Rising Stars: The Significance of Public Relations for Nonprofits
Digital Communications Public Relations

Rising Stars: The Significance of Public Relations for Nonprofits

By D+P Interns

By Libby Slaughter

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Saint John’s Hospice while assisting on a video shoot with Devine + Partners. During the shoot, I was able to meet all the faces behind this organization that have been serving meals and housing to people experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia for decades. I met the staff and volunteers who have devoted their careers and their free time to supporting the organization, cooking meals, and making sure people experiencing homelessness have a place to sleep each night. Once the shoot wrapped for the day, one of the things that stuck out to me most was how essential it is that people find out about this organization and how the Saint John’s message needs to be heard by those who need help and those who have the means to provide financial support.

Until my time interning at Devine + Partners, I had no idea the impact that public relations can have on nonprofit organizations. It makes sense, of course. No business can stand in the world today without a brand identity, website, social media presence, or even an email list. These are not easy tasks and are made harder for nonprofits. Especially for nonprofits who must be cautious about where their money is being spent. PR firms must be able to work within a strict budget to ensure that their clients get their voice out there to attract as many donors and clients as they can.

Public relations give a stage to the stories that nonprofits are trying to tell by creating a brand voice, leading media relations and community engagement, creating content and being there with issues management help when things go awry.

Brand Voice

A strong brand voice can be the difference between someone deciding to donate or not. It is up to the PR agency to provide a voice that is friendly and personable while still expressing it to a possible donor because their contribution is needed.

Media Relations

One of the major reasons why a nonprofit uses a PR agency is the connections needed to get their clients news and programs covered by media. PR agencies do research to find where a nonprofit’s message would be most highly valued and boost their message to gain donors and clients.

Community Engagement

Public relations agencies also create community events that connect people and amplify their clients’ voices, and sometimes agencies connect their clients for collaboration. For example, one of D+P clients, the “My Radio Doctor” podcast hosted an episode with another D+P client, MANNA. Both clients focus on healthcare, so this collaboration felt natural while still improving brand awareness.

Content Creation

As Devine + Partner’s content creation intern, this is my personal favorite. Nonprofits must utilize social media because it is free to use. This is an incredibly accessible way for PR firms to continue to develop the clients’ brand voice and share their message to attract donors and people in need of their services.

Crisis Management

While nonprofits usually fly under the radar, there is always the possibility for issues facing ethical concerns, controversies, or financial issues. It is beneficial for nonprofits to have a highly skilled PR team on their side to handle these situations and maintain the nonprofit’s reputation.

Since interning at Devine + Partners, I have been able to see the care and thoughtfulness each member of the D+P team puts behind promoting nonprofit client’s stories. This effort comes out of a place of wanting each client to succeed and to help each client reach the right people who will make a difference. With the surplus of media and advertisements being shown to users daily, PR firms have the power to influence positive change and boost stories that would otherwise go unheard.

Rising Stars is a series of thoughts, reflections and perspectives by the interns at Devine + PartnersLibby Slaughter is junior majoring in Advertising and Media Studies and Production at Temple University.

D+P Interns

D+P Interns