Top Ten Public Relations Secrets for Non-Profits: # 5 Feature Compelling Leaders

When you engage in public relations as a non-profit organization, every move must be strategic and thoughtful. The road to visibility can be long and arduous, and there is nothing more important than your integrity and your reputation. For more than three decades, we have been providing counsel and service to organizations and public figures in the Christian and non-profit sectors. We’ll unfold ten things we’ve learned.

#5 Feature Compelling Leaders

Most causes will not catch on if they are not connected to and sponsored by engaging people. That’s why charities use celebrities or statesmen, or push their chief executive to the forefront. It’s true in fundraising—people give to people. And it’s also true in public relations. You might think that you good and important work can be sold without a compelling spokesperson. That’s possible, but not likely; sorry.

A good, well-trained spokesperson will serve your organization well. Media want to talk to an individual who will speak with authority, and will be quotable. If it’s broadcast media, it helps if he or she is interesting, attractive, winsome, and literate.

We’ve worked with several organizations that want publicity, but their chief executive is too camera shy, too busy, or too tongue-tied to do interviews. A substitute is often acceptable, if the substitute can speak well, and can speak for the organization.

One exception to this is crisis communications. In most crises, the CEO should be front and center. It’s reassuring to people, and it shows the public that the company is taking the crisis seriously.

If you don’t have a good public spokesperson you need to hire one or develop one.

–Jim Jewell

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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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