The new PR for non-profits: an emerging model

What will PR look like when it emerges?

Yesterday I posted about changes in the media landscape and suggested that PR is still a viable and important activity for non-profits wishing to build their image and reputation… but it is not PR as we’ve loved and known it.  Taking a page from the strategic planning toolkit, I thought it might be useful to contrast features of traditional PR with emerging PR approaches with a “to” and “from” chart.  Caution:  I may revert to using the phrase “paradigm shift” again (JK)!  And forgive me for not creating and embedding a Powerpoint slide (I tend to agree with an quote from an Atlantic Monthly article, “Before there was Powerpoint, there were conversations).

The “to/from” chart below isn’t meant to be definitive.  It’s intended to provoke your thinking about your choice of tactics, what skills you hire for, and how you measure progress and success.

FROM — > — > TO

PR pros’ value based on: reporter relationships — >knowledge of channels for distributing messages

A big win with the boss would look like:  positive newspaper feature — > audience exposure across traditional and online channels, comments, sharing, response

Communication direction:  mostly one-way — >two-way (not broadcasting, but conversing)

Channel size:  big audience conduits  — > communicating to smaller audiences, even individuals

Message control:  controlling the message  — > adapting the message, sometimes watching the adaptation

Approvals:  clear top-down sign offs  — > more flexible guidelines and autonomy

Spokespersons:  clear, controlled messengers  — > collaboration with constituents who have relationships

Materials:  one statement or release  — > story adapted and pushed across many channels

Medium:  written (narrative)  — > shorter texts, even fragments; video, photos

So, PR and non-profit friends, what do you think?  How will PR need to evolve?  Throw in some attributes of your own!

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