them both online and off. 

They understand they need to use social media but they don’t really know how. They want their organizations covered in Newsday but are unaware of the many other media venues they could be pitching. They send  press releases when their organizations have “news” (<airquotes here) but don’t ask themselves the question, “Who cares?” before spending time to publicize an event without finding a way to relate it to an audience.

This is anecdotal, of course, so I’m readying research to prove it. This fall a small team of Hofstra students and I will survey more than 1,000 Long Island not-for-profits and ask them how small are their PR budgets, which PR tools they use, and how much PR training their staffs possess. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to spread the word on “doing PR” for very little money through a series of workshops and seminars. The next few months we’ll confirm what we already know: tiny budgets force low priority for PR within the not-for-profit world, yet these organizations crave the benefits of a good public relations campaign. They just need to learn what’s out there for the taking. Your thoughts?

5 thoughts on “Finding out what we already know

  1. Kaitlin Simensky

    Non-profit organizations need to realize that having a small budget does not have to mean having a poor PR campaign. There is a wide range of options available if people only knew how to use them. I also feel that many non-profits either started a long time ago or are run by older generations that do not have the same understanding of some great media avenues like social media. In some ways it sometimes feels like a generational issue; people from our generation have been more accustom to social media that it seems second nature. It is really a shame that so many non-profits do not utilize cheap or even free PR tools when so many of these organizations are doing such good work.

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  2. AOkPR

    If used correctly, PR could be the best thing that ever happened to not-for-profit organizations. PR is free, and any not-for-profits have limited funds for things like advertising and large staffs. It seems like a no-brainer that proper utilization of PR tools would be on the top of the priority list for not-for-profits.

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  3. Lauren Means

    My aunt runs a non-profit women’s shelter in Boston, and she has no idea how to use social media. I’ve tried to introduce her to Twitter, but she dismisses it as “foreign” and “cold.” She thinks it’s better to convince people of her cause face-to-face than to spread her message to faceless people who will probably click right past it. It kills me that she can’t see how networking works inside social media!

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  4. Sarah Travaglini

    There is so much available to us, as PR professionals, through the use of social media and the Internet. A big budget is not necessary for producing a concrete message or image online. In order to get a social media presence and to create “buzz” around a company, product or person, if a tiny budget is put to good use and social media is taken advantage of, the possibilities for not-for-profits grow exponentially. For a successful campaign, PR teams must learn how to take advantage of the many tools available.

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