Top Ten PR Secrets for Non-profit Organizations: #9 Work Like You Know It’s the 21st Century

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.

#9 Work Like You Know It’s the 21st Century

As we begin the second decade of the 21st Century it is clear that communications is different than the last century. I’m not so sure it is changing for the positive, but regardless of what I think, a campaign that is “oh, so last century“ is not likely to succeed. 10% of the 21st Century is already history.

Like anyone else in public relations work, we have been trying to determine what about the new media will change the way we spend our time, about what part will simply waste our time in the guise of social networking.

Here’s what we’re learning

1. Website: You need to have a decent website with a moving part—something that changes regularly and provide current information. Ours is

2. Blog: You need a blog, either as part of the website or continuously connected. Positive new information can be presented through blogging, and an organization can respond to pretty much anything through blogging, especially negative rumors or negative public reaction to anything the organization does. Since blogs are supposed to be updated incredibly frequently (usually every day or at the very least once a week) an organization can respond to the public in real time. Also, since blogs allow comments, an organization can see the public response to the public relations campaigns themselves. Our blog is

3. Optimize: Websites and blogs don’t do you any good if no one visits. There are lots of tips for search engine optimization (SEO), which can help maximize your Internet based work. None of this can be static and successfully. Working the blogs and networks will have to be part of nearly every day to be successful.

4. Social networks: You need to find the combination of social networks that work for you. I use Twitter (RooftopJewell), Facebook, and LinkedIn; perhaps you’ll find something that works better for you. Social networks want you to be social; people that simply are selling their wares using a social apparatus are looked down on.

5. Write for the Internet: You have ten seconds for the first impression. Save your depth for those who chose to dig in. Give the simple facts in 150 words or less? Who? What? Where? When? Why? Journalism’s five “W’s.” Or the short-sentence, three-paragraph email pitch letter? It’s not easy to write tight. Mark Twain summed it up best when he said: “If I had more time I would have written less.” Writing is about re-writing. Writing well takes time. Respect today’s reality: take the time to write less and make it mean more. Want to win coverage? Start by throwing out the tattered old print press release. Write like you have 10 seconds to make a point. Because online, you do.

I’m learning along with everyone else–not just about how to use the tools, but how the tools can realistically maximize the message. There is something new to learn every day.

–Jim Jewell


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 ( 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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