Tips for Associations and Non-Profit PR

By Andrew Blum*

Associations and non-profits bring a unique set of challenges for PR executives.

While many types of PR have their own ups and downs, doing PR for associations and non-profits means catering to several different audiences and stakeholders.

Beyond the media, PR in this environment has PR executives thinking about the group’s executives and staff, board of directors, donors and members. Each has a different stake in the success of an association or a non-profit and PR people need to keep them all in mind.

When the PR about one of these groups is positive and somewhat low-profile, it is easier than handling PR for a larger and higher profile non-profit or association.

Take the Clinton Foundation, for example. I am not sure who has the more demanding PR job these days – that foundation or the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. There have been a constant flood of stories recently about possible conflicts that arose with the State Department and the foundation when she was Secretary of State. This has turned into almost daily crisis PR.

But even for lesser known non-profits, a much smaller and lower profile crisis has the potential of severely damaging a group — and turning the PR executive’s work into a nightmare.

My advice: stay on top of the issue, communicate with all stakeholders as best you can and bring in a crisis PR expert early on.

Hopefully it won’t get as bad or last as long as the Clinton Foundation PR problems, and then you can go back to doing more positive association and non-profit PR.

*Andrew Blum is a PR consultant and media trainer and principal of AJB Communications. He has directed PR for professional services and financial services firms, NGOs, agencies and other clients. As a PR executive, and formerly as a journalist, he has been involved on both sides of the media aisle in some of the most media intensive crises of the past 25 years. Contact him at ajbcomms@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @ajbcomms.

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