Nonprofit PR = Zero Budget

I am currently enrolled, and just finishing up, my Public Service Communications class here at Loyola. The class focuses on choosing a nonprofit organization to work with the entire semeter, and help them to create a new or updated PR plan. My team and I chose to work with Canine Motivated Therapies (CMT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to utilizing animal assisted therapy to help people with different kinds of physical and mental disabilities. The organization was somewhere between well-established and brand spakin’ new, which ended up proving to be a challenge for our team. How are we to suggest our new ideas without offending what they have already created?

Fortunately, the director of the organization was extremely gracious for our help, and very open to new ideas. My question is, how is nonprofit public relations different than for profit public relations? Obviously, the hardest part about working on a new public relations plan for a nonprofit organization is that there is usually little to no budget whatsoever. In our case, we had a whopping $0.00 to work with. However, I have learned that the public relations industry has found its way into all different kinds of outlets, luckily providing many free outlets.

CMT already had a pretty established website, so we decided to leave that alone, but utilize social media in order to raise more awareness about the organization, and hopefully in the process gain more volunteers. We created a Twitter account for CMT, as well as a blog. Both of these are obviously free, and great ways to gain support of an organization. We also hosted a virtual event which we were able to promote through our blog and tweets about the event. All in all, it turned out to be an amazing experience, dare I say my first taste of “real life” experience. While I can’t say that the nonprofit industry is for me, I can say that I learned many valuable lessons through working with a nonprofit, lessons I feel will definitely help carry me through a career of public relations. What do you all think? How does nonprofit PR differ from for profit PR? Or is there even that big of a difference?

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~ by emily074 on December 9, 2009.

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