Last Updated: December 20, 2021
Nonprofit organizations have been giving aid to various pressing problems of the world for a long time. But the question arises, how do these nonprofit organizations reach out to the masses? This is where public relations come into play.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of nonprofit public relations, what do public relations mean, how do public relations for nonprofits work with their marketing campaigns, nonprofit PR strategies, and more.
Why Do Public Relations Matter?
The recent trends and developments around the globe have established the importance of public relations for nonprofits. But what are public relations and how do they work?
Public relations, or PR, is a set of different activities that a company carries out to protect its status and promote itself to the public by introducing them to its policies, products, and services.
Its sole purpose is creating and managing a public opinion or brand image of an organization. The four major areas that public relations deal with are editorials and broadcasting, controlled communication, media relations, and face-to-face events.
The role of public relations in nonprofit organizations can be extremely crucial. All the money that these organizations earn through their activities or donations is invested to meet the organization’s goals and objectives.
|Did you know: In the US, about 11.9 million people are employed in the nonprofit industry. This accounts for one in ten people among the entire American working population.|
Importance of Public Relations
Public relations include various tasks that help nonprofit organizations improve their image and have a good public presence. Performing these tasks may not be feasible for the members of the organization and must be carried out by PR professionals to be most effective.
The role of PR may vary from arranging for volunteers and donors to handling nonprofit events and press releases. Here are a few areas where PR is essential for a nonprofit organization:
Organizing Fundraiser Campaigns
Raising funds is extremely important for nonprofits as they largely depend on them to survive. Therefore, an important role of nonprofit public relations is to carry out different public fundraising campaigns or events. One of the most sought-after ways of raising funds is crowdfunding, and it might be a good idea to research the best crowdfunding platforms before you start looking for other ways to raise money.
Nonprofit organizations also largely depend on volunteers. PR for nonprofits includes recruiting volunteers for different activities and events that the organization conducts. The recruitment is largely carried out via email, social media, and other similar channels.
Before proceeding further, nonprofit organizations need to make sure that the activities they plan are sanctioned by government officials. That’s why lobbying is essential for nonprofit organizations. The way you present the data to the government officials is likely to influence their decision.
Using Social Media Channels
Social media can prove extremely beneficial for promoting your events, campaigns, and recruiting volunteers. Social media is part of many nonprofit PR strategies which can be implemented by understanding the ongoing trends and taking into account the latest social media statistics.
Creating a Story
A great way to capture the public is by creating a story that will involve people’s emotions. This is a successful way of increasing your nonprofit community as it helps the public relate to your cause. The PR team is responsible for creating such a story that can be permanently associated with your organization and help in future campaigns and promotions.
Promoting the Cause
One of the PR professionals’ most important roles in promoting the nonprofit organization’s cause is to make a difference in the world. Successful nonprofit PR campaigns can potentially change the public’s perspective about a particular issue.
|Did you know: The nonprofit sector contributes about $900 billion to the economy of the United States, which accounts for about 5% of the US GDP.|
Nonprofit Public Relations Strategies: Where to Begin?
Companies involved in public relations need to apply strategies that are consistent with the nonprofit organization’s sphere. However, there are a few common steps and strategies that are important for all PR companies to follow when they are working for a nonprofit organization:
Create a Strategy That Targets Your Desired Audience
When creating your strategy for public relations for nonprofit organizations, it is essential first to consider the target audience. The marketing strategies and campaigns should be planned to keep the audience in mind.
An important question to consider is, “What can your audience provide you with, and how can you motivate them to do it for you?”
Define Your Motives and Objectives
An essential step is to determine what you want from your PR campaign. You need to understand the outcome you expect from the campaign and how it will benefit the organization’s cause.
Make sure that the objectives you define can be measured easily. Measuring your objectives includes defining a certain amount that you wish to generate from your activities if they will involve fundraising. Also, your strategies must aim to expand the community you have created.
Another strategy that can help you get results for your cause is using videos for your campaigning. Through videos, you can communicate your story better and generate more emotional influence. Videos are considered to be a very powerful form of communication. You can even use videos to pass on necessary information about your organization and share it with your audience via your social media channels.
Advertise on Social Media
Using social media and other media outlets is a part of almost all nonprofit PR strategies. Therefore, use social media platforms to reach your maximum audience. Advertising your events and campaigns through social media is also recommended because nonprofit organizations usually have small budgets for promotion and marketing.
Social media can help you expand your community and get positive results from your marketing efforts. To minimize the advertising costs, you must take into account your target audience’s interests, locality, and social status.
Another great strategy of PR for nonprofits used by many nonprofit organizations is inviting influencers to promote their cause. Influencers are individuals with a mass public reach. Influencers can be celebrities, sportsmen, politicians, social media users, and more.
Asking influencers to promote your cause can help you gain a good following and robust engagement on your nonprofit’s website. Influencers with a smaller reach and following, referred to as micro-influencers, have more impact according to research and should be contacted first to help with your cause.
|Did you know: The largest nonprofit organizations in the world are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.|
|A nonprofit organization does not earn profit for its owners, and all the money earned and funds collected are invested to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization.|
|Public relations or PR refers to the activities carried out to promote an organization and its cause among the public by presenting its policies, products, and services.|
|Some essential roles of the PR team that makes it important for nonprofit organizations include: organizing fundraiser campaigns, recruiting volunteers, lobbying, using social media, creating a story, and promoting the cause.|
|Essential nonprofit public relations strategies include: creating a strategy that targets your desired audience, defining your motives and objectives, using videos, advertising on social media, and employing influencers.|
Did you know: According to the latest statistics, over 215 million people in the United States have made donations to nonprofit organizations.
Ideas for Successful Nonprofit Public Relations Campaigns
Campaigns make up an important part of nonprofit PR because this is the primary way of reaching out to the public. Here are some ideas that you can implement in your nonprofit PR campaign:
Content Marketing and Social Media
A great way to have more people joining your cause is by focusing on your social media and content marketing to raise awareness and further the campaign’s reach. Starting a blog can impact your content marketing massively. Post regularly about your story, vision and mission, events and ongoing campaigns, touching and emotional stories related to your cause, and more.
You can promote your events and create awareness about the work your organization is doing by updating the information on your organization’s pages on different social media. Social media and blogs are free marketing tools, and with the right PR planning, these tools can be used to reach a huge audience. If you want further ideas, you might want to explore the best reporting tools.
Event marketing is another nonprofit public relations practice that you must engage in to make your campaigns successful. Your event marketing tactics must be comprehensive, and you need to have a unified approach to ensure that the audience engages in your activities and pays attention to your cause. This can also help you improve your outreach to donors.
Make sure you select volunteers with good marketing skills and those who are talented in marketing so that they can apply the essential tools and strategies to promote your campaign.
There are five essential things you incorporate into your event marketing to ensure that you get the best results:
- make use of comprehensive marketing tools to reach out to the public
- your marketing efforts should be thought-provoking and intuitive
- any events that are part of the campaign should be completely related to the cause
- use different marketing options and channels
- use integrated software to manage and market all the events of the nonprofit PR campaigns collectively
Using Press Releases
The PR team is responsible for working on activities related to a campaign’s press release. It is important to know how to phrase the press release to target the right audience and promote your organization’s goals.
The PR teams must keep two important things in mind when writing a nonprofit press release:
- consider the target and media lists before writing the press release
- make sure that the story in the press release is designed to inform the audience and not to sell
Ensure that the press release is easy to comprehend. Keep in mind that the nonprofit press release distribution pertains to news outlets (offline mediums) and online platforms.
In case of new community events and campaigns, your press release must have all the proper information on how and where the audience can make donations. Promote the press release through all possible offline and online channels.
The public relations teams can also use some of the best press release distribution services to expand their promotional activities.
Email marketing can be a great way of reaching the audience and raising money, and by creating a mailing list, you create a set of potential future supporters and donors. Using this list to spread information, you offer your online audience engagement opportunities and communicate essential information.
The nonprofit PR mailing list can be created and updated through several means such as direct mail, websites, social media, and by directly contacting people. Some practices that can help you build your mailing list include: collecting individual NGO information, attracting new prospective donors, looking for donors similar to your best ones, getting in touch with start-ups and businesses, and collaborating with other nonprofit organizations.
Create Contacts and Build Loyalty
Another idea for successful nonprofit public relations campaigns is to improve your marketing efforts by building loyalty and creating a connection with your supporters, volunteers, and donors. It is important to stay in touch with them by having them involved in future events. This can help you build loyalty which can turn these individuals into brand advocates for your cause.
You can contact your genuine supporters and include their testimonies and stories in your blogs and campaigns. Doing this will help them feel acknowledged and cared for and will also make your campaign look genuine to the public.
You need to establish a rapport and build relationships with your volunteers, supporters, journalists, and media. You can check out some essential brand loyalty statistics to ensure that you are headed in the right direction.
|Did you know: There are 1.54 million big and small nonprofit organizations that are recognized by the government and currently functioning in the US.|
Understanding the role of public relations in nonprofit organizations is the place to start if you want to promote your event or raise funds. Not getting the right audience, support, volunteers, or funds can be devastating for nonprofit organizations and hinder the achievement of their goals.
To avoid this, public relations are essential for managing the events, marketing, and public image of these organizations. With the right strategies, the events and campaigns will allow more people to learn about your organization’s mission and get involved.
What differentiates public relations for nonprofit organizations is that the campaigns and events do not focus on profit so much as on informing the community about the organization, its cause, and its goals. Finances are majorly sourced from donations and contributions.
While the public relations of all organizations, whether profit or nonprofit, is committed to achieving their individual goals, PR for a nonprofit organization focuses on achieving goals that are concerned more with a social purpose.
NGOs usually have restricted funds. That’s why they usually work to promote their cause with a restricted budget. To get a PR management team for your NGO, you can reach out to them via social media or email presenting your cause. It is best to get in touch with nonprofit public relations organizations supporting similar causes. They are likely to have a better idea about the essential activities needed to promote your organization.