Working in public relations can be both stressful and rewarding. However, not many things are more gratifying (and often nerve-racking) than working in non-profit PR. Most publicists have made emotional connections with their clients at some point in their careers. But working with a cause you’re passionate about, and with people who have devoted their lives to it, brings the connection to another level.
During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with non-profits including the Jett Foundation, NVNA and Hospice, The Arc of the South Shore, the Navy SEAL Foundation and others. At Hollywood Agency, our thoughtful and giving principal, Darlene, has a heart of gold that allows us to provide our resources to not-for-profit organizations at little to no cost.
Being able to do this meaningful and rewarding work has taught me many things about this unique sector of the industry. Below are a few lessons I’ve taken away.
Use emotion, but stay professional. It’s easy to channel your passion when pitching, but it’s important to err on the professional side. I’ve found success in using heartfelt quotes from people close to the cause rather than using personal emotions. Providing factual information is always important, but using resources to add emotion can be very useful.
Trained spokespeople is key. More often than not, those working for non-profits are either volunteers or employees who have never been put in the spotlight. It’s important to designate a spokesperson who can handle tough questions and stay on message. Trained representatives can also help organizations internally communicate to current or prospective donors.
Utilize social media. Unfortunately, social media isn’t completely free like it once was. However, it is a cost-effective means for reaching a large group of people with the content you’d like them to see. Whether promoting an event, highlighting an employee’s hard work or straight-up asking for donations, social media is a great way to be heard by your intended audience.
The new year is a time for resolutions – in many cases, giving back in the form of year-end donations or more time spent volunteering in the new year. I’m lucky I get to work with amazing organizations all year-round. Cheers to all the great causes out there and the people that keep them alive!