Public Relations Nation occasionally posts an article written by a guest blogger. Raffaella Tonani is a journalism major and a Hofstra Honors College student, and as my PR Fundamentals student was responsible for three guest posts this semester. This is her third. –JM
“Be the change you want to be in the world” — Mahatma Gandhi
Nonprofit (NPO) and nongovernmental organizations (NGO) need the help of two type of volunteers: on-site volunteers and donors.
I think building loyal relationships between organizations and their publics, the befitted, staff members, and the volunteers are the goals of every PR professional. When a person finds an organization with a purpose that fulfills him/her, an unbreakable bond is born. There are organizations like Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, All Hands, and many others where a person’s profession is aligned with a cause, but they have different levels of volunteering and accept volunteers without any previous experience. There are options closer to home, like community homeless shelters or individuals gathering food/cleaning supplies for people in need.
How does Doctors Without Borders get to refugees in Yemen? How does UNICEF reach kids in Angola? How does All Hands attend natural disasters in Nepal?
Non-profits get funding from different sources. For example, massive social media and online campaigns do not require much spending and could be very effective. Another way is applying for grants; these are like scholarships for students, offered by international organizations like the UN. Huge companies like Google and Toms also help through the public relations of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This brilliant branch of PR has a huge impact on society. Besides giving funding to charities, it is a way a company involves conscience-driven employees. Some CSR programs require their employees to provide certain volunteering hours per year. But individual donations are significant. Through being a volunteer myself and part of the staff of a Peruvian organization that builds houses in extremely poor areas, I realize that every cent adds up.
Rescue gifts cost less than $60. You can fund a refugee’s education for a year, build a newborn baby a temporary shelter, or provide services for a safe birth or passage from conflict.
Funding is like the motor of a car and the volunteers are its gasoline. More than once I have heard, “One person cannot change the world.” If every person who thought that came together, change becomes tangible. I encourage you to become a volunteer and get hands-on experience with a cause.
There is a cause waiting for your help. However, as magical as causes are, organizations cannot work without funding. Sometimes people cannot volunteer weekly or monthly, but we can start financing causes we believe in. Take the time to make a relationship with an organization that you feel so close to, so even if you do not volunteer for a year, you feel a part of it and then, help in any way you can.
Are you or would you like to be a part of an NPO/NGO? Your thoughts?