Lessons All Business Communicators Can Learn from Nonprofit Public Relations

February 2003
by Rodger Roeser

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Big bookings, celebrity endorsements, ornate pageantry, and loads of bells and whistles are relatively easy to come by when you have a big budget. But what happens when your budget is tiny and tight?

If your business is not-for-profit, you have an extra advantage: “The media are more likely to take a phone call and more likely to pay attention to a pitch, an event, activity, or initiative that is for a good cause,” according to UCLA professor Adam Coyne, who is also the Communications Manager for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. But whatever the structure of your company, the PR practices of nonprofits can serve you well.

“The hardest part about doing nonprofit work is budget,” Coyne says, explaining that since communications budgets of nonprofit organizations are generally much smaller than the budgets at their for-profit counterparts, nonprofits work harder and smarter. “I find that a small budget breeds lots of creativity,” Coyne reports. “I am seeing more and more good ideas come out of the nonprofit arena, whether it is a backyard birthday party for Van Gogh, or a traveling blood drive to local drive time radio disk jockeys.”


Pointers on Doing What Needs to Be Done

Bob Johnson, Public Relations Director for St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, also subscribes to the Working Smarter Theory. Most for-profit organizations think in a linear fashion, he says, ins…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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