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NON-PROFIT PUBLIC RELATIONSMelinda AlanizNovember 15th, 2011
What is a Non-Profit? Non-profit organizations are noncommercial entities whose main purpose is to serve the public interest. They do generate income or hold assets. However, they have restrictions on how their income may be generated and managed. They are represented as fostering goodwill, and as beacons of social responsibility.
Non-Profit Facts Non-profit organizations are classified as not-for- profit organizations or charities. In the United States there are almost 2 million such groups. Non-profit organizations have approximately 7 million people working in the non-profit sector. Non-profit organizations can range from membership organizations, advocacy groups and social service organizations to educational organizations, hospitals and health agencies, small city historical societies, and global foundations that disperse multimillion-dollar grants. Non-profit organizations are tax exempt.
Public Relations and Non-Profits Non-profit public relations differs from traditional public relations because these organizations are not profit oriented. Recruiting volunteers and keeping them enthusiastic are essential for non-profits. All non-profit organizations create communication campaigns which include special events, brochures, radio and television appearances to stimulate public interest and involvement.
Fundraising Most non-profit organizations establish fundraising goals and formulate plans to raise money. Most donations are made by corporations and foundations but individual contribution exceed combined corporate and foundation donations. Approximately 75 percent is individual contributions. In 2008, the American Red Cross raised approximately $3.2 billion, followed by Food for the Poor who raised $1.5 billion and Feed the Children who raised $1.2 billion. Charities often receive these amounts of donations after well-publicized events.
Types of Fundraising Structured Capital Campaigns DirectMail Event Sponsorship Telethons Telephone Solicitations Online and Social Media Corporate and Foundation Donations
Risks Fundraising involves risks as well as benefits. An organization needs to remain credible and at the same time needs to adhere to high ethical standards when soliciting contributions, so that expenses constitute a reasonable percentage of the funds collected. Groups have had their reputations severely damaged by disclosures that only a small portion of the money they raise is actually applied to the causes they advocate.
By The Way… Organizations must regularly analyze the competition they face from other fund-raising efforts. The public can become resentful and uncooperative if approached too frequently for donations. A partnership with United Way is a good way to gain funds. They collect funds during a drive and then distribute among participating agencies.
Why Volunteer or Donate? In a Gallup Organization survey 53 percent of those people responding said that their personal motive for volunteering and giving was “assisting those who are less fortunate.” The second most frequent reason was gaining a feeling of personal satisfaction. The third reason people said was religion.
Advocacy Groups Organizations that fight for social causes, such as: poverty, abortion, and racism to threats such as epidemic diseases and environmental degradation. They advocate to promote their own causes, but also are seen as lobbying for the good of the whole society. Some examples are Greenpace, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and American Family Association (AFA), which are all activist groups. Some social issue groups are Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Right to Life and pro-choice groups such as Planned Parenthood. These groups spend anywhere from $500,000 to $1.75 million on lobbying efforts.
Advocacy Groups:Strategies and Tactics Lobbying Litigation Mass Demonstration Boycotts Reconciliation Fund-raising
By The Way… The Gates Foundation, which is the largest foundation in the world, received a donation in 2006 of $30 billion from the world’s second richest man, Warren Buffett. By giving 85 percent of his fortune, he doubled the foundations assets to $62 billion. The Gates Foundation funds projects for education and global health. The second largest foundation is the Ford Foundation with a $11.6 billion fortune.
Social Service Organizations Social service organizations include social service, philanthropic, cultural, and religious groups that serve the public in various ways. Their advocacy is rooted in a sense of social purpose and the betterment of society as a whole. Social service organizations require active and creative public relations programs. They frequently have dual roles, both service and advocacy. Some examples of organizations are Goodwill Industries, the American Red Cross, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, and the YMCA.
Public Relations Within Social Service Public relations goals vary depending on the purpose of the social service organization. Non-profit social service organizations develop public awareness, encourage individuals to use their services, recruit and train volunteer workers and obtain operating funds. Most cultural institutions have in-house divisions of public relations but others, employ outside agencies for these purposes.
Social Service Organizations: Strategies and Tactics Publicity Creation of Events Use of Services Creation of Educational Materials Newsletters