Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BIG's Blog: What Exactly is Public Relations Today?

If you think the nonprofit fundraising industry is going through change, how would you like to be in public relations?

If you’re in your 40s or 50s, you probably have some idea of what P.R. used to be.

Stuart Elliott writes in The New York Times that the industry of public relations has to redefine itself in the age of social media.

The Institute of Public Relations, the International Association of Business Communicators and the National Black Public Relations Society are coming together to redefine what public relations is in today’s world.

Adam Lavelle is the chief strategic officer of iCrossing, a unit of Hearst. “The definition is ripe for a refresh . . . before the rise of social media, public relations was about trying to manage the message an entity was sharing with different audiences. Now, P.R. has to be more about facilitating the ongoing conversation in the always-on world.”

Dan Tisch, chairman of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management has said, “In a world where the ordinary consumer is walking around with global publishing power in his or her pocket . . . the role of public relations and corporate communications has shifted from creating content to attempting to influence the content created by others.”

As you shift your fund raising and communications efforts from limited audiences, such as direct mail lists of donors and prospects where you control the message, to Internet-based communications, you are opening the organization to the world. In the Internet age, “control” has already passed to the consumer.

Just like the P.R. folks that are having to redefine what they do in the age of the Internet and social media, so too do nonprofit organizations, including their fundraising groups, need to redefine how they do business in the Internet age.


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