For years I’ve heard countless Long Island not-for-profit (NFP) professionals complain that they have little or no resources to “do” public relations. I’ve listened to the concerns of hundreds of people from NFPs who stream into all-day conferences held annually by the Fair Media Council (FMC) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). They come to FMC’s Connection Day and AFP’s Philanthropy Day to learn the art of “doing” PR through dozens of workshops conducted by media, development and PR pros. These events and my work in the not-for-profit field have provided me with anecdotal evidence that NFPs perpetually struggle to effectively move messages to their publics.
Here in one of the wealthiest regions of the world, so many of our charitable organizations can’t communicate well and, subsequently, often struggle to survive. NFPs frequently conduct PR functions using staff with little or no training; they often write and talk to reporters without knowing what media pros want or need; they’re sometimes using web sites and social media as a panacea for PR but may not have the skill sets to build audiences through inspired visuals or wordcraft.
My goal is to take these assumptions and turn them into data. This week, with the help of a great team of Hofstra PR students, I launched a survey, “Public Relations at Not-for-Profit Organizations,” which should help to prove the anecdotes. The 26-question survey can be taken in five minutes. If the results back up the complaints, I hope to become an effective voice in efforts to find more resources so these deserving groups can fulfill their missions far more successfully.
If you know of a not-for-profit organization based on Long Island, please ask one of its representatives to take the survey. It’s online at http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e4y857obgt4n7eic/start. My team and I will be at events such as Connection Day (last week) and Philanthropy Day (November 18), and we’ll report the results in December. Your thoughts?
P.S. — Special thanks to my Hofstra research team (shown with me above, l. to r.): Chris Scheben, Alexa Sibilio, Lauren Katz and Vania Andre.