Hope all is well with you this Tuesday evening! My topic tonight focuses on PR work for non-profit organizations. From my experience, PR work is a little bit different when you are working with a non-profit. For instance, you usually have more tasks to complete and your budget is small. You need to learn to do the most with the least at times. Now I chose this topic because I had the great opportunity in college to intern with two very different non-profit organizations. I interned with a cancer society and a community organization. And my duties were different at both, but I did notice and see many similarities.
Mainly the overall goal of a non-profit organization is to create awareness for their cause. Unlike companies who want to earn profits and increase sales, a non-profit is usually trying to achieve a goal and inform the public on a cause. For instance, the goal of a community non-profit organization could be to make the county a better place to live and play. So their events and projects would focus on achieving that mission. Meanwhile the cancer society might want to raise cancer support with patients and fight to find a cure. So as a non-profit PR Coordinator your job will be to help the organization to achieve their goal, which sometimes will require some smart thinking and creativity! Here’s an example of an online donation flier I created to raise awareness for diabetes. By making this an online flier, a lot of money was saved from printing costs.
Events, advertising, and social media sites are good ways to increase awareness for your organization. Whether your purpose is to spread the word, raise money for research, or to improve the community generating awareness is needed. So for the purpose of this post, let’s imagine your non-profit organization is trying to raise money for a dog park in your neighborhood. This will help to improve the area, make it more appealing for future residents, and just become a nice place for you to take your lovable pet. Now where do you start? You need money to get this project off the ground and you already have the fantastic idea of a community day to raise funds for the park. But you already know the money you need can’t come just from small fundraisers and you also know you are going need a lot of help. So let’s start with volunteers!
You will learn volunteers can help you out a lot in accomplishing your goal. Since most non-profit budgets are small the staff isn’t very large. Having volunteers to help out on event days and increasing awareness can make a big difference. So try to recruit high school students looking to improve their college applications, college students looking for a project to give back to the community, and adults looking to enrich their lives. Word of mouth can be a good way to find new volunteers when your current volunteer list has a big following and can help to spread the word. Also posting on volunteer pages like this one can help reach a larger audience with little to no cost for your organization!
As I mentioned earlier, money can be tight for non-profits, so funding and sponsorships will always be needed, but how you find them can vary. If it’s a large and well known organization things will probably be a little simpler in finding sponsors because you have already proven success in the past. However, if it’s a new non-profit or less well known it can be hard. But there are many government and private funding groups that have applications for organizations to compete for. Some include the Sprout Foundation or the Pittsburgh Foundation Center. Becoming familiar with what grants your organization is eligible for can become helpful in the future.
FINALLY! After obtaining the funding and extra hands needed you can finally get to the fun part and raise some awareness and money with the community day event! Now the purpose is to build that dog park, so you can’t waste money on unneeded items. So time for some creativity! An idea can be asking for donations from local businesses for food, decorations, and prizes in exchange for their name to be placed at the event. Also look around the office, chances are there are some left over items from previous events that you can reuse for this event. Just remember you can be productive and have fun if you just use your imagination and some creativity!
I hoped this post gave you some insight and idea to what it would be like to do non-profit PR work. If you have any advice or experiences you want to share please comment below!
***The examples of grants used in the blog post was only used as an example and in no way am I encouraging that organization over another***