Articles by Janet Pech

WHAT DOES GOOD PR TAKE AND WHAT CAN NONPROFITS EXPECT FROM PUBLIC RELATIONS?

Public Affairs Spot of the Web: Unlike fundraising or direct program delivery, the value of communications strategy and public relations can be elusive or in the least relegated to an after thought in many nonprofit organisations.

However, it’s my contention that public relations is essentially about winning hearts and minds.  Winning hearts and minds is the very essence of why most nonprofits, NGOs and charities exist.  By extension, good communications strategy delivers important results for nonprofit associations of all stripes.

In fact, a variety of results is likely if you undertake effective communications strategy (6 areas where PR helps you directly). For example, fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; donors and prospective members starting to make repeat donations and expressions of support; membership applications on the rise; community leaders beginning to seek you out; welcome bounces in expressions of interest in volunteering; higher employee retention rates, capital givers or specifying sources starting to look your way, and even politicians and legislators beginning to view you as a key member of the business, non-profit or association communities.

Luckily for you, your PR people are in the perception and behavior business to begin with, so they can really do a job for you on this crucially important opinion monitoring project. When done correctly, it can catapult a nonprofit organization, charity or association’s cause from an unknown entity to a household name almost overnight. But what most people don’t see is the sweat beneath the glamorous exterior.  What goes on that makes for the value of hiring the outside help of a consultant resource for organisations?

Nonprofits are often pulled in different directions and as a result, seeing the forest from the trees can be a challenge.  The focus can far too often be upon managing day to day operations or chasing the next grant instead of building a long term vision.

Developing relationships with the media, with social media stakeholders and relevant audiences takes time.  Much like developing a fine wine, these need to be nurtured over time and they have to be maintained.

So what is needed from good PR consultants?

HUMAN SKILLS:

– Patience: Whether it’s waiting to hear back from journalists or producers that you have pitched, or simply understanding that a PR campaign takes time to gain traction and evolve, if you don’t have patience, you will never be able to do this job. Now, if we could only get our clients to be so patient!

– Critical Thinking: “The most important thing is to think like a journalist.” – Ronn Torossian, Founder, President & CEO, 5WPR

– Nerves: Be it the nerve to cold-call a reporter on deadline, or the nerve to get up in front of a bank of microphones and disclose bad news, it takes a streak of cold blood to be able to do PR.

– Verbosity and Simplicity: The ability to communicate in grand ways and on simple terms is a must. If you’re not comfortable speaking to an audience of white-collar executives as well as to an audience of blue-collar hourly-wage earners, you won’t be able to do this job.

PROFESSIONAL SKILLS:

– Internet-Enabled: PR takes an immense amount of research, and PR people who don’t understand tools such as blogs, search engines, and premium search services suffer the consequences. Knowing how to find Google or Technorati is not enough – you need to understand how to utilize these resources as well.

The ideal PR person, in my book, is like what baseball scouts call a “five-tool” player: 1) hitting for average, 2) hitting for power, 3) running for speed, 4) arm strength, and 5) fielding ability.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY 2012

Mark Buzan’s PR and Public Affairs Spot on the Web: December 24, 2011 – It’s been a while since I have posted and as such, I hope this message reaches you in time for Christmas and for the coming New Year.

2011 turned out to be a very prosperous year and for that, I thank you – my followers and clients.  May this be a very Merry Christmas for you, your family, and loved ones.  I truly hope the coming New Year of 2012 will provide you with magnifying opportunities!

In the spirit of continuing last year’s tradition of a special video from my wife, Carolina and I, please view this year’s special greeting to you.

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MOBILE MARKETING IS WHERE NONPROFIT COMMUNICATIONS IS GOING NEXT

In 2011 over 85 percent of new handsets will be able to access the mobile Web. Today in the US and Western Europe, 90 percent of mobile subscribers have an Internet-ready phone.  Currently, almost one in five people globally accessing the net have access to fast mobile Internet (3G or better) services.

Clearly, mobile SMS marketing is where nonprofit communications, charity fundraising, and nonprofit association membership recruitment and retention campaigns are going in the years to come.  If you refer back to a mobile text marketing blog post I published a few years ago, you’ll note that the possibilities for getting a nonprofit organisation message out is quite extensive.

Among the common possibilities most experimented with, SMS (short message service) or text messaging and multimedia messaging is becoming popular to accomplish a number of objectives:

  • SMS advertising,
  • SMS competitions,
  • SMS polls,
  • Product/service branding,
  • Promotion of specials and offers,
  • Customer loyalty initiatives
  • Chat engines to encourage immediate feedback on a recent company initiative
  • Bulk distribution of SMS messages to your existing lists

Mobile marketing has the potential to provide associations and especially charities the opportunity to engage nonprofit association members and recruit charitable donors with a reminder or incentive anytime, anywhere. More often than not, people engage with mobile marketing calls to action in an instantaneous way because they can do so from anywhere. This allows NGOs the opportunity to fundraise for charities or engage association members in advocacy campaigns all on the go or in an impulsive way.

Text messaging is a very targeted, private medium. Because a cell phone number is a unique identification number associated with an individual person, marketers must be respectful of the privacy and preferences of users. In essence, when a person gives someone their cell phone number they are providing an opportunity to be contacted on a device that is carried in a purse or pocket, which makes for a very direct, personal communication channel.

There are a number of ways that mobile marketing is set to take off and strategies I recommend in mysocial media training series for nonprofit organisations but I would welcome your input.  Where do you think mobile marketing is going in the public relations or marketing sphere for associations, charities and NGOs?

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RECONNECTING WITH MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT AND POLITICAL CONTACTS

I attended a good ‘ole fashioned political rally on January 23, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario held by the Conservative Party of Canada marking their 5th year in office.  Those who follow Canadian politics know that the possibility of a federal election is a very great probability.  With the Conservatives anxious to take on a majority government moving away from the minority they have in parliament, they feel more emboldened than ever with poll numbers which have at times put them in striking range of reaching that objective.

The event was a great opportunity to reconnect with old colleagues, friends and acquaintances from my days when I was a Legislative Assistant on Parliament Hill for Jason Kenney, MP – now the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Mixing my ongoing efforts to build bridging and relationships with Members of Parliament, Senators and other policy makers for the benefit of non profit organizations and associations along with my expertise in social media; I recently launched my Flickr account where you can view some of the photos taken.  Enjoy!

If your association or non-profit organisation is looking to build awareness and relationships with MPs, Senators or influential policy makers, drop me a line.

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