Video: The difference between PR for not-for-profits and large corporations

Whether you’re a large corporation or a grassroots not-for-profit, PR can be a powerful way to drive your organisation towards success. As any PR professional will tell you, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to great PR, so your strategy must be tailored to suit your specific brand and goals.

When it comes to PR for NFPs, the core goal is usually asking people to act. Whether that be giving their time, donating money, voting, changing their behaviour, signing a petition or simply spreading the word – compelling an audience to get involved can be harder than it seems.

While people will often feel more passionate about a cause than they would a corporation, it’s typically much harder to inspire action when they won’t receive a product or service that benefits them in return.

Over the years, many terms have been coined to describe this behaviour. ‘Slactivism’ describes the tendency for people to feel passionate about a cause and even willing to share something online, but not necessarily take any further steps to make a difference. 

‘Virtue signalling’ is another commonly used phrase, describing the action of publicly expressing your support for a cause in order to demonstrate a social conscience despite not taking action privately. 

Both of these attitudes present a challenge for NFPs and their PRs – how do you motivate an audience to take meaningful action when they feel they have already done enough?

This is why it’s important for industry bodies, charities, and other not-for-profit organisations to find a PR agency that understands their unique position. 

A great NFP publicist will have an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing an organisation and what it might take to get people to act. They will also understand that NFPs often run on tight budgets, rely on volunteers, and usually have far more limitations and sensitivities than a typical corporation.

Establishing trust between NFPs and their supporters is also a core responsibility of its PR team. Getting people to part with their hard-earned money is difficult when they have no tangible way to see what that money is being used for. 

To establish this trust, PR can be used to show the work that is being done and show people the impact their donations and support have. This can be achieved by gaining independent validation with media coverage, partnerships, articles, industry awards, or government recognition that legitimises the organisation’s efforts.

Finally, NFPs need PR to increase authority, influence, and to highlight key messages. Achieving reputable coverage and establishing a strong media presence can be instrumental in positioning an organisation as responsible, caring, knowledgeable, effective, trustworthy, and professional – all values that we tend to look for in charities and not-for-profits. 

The more reputable and influential you are, the more doors will open to assist with negotiations, collaborations, lobbying, and, of course, supporter engagement.

While corporations may have the luxury of investing in PR that simply builds awareness, most NFPs focus their limited resources on driving action. Enlisting the help of an experienced PR professional who understands the NFP landscape and can turn complex challenges into great media opportunities is crucial to getting your organisation the coverage it deserves.

If you are looking to achieve powerful media coverage for your charity or NFP, Pure Public Relations would love to help.  Get in touch with us today to learn more about our experience and expertise working with NFP clients.

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