Why are public relations so important for a nonprofit organization?

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of your local nonprofit organization? Perhaps “community”, “message”, and “cause” are towards the top of the list. After following a career path in public relations, I’ve discovered over time that the general purpose of our field often perfectly aligns with most nonprofits’ key ideals. Let me explain: nonprofits are entirely based around the betterment of its surrounding community and exist to promote the message of a specific cause to this audience. Similarly, a public relations specialist is trained to strategically spread a message or story amongst the company’s entire community. One would assume this realm is a perfect fit for a PR practitioner, right? While it may seem this way, the nonprofit sector of public relations is often overlooked by the communications world, with many small nonprofits left to fend for themselves when it comes to communications and PR specialists. While both funding and demand is often low in this sector of PR, I think the nonprofit world needs public relations more than most. As an article from Clark Communications explains, here’s why:

Nonprofits these days are facing greater competition amongst themselves than ever before. While this industry may seem like it is not based on competition, Clark Communications makes the point that it in fact, entirely is. “Every nonprofit out there is competing for donor dollars, media attention, employee and volunteer recruitment with other nonprofits. They are all worthy causes (or nearly all), or they wouldn’t enjoy nonprofit status.” With this increased competition and fewer donor dollars floating around with today’s economy, it is more important than ever that nonprofits employ a communications specialist or have a PR strategy in place to tell their story/message in a way that sticks.

Additionally, PR is important when it comes to the nonprofit industry because as is commonly known, funding for nonprofit organizations is often comparable to finding a needle in a haystack. PR can help this circumstance in that “public relations offers a low-cost means for gaining public attention for nonprofit organizations. Through media relations (including, but not limited to press releases), speaking events, networking and fundraising events, nonprofit organizations can get rise above the fray and become noticed by the people who matter: potential clients, donors, volunteers and employees.”

This, next time you find yourself scouring the internet or newspaper for that next big career opportunity, give that opening for a nonprofit PR position another look. You may find the world of nonprofit PR to be more enticing than you thought.

Image source: http://www.preventionworkz.org/volunteer-opportunities

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