How to Conduct Public Relations for a Nonprofit Organization

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The more visibility a nonprofit has, the more grant dollars it will attract and the more community support it will win. How does a nonprofit's public-relations person meet this challenge?

Things You'll Need

  • Written plans
  • Media kits
  • Volunteers
  • Communicate - above all else - both internally and externally. Make sure your "internal" public - those in the nonprofit - see the benefits of hiring a PR person when typically the budget is shoestring.

  • Make sure everyone in the organization understands the organization's mission statement - and that a large part of your job is to help bring that mission statement to life in the community.

  • Write your plan. This is one of the most important jobs you can do as a PR person in the nonprofit world. Once you have your plan written, give copies of it to everyone in the organization, including your board of directors.

  • Prepare your media kit and collateral materials. When you plan is ready to be executed, you will be ready with the press releases, fact sheet, collateral piece on your organization and any other reading material that will allow any lay person to understand your mission.

  • Generate your media and community lists. Investigate your local media; get to know the media contact people. Send them a letter introducing yourself and ask for a one-on-one meeting. Investigate the high-profile community leaders and do the same with them. The more you know these people, the better stories you will get written about your organization.

  • Gather your group of volunteers for your organization's speakers and tours program. Remember the name of the game is visibility. This is so much more easily accomplished when you have representatives of your organization, usually staff members, helping you get the word out. Make sure the people who sign up are comfortable in unfamiliar speaking settings and could handle a speaking engagement or tour at a moment's notice.

  • Introduce yourself to your board of directors. Write them a letter with your credentials and let them know of your plan and your PR mission and - most important - enlist their help.

  • Outline your methods of internal and external communications tools: e.g., newsletters, Web site, public service announcements (PSAs) in print, radio and television. This should lead you right back to your plan.

  • Measure your success. Give yourself a reasonable timeline to see if all of your efforts have paid off. Pay attention especially to the most apparent results - things like increased grant monies and donations - that are a result of your work.

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