No organization exists in isolation from its environment; its goals are inevitably affected by various outside factors. In this section we'll discuss in detail how public relations work with these factors that develop from different publics. For business, the specialties associated with these publics are: consumer affairs, government relations, investor relations, employee relations, community relations, international relations, and press relations. For nonprofit organizations, publics are more likely to be donors, members, or sponsors and the specialty we discuss here is fundraising.
The importance given to any or all of these publics varies from organization to organization. To company selling retail goods, for instance, the consumer affairs department is emphasized. Companies that manufacture for, but don't deal directly with, consumers often put more emphasis on employee relations or community relations. A company like Boeing is a good example. Its consumers are airlines and national governments, but it employs thousands of people in the communities where its factories are, and so it takes strong positions in both these areas. Because of its increasing importance, the area of government relations is well covered in nearly all organizations.
With today's more active and vocal publics, the truth of Lincoln's remark impresses itself even more forcefully on business. It captures in one phrase the problem of low credibility and the success of happy collaboration, which is the goal that public relations must move toward.
In considering your career in public relations, take a good look at these different areas. You might identify one that really intrigues you. If you can come up with viable proposals for assisting the organization of your choice in meeting its goals in one or more of these areas, you are already on the way to a job opportunity.
Ralph Nader and Betty Furness are by now familiar names to most of us. Consumer affairs and consumer advocacy groups are making their presence visible and the media devote considerable attention to consumer interests. Hence, consumer affairs departments have come into prominence on the organizational charts of many firms. Though varying in name and in the range of their activities, all are concerned with communicating and improving relations with customers.
These departments address the concerns of the consumer movement, such as price increases, product quality and safety, misleading advertising and labeling, inadequate service and repairs, poor handling of complaints, and inadequate warranties and guarantees.
What Consumer Affairs Does. Two major functions of a typical consumer affairs unit are handling inquiries and complaints and developing consumer education programs. In many cases, there is no sharp distinction between the two areas. General Foods, for instance, recognized and centralized its consumers' unit into the General Foods Consumer Center. The Center participates in various stages of new product development, operates test kitchens, and gives free advice on nutrition to the public and professionals. It also monitors trends in consumer opinions through nineteen consumer advisory councils throughout the country. All these efforts are coordinated through an advertising review board consisting of representatives from product management, the legal department, marketing research, technical research, the marketing services department, and a representative from the Consumer Center. This board is concerned with every commercial communication between company and customers. This one example shows the breadth of personnel and skills that come together in consumer affairs. For General Foods, it is nutritionists, chefs, statisticians, speakers, writers (cooking and nutrition pamphlets), artists, packaging designers, educators, and researchers, not to mention experts from other departments of the company, such as advertising, legal, and marketing.
Inquiries and Complaints: The main concerns of consumer affairs departments are inquiries and complaints. The increase in both the number of complaints and degree of consumer sophistication in one decade is remarkable. In 1963, for instance, Scott Paper received 1,000 pieces of mail; in 1973, it was 70,000.
Companies usually set up a regular step-by-step procedure for handling complaints, logging them as they come in, acknowledging them and passing them along to appropriate parties for answer, checking back for follow-through, and so on. Resolution can be in various forms: replacement, credit, refund, or substitution for the problem article. As a final step, complaints, inquiries, and suggestions are periodically tallied and analyzed, and reports are issued to management with appropriate recommendations for product improvement, discontinuance, modification, and so on.
Various techniques have been used to cope with consumer complaints, from simplifying the language of instruction manuals to retraining sales and service personnel. An increasingly popular tool is the toll- free hotline that consumers can call to register gripes, get information, or both. ITT has, naturally enough, taken a strong position with this consumer aid, using it in many of its subsidiaries, even for its industrial customers. For instance:
O. M. Scott & Sons Company, an ITT division, has a toll-free telephone number for its Marysville, Ohio, headquarters. Customers can call to get advice on seeds, fertilizer, and other lawn products produced by the division.
ITT Data Equipment & Systems Division (and ITT Data Services) has set up a hotline for computer and electronic data processing system customers. This line, open twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, gives the customers instantaneous access to ITT service representatives.
ITT Levitt & Sons Incorporated, a residential construction unit, established an Office of Consumer Affairs whose hotline enables home buyers to contact the unit's headquarters or field operation service personnel.
ITT Fluid Handling Division is a producer of industrial equipment, such as centrifugal pumps, heat exchanges, and plumbing equipment. It established a twenty-four-hour hotline at its factory, which the division's customers can use in the event of emergency breakdowns to contact the factory's managers and service representatives.
Avis Rent-A-Car System, another ITT division, established a national toll-free number for use by motorists who have mechanical problems with their Avis rental cars and require service while on the road. This same number is also used to give road directions under a program called "Hello Avis, I'm lost," established for customers who become confused while driving in unfamiliar areas.12
The Work of Associations: Trade and professional associations actively practice public relations by representing their industries to the public. Many of these organizations have developed industry-wide programs for processing and resolving complaints. Note that in some cases, the service is extended to a member firm, to help it in solving a problem. In other cases, the consumer is aided directly.
The National Institute of Dry Cleaning maintains a complaint investigation service. This includes access to an analytical laboratory where dry cleaners may send garments that are the source of consumer complaints for testing and analysis. The laboratory reports to the dry cleaners on the causes of the problems. Periodically, the Institute summarizes the complaints received by type and number for the benefit of members.
The National Consumer Finance Association has set up a consumer affairs center that makes certain that consumer complaints reach top executives of the finance companies belonging to the association, bringing to their attention complaints that might otherwise be filtered out at the branch level.
The Electrical Industries Association of Southern California maintains a consumer complaints reference center that gives complainants the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of the appliance firm executives who can best handle their service inquiries.13
Consumer Education and Information: Many complaints stem from ignorance about use and maintenance of the product, or from buying the wrong item for an intended purpose. Consumer information and education programs are devised to forestall these situations. Their aims range from improving customer satisfaction with a specific product, to sharing information on the benefits of a generic product, to introducing a new product or service. In addition, many companies distribute pamphlets, brochures, and charts showing how to use their products, or giving health and safety information related to their products or services. Some examples are: booklets on grooming and styling distributed by the Gillette Company; pamphlets and posters distributed by Pfizer Laboratories explaining the symptoms and problems of venereal disease; and pamphlets distributed by Shell Oil on automobile safety and maintenance. Other companies have developed materials for entire courses that are available to educational and other institutions. Del Monte Food, for instance, created English-Spanish charts, menu cards, and course materials explaining the four food groups for use in foods education.
In the development of these various programs all the writing, illustration, design, and packaging are usually done by the consumer affairs staff.
Trade associations have also set up consumer education programs and systems, in keeping with their obligations to their two publics: the industry they represent and its consumers. For example:
The National Association of Life Underwriters, in cooperation with Au-burn University, sponsored ten half-hour television programs on money management and family finance.
The Michigan Retail Lumber Dealers Association, in an effort to educate homeowners about lumber sizes and grades, distributed over 650,000 copies of a brochure, Your Guide to Buying New Sizes of Lumber.
The Credit Union National Association circulates a quarterly, pocket- size magazine, entitled Everybody's Money, which contains feature articles on such varied subjects as interest rates, car repairs, the use of small claims courts, and tips on weight reduction.
The American Hotel and Motel Association publishes a Guide to American Hospitality in Hotels and Motels, designed to acquaint travelers with the services offered by hotels and motels. Its Guide to Guests from Abroad (printed in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese) tells foreign visitors to American hotels about the use of telephones, hotel staff functions, tipping practices, laundry and valet services, rates of exchange, etc.14
This is a promising area, particularly if you are interested in the creative service areas of written, spoken, and visual communications, or if you're an advocate of consumer involvement.
Some Skills Valuable in Consumer Affairs
" Experience on an everyday level as a consumer of mass-made goods (e.g., as housewife, automobile driver)
" ability to reduce complicated procedures to simple steps
" a feel for what the company's limitations are
" a desire to help your fellow consumers get the best value for their money
" associative talent in the field: cooking if it's a food company; gardening if it's plant-related, etc.
" ability to relate to and sympathize with everyday people
It is clear that a great deal of effort and activity already goes into consumer affairs at every level and that there is going to be more, not less, in the future.
Government relations on every level-local, state, and national-is a growing area in public relations because of the growth of government and its impact on corporate functions. It is one of the most exciting areas of PR, and also among the most difficult and challenging.
Washington Public Relations: One of the fastest-growing specialties in the entire field is Washington public relations. A number of important factors are contributing to this. The large corporations have become sensitive to government scrutiny coming from Washington, D.C., as well as from public interest groups in general. In their concern to get their side of the story before the public, large corporations are turning to PR agencies. Companies such as Chrysler and Lockheed, who have asked for enormous sums of money from the government to save them from bankruptcy, also want to tell their side of the story to the taxpayer who will be footing the bill. Annual billings for PR agencies are growing rapidly because of businesses' desire to improve their public image and job opportunities. The large trade associations are also turning to PR agencies for help in Washington.
To do well in Washington as a PR professional, you must understand the intricacies of Congress, especially the lobbying function. Communication skills are crucial. The impact of government on the private sector is always a key aspect of the Washington picture, but Washington PR is also always affected by the shift of public opinion, as well as events of all kinds and importance. You simply must be on your toes.
Activities of Government PR: Listening, Learning, Lobbying. Your tasks as a government public relations professional are: to inform appropriate people in government about your organization's interests and persuade them to take a favorable position toward it; to anticipate government actions that could affect the organization; and to be ready to respond with a program of information to the public that either supports or opposes the government stance.
Gathering political and economic information and forecasting events is a vital part of the public relations function. You must monitor news services, tap every contact, scan small-print publications. In Washington, this means The Federal Register, Congressional Quarterly, The Congressional Record, The National Journal, and newsletters and information services, not to mention keeping up with all that happens on the Hill.
Counseling management properly involves being able to interpret all these facts in an effort to anticipate government developments. To be effective in this, you must have a complete understanding of your organization's goals as well as the complete support of management.
Legislators, in turn, want information about what's happening in the organization. You must see that the representatives concerned are kept up to date on it and have what they need, even providing special studies and materials relating to proposals and legislation if advisable. This system, better known as lobbying, is a valuable source of information for legislators. Effective representation before Congress, regulatory agencies, and executive departments provides an important service to both Congress and to the organization.
There are times when the organization decides that it must more directly influence action, and therefore steps up the lobbying from merely providing information to taking an advocacy position. Many PR techniques are used for this: First, there are reports prepared and distributed to government officials; then speeches delivered; ads taken; news media and interest groups contacted. The news media in Washington deserve special mention. They are people who have received this choice assignment because of their demonstrated skill. Known as the press corps, they are a vital source of information for anyone in Washington PR, as well as a channel for disseminating it.
Another aspect of government public relations for many firms is relating to government as a major consumer of the firm's goods and services. These may include aerospace, electronics, and educational materials. For such companies, an additional PR function is to keep the government informed about company developments and new products.
If you're not scared off yet, you might have what it takes to do the demanding and highly skilled work of government public relations. See if your skills match any of the following.
Some Skills Valuable in Government Relations
" expertise in political and legislative processes
" service with a legislator or active work in a political party
" integrity, a sense of political judgment, an awareness of issues
" an idea of how lobbying works and any experience in it
" research ability
" a sense of history as well as current issues
" a feel for emerging trends and problems
" ability to think on your feet and move quickly in a crisis
Government PR has another appeal-it is one area where you can feel you are making a critical difference, even as an individual. The relationship now required between government and private enterprise can become a positive force in providing creative solutions to both present and future problems.
The specialty of investor public relations has been thoroughly defined by Martin-Marietta Corporation, the aerospace giant. This description of what Martin-Marietta's Director of Investor Relations is expected to handle gives a detailed picture of this high-level public relations function.*
Investor relation is basically a combination of financial knowledge and communication skills. A company employs these techniques to communicate with its financial publics-in short to encourage them to invest in the firm. Corporate attention to the investment community has grown and so have investor relations departments, partly as a response to increasing demand for public financial disclosures and tightening regulations from the Securities and Exchange Commission. In many companies, investor relation is no longer a financial officer's sideline, but has become a full-time executive-level responsibility.
Job Description: Director-Investor Relations 15 Martin-Marietta Corporation
The Director-Investor Relations is specifically responsible for the following activities:
A. Maintaining liaison with brokerage firms, institutional investors, investment bankers, and interested individuals in their capacity as security owners or potential security owners.
B. Reviewing and analyzing current operations and outlook of the corporation so as to be able to maintain a meaningful dialogue with the financial community.
C. Holding meetings with representatives of investment organizations, including meetings with other management officials of the corporation as required.
D. Arranging for periodic appearances of management officials before investor groups and organizations.
E. Handling written and verbal inquiries from shareowners concerning the progress of the business and its financial results.
F. Maintaining summaries and analyses of security holdings by various categories.
G. Coordinating shareowner activities with the Vice President-Public Relations, General Counsel, and other corporate operating and staff functions, in order to exchange counsel and advice and achieve a well-integrated program.
H. Developing, reviewing, and recommending acquisition investment and new venture possibilities as requested and participating as requested in acquisition and investment negotiations.
a. Providing acquisition research and advice to operating divisions, as requested.
b. Representing the corporation, as requested, in certain situations in which it may have an investment interest.
I. Maintaining such economic, financial, and statistical data as may be useful to the corporation in
a. measuring its own operations and those of its principal competitors,
b. investigating investment and acquisition possibilities, and (C) assessing trends in the securities markets.
Maintaining a financial and economic research library including an annual report file, designed to meet the needs of corporate operating and staff functions.
J. Disseminating such economic and statistical data concerning general business conditions as may be useful to the corporation, including the "Monthly Economic Review" circulated to operating and staff officials.
K. Maintaining membership in and coordinating the corporation's relationship with investor-oriented groups such as the Investor Relations Association, National Investor Relations Institute, and the Association for Corporate Growth.
L. Conducting consulting assignments within the corporation, as requested by the President or Executive Vice President and the presidents of the operating divisions.
M. Handling correspondence of a general nature as referred by the Offices of the President and Executive Vice President.
The objectives of an investor relations program depend on company size and image, and the current investment climate. However, the fundamental goal at all times is to maintain the company's credibility by providing reliable information to the investment community.
The changes in professional investment relations are readily visible on organization charts. The investor relations position has been upgraded and the title of "Vice President Investor Relations" has emerged. Typically, their unit reports directly to the CEO and cooperates with public relations, but has separate status.
Many companies employ outside counsel in investor relations to ensure objectivity. When outside counsel is used, service usually includes conducting surveys of security analysts and handling the more sensitive financial press relations.
If this field interests you, following is a list of skills that will be useful.
Some Skills Valuable in Investor Relations
" facility with the language of the financial community
" knowledge of finances and communications skills (a must)
" background in law or economics
" courage, because the proper handling of corporate communications (a typical name for this function) can be like living with the sword of Damocles hanging over your desk
" ability to communicate complex financial concepts to the lay person
The investor relations person is in high demand. This is an expanding area with new offices opening up daily in corporations to handle relations with security analysts, stockholders, and the financial press. There are more high-level openings and fewer candidates than in other areas of PR, so the opportunities are greater.
One of the most rapidly developing activities in larger corporations is employee relations. A number of factors contribute to this development, some within corporations and some because of recent developments in the PR field itself. That the United States lags behind many other major industrialized nations in productivity has management concerned. Recent attitude surveys of United States workers indicate more negative feelings toward management than ever before. Within the PR field itself, the larger firms are being called on more and more to create employee relations programs that provide management with more direct access to their workers.
Hotlines, comparable to those used by ITT for consumer affairs, are being set up for employees. New approaches to written communication are also being devised. The United States today has the most educated work force in history, and it resents being talked down to in old- fashioned house publications. Today's employee wants the fat.> honestly put without fluff or manipulation. If you are sensitive to the attitude shifts now occurring and care to jump into the fray between labor and management, look to employee relations as a career.
European firms are significantly ahead of the United States firms in collaboration and cooperation between labor and management. They could show the way for United States corporations. A key to the success in Europe has been communication between management and labor, which is central to the employee relations effort. When Volkswagen had to lay off thousands of workers before their recent spectacular turnaround, its top management sat down and worked out agreements with its employees to save and reserve as many jobs as possible. These agreements came out of some straight, tough talk between groups, and might be a model for future employee relations efforts in the United States.
Some Skills Valuable in Employee Relations
" awareness of changing worker attitudes
" ability to conduct accurate opinion surveys
" knowledge of successful mechanisms for management/employee communications
" ability to write effectively for employee groups
" public speaking ability
" knowledge and experience with group dynamics
" negotiation and arbitration skills
Most forecasts for the 1980s agree that employee relations will be a sensitive area where many changes will take place. This is an area to watch for career opportunities.
Organizations, especially those established as businesses, are important community residents. They provide employment, wages, and benefits, deal with local suppliers, pay taxes to the community, and contribute to charities and cultural events. The community, in return, contributes its labor and management personnel, and its investment capital. Community residents often buy the goods produced and use the services provided by the businesses. Through local government, communities provide health, safety, utility, and transportation services. The ideal relationship, then, between business and the community is one of interdependence and collaboration. The company's community relations officer sees to this, in one of the most pleasing roles of the business community-working directly with a neighbor to make a better life.
Typical Community Relations Programs. Business responsibility in a community includes all the characteristics of being a good citizen: contributing to efficient government, education, health, and recreation. Business further participates in community life by encouraging employees to assume leadership and to give service, and indeed by providing the practical framework to implement such projects. For example, both Shell Oil Company and IBM in Houston, release their employees on certain afternoons to participate in a public school volunteer program. Students are tutored in math and English and more importantly, they are presented with role and career models from the business sector.
Shell combines service to the community with action opportunities for company retirees through the Shell Employees and Retirees Volunteerism Effort (SERVE). The program matches interests, skills, and time schedules with needs in the community. General Electric, too, is involved in local education, notably through "The World of Work," a secondary school career guidance program, and through a program for minority engineering education.
The Social Responsibility of Business. The larger issue centers around business and corporate social responsibility. There is active debate on just how much of a commitment business should make to society and what priorities should be considered. The discussion swings from the idea that business should avoid social goals (because these belong to government and social service groups), to the idea that business, in pursuing the profits goal, best helps society, to the idea that it's a plain necessity that private enterprise take on a greater social role. The ultimate idea is that business, as the purchaser of, and sharer in, the employee/community residents' time, has an integral responsibility in enhancing their lives.
More and more, business around the world is taking this view. An Australian executive remarked that, for business, the idea "means recognizing that, to the worker, job security means more than protection against economic loss; in the end it concerns his status and dignity as a man."
A good community relations person is in great demand. The job requires great tact, for you are representing a leading local organization to your fellow community members. To do the job well, you need the imagination to propose solutions, but even more to anticipate repercussions before they happen, to make things easier for both parties.
Community relations is an area of very special appeal, since it ranges from down-to-earth, home-front activities, like arranging company sponsorship of Little League teams and museum exhibits, to major issues such as the disposal of industrial wastes and the impact of employee cutbacks on the community. This is a good position for someone whose only skill may be knowing and caring about his or her community. In this area of PR, that's worth something. Here is a list of other helpful skills.
Some Skills Valuable in Community Relations
" love and interest in your community
" experience in volunteer work in the community, hospital fund drives, Scout work, PTA
" ability to handle yourself well with strangers
" good speaking and writing skills
" ability to manage details and make arrangements for meetings, conferences, trips
" sensitivity to all local environments: political, social, ethnic, financial
" ability to get one side to see the other's point of view
The business community is increasingly concerned with the quality of its relationship with the public. At times this concern appears to be limited to merely improving image; sometimes there is a genuine desire to be more socially aware and responsible. Whatever the motivation of a particular company at the moment, it is clear that in this area of community relations there is growing career opportunity. Financial institutions like banks and insurance companies are concentrating now on developing more effective community relations programs.
INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS
In the early sixties, Marshall McLuhan described the transformation of the earth into a "global village" through instant communication and mobility. The effect of international economics has been an interchange of techniques, especially in communication, selling, and persuasion. With the world becoming smaller, the separation between social customs and business conduct in various countries is diminishing.
The Role of International PR. American PR has a significant role to play in competing for foreign markets and in the continuing collaborative exchange of information and technology. Businesses must conduct public relations in foreign countries where they are operating or hope to operate. Several major public relations firms have affiliates abroad, staffed principally with indigenous personnel in communication with home-office policy makers.
Those home-office policy makers must be kept completely up to date on each country's customs, perspectives, and philosophical frameworks. The role of public relations is to counsel the organization on how to approach different nations. In many countries, for example, the American concept of punctuality and getting down to business is viewed as barbaric. Being aware of differing outlooks, and determining local interests, values, needs, and publics are functions of the public relations person in a company dealing in foreign markets.
China, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the Arab countries, and The Third World, in addition to Europe, all are markets for United States trade. If you're seeking a career in international relations, think about the skills listed below. You may have some that a company would value in its international public relations program.
Some Skills Valuable in International Relations
" knowledge of a target country's language and social customs
" background in anthropology, comparative literature, religions
" awareness of the sensitive issues in the field of development
" cross-cultural experience of some depth
" knowledge of the history of transnational corporations and their impact on host countries
International relations will be an important PR area in the coming years; companies will be focusing on projecting positive images to foreign governments and their peoples. Some issues that will need addressing are the role and accountability of multinational corporations to the international community; the relationship between public policy in the various nations and multinational corporations; the effect of their corporations on United States trade, labor, technology, investment, and balance of payments.
According to David Brinkley, "When a reporter asks questions, he is not working for the person being questioned, whether businessman, politician, or bureaucrat. He is working for the readers and listeners."16 Since PR is in the business of influencing public opinion, the press is crucial to its task. In today's world, the press also involves radio and TV reporting, so that most companies now describe this specialty as media relations. The terms media and press are often used interchangeably and they describe one of the most powerful forces in the modem world.
What Happens in Media Relations. A significant part of media relations is the training of company executives to relate positively to the media, specifically reporters. Involved in this work are experienced media professionals sharing their trade secrets with leaders in organizations who are likely to be in contact with the press. Media specialists used to take care of talking about the company to the press, but TV has changed this and now the "company spokesperson" has been replaced by a corporate official. More and more, the job of media relations professionals is to help representatives of the organization become competent enough to speak intelligently to the press, instead of appearing noncommittal or downright hostile.
As an example of what can be done through effective media relations, consider what one PR specialist, Mortimer Matz, did in New York City recently. Matz was representing the transit police and trying to win contract benefits for them by influencing public opinion. Matz had worked for years on the Daily News before his PR career began and was an active member of the New York Reporters Association. He began his campaign by calling reporters and deskmen around town, pointing out that the subway crime statistics coming from the Transit Authority were inaccurate. City Hall reporters immediately picked this up and got the Mayor involved. Matz tells the rest like this: "Then I asked the policemen themselves to call me at either the office or at home whenever they had an arrest or a report of a subway crime. The phone rang all day and all night. I'd get a fast account from the cop and a phone number where he could be reached. Then I'd call the wire services, the pressroom at police headquarters, and the newspaper desks. I got the private, unlisted numbers of radio and TV assignment editors and I'd call them. For two months, from the middle of March to the middle of May, I never got one full night's sleep. I felt like the city editor of all New York."17 Needless to say, subway crime was front-page news during this period, and the contract benefits, when demanded, did not seem that unreasonable to the taxpayer or to the beleaguered City Hall.
If you want to be involved in media relations, you have to be well acquainted with the inner workings of PR firms and the media. Networking is the answer. If you are not a member of any of the networks which function in these fields, it is almost impossible to make a job contact in media relations. The first step in your job search is to participate in the networks of people who run the PR firms and media in your area. Chapter 3 describes in detail a method for beginning this kind of participation.
In Smaller Organizations. In the small business or the nonprofit orga-nization, media relations have more to do with preparing press releases and bulletins of various kinds for local newspapers and spot announcements on radio and TV. As was noted earlier, the PR person in small organizations has to do it all, and dealing with the press tends to be one of the most important functions. Writing skills are essential, as well as knowledge of what the press needs in the way of style and structure in copy. Sometimes they just print it as it is written. A good journalism text will give you an idea of what's involved.
Some Skills Valuable in Media Relations
" an intimate knowledge of the function of media in modern society
" experience with the inner workings of press, radio, and TV reporting
" participation in the networks of media professionals
" ability to communicate with the media in a way that commands trust and respect
" knowledge of the basics of journalism
" strongly developed writing skills and a flair for creating attractive copy
As issues of a critical nature seem to be developing at an ever-increasing rate, media relations promises to be a PR specialty of central importance.
If you want to be where there will be a great deal of intense activity, this is a place to consider.
In the nonprofit sector, many organizations such as private schools, art councils, symphony orchestras, museums, and churches need professional help in their fund raising activities. They frequently use the title Director of Development to describe the job. Nonprofit organizations provide good opportunities to break into this aspect of PR because so many organizations use it. Colleges and universities are now offering courses in fund raising techniques to attract the adult student. The description of the series offered by New York City's New School for Social Research in 1980 (below) gives a good, concise picture of what typically goes on in fund raising. Similar programs may exist in your area. The titles and organizations represented by the speakers show the breadth of the field and the names it uses for its practitioners. Note that the course* is being co-sponsored by a professional association that you can contact if you wish to pursue this field.
A comprehensive series of ten seminars designed to meet nonprofit organizations* need to develop and increase contributions and grants support-an absolute essential in today's marketplace if these institutions are to remain viable and successfully meet their goals. The course, organized for those new to fund raising, volunteer leaders, and other professionals, provides the practitioner with the means of increasing his knowledge and sharpening skills so important in carrying out productive and cost-effective development programs. Each session, led by an experienced fund raiser, provides an opportunity for the student to participate and learn about the more important practical aspects of fund raising- its methods and techniques.
1. Introduction: The philanthropic roots of nonprofit fund raising, current sources and distribution of philanthropic funds, major problems and issues facing the nonprofit sector, the future outlook for fund raising. Maurice G. Gurin, President, The Gurin Group, Inc.
2. Fundamentals checklist: Understanding donor motivation, developing the case for support, volunteer and leadership involvement, constituency identification, the campaign plan, budget, and staff. John L. Cole, Vice President for College Relations, Manhattanville College.
3. The essentials and importance of fund raising information, and record systems including the growing use of computerization in donor management and resource development. Jack K. Rimalover, Vice President of Resources Development, Lenox Hill Hospital.
4. Planning and implementing the annual giving program. The feasibility study. The capital campaign compared. William Freyd, President, Institutional Development Counsel.
5. Developing and soliciting major gift support from individuals and corporations. Ronald W. LaRose, Vice President for Development, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
6. Direct-mail marketing. Understanding how to do it including writing and testing copy, using lists, developing donor profiles, and measuring results. Norman G. Lind, Director of Direct Mail, Financial Development, The National Society for the Prevention of Blindness.
7. Grantmanship. How to approach foundations for support and secure government program funding. Jane C. Geever, President, J. C. Geever, Inc.
8. Importance of organizing and marketing a planned giving and good will promotion program. Edwin E. Steward, ScD, Director of Trusts and Estates, White Plains Hospital Medical Center.
9. Special Events. The unique place of the event in fund raising including an examination of both the traditional benefit and the newer special events in vogue today. Ethelind Wiener, Director Corporate Activities, Greater New York Chapter, The National Foundation-March of Dimes.
10. Ask the Pros-Panel Session. An opportunity for give and take with experienced professionals. Edmund J. Nagle, Director, Council Fund Development, Girls Scouts, USA; Stephan Schiffman, Director, Special Appeals, National Office, United Jewish Appeal.
Some institutions offer placement services connected with their fund raising courses, but be sure to check out their effectiveness before you sign up.
Basically, you are suited for fund raising if you are unafraid to approach people, can speak persuasively about what you believe in, and have some imagination when it comes to strategies. Direct-mail marketing techniques are also being used in this area and some knowledge of these can't hurt your chances of landing a good job as Director of Development. You can get an idea of positions and salaries in your area by scanning the newspaper classifieds. One daily issue of a metropolitan paper showed that a suburban hospital, a museum of Latin American Culture in another city, and a religious organization all sought fund raising help. Skills requested ranged from foreign languages to mail order techniques.
Some Skills Valuable in Fund Raising
" ability to aggressively contact people for the purpose of selling a cause, a project, or an institution
" basic knowledge of finances and tax implications of donations
" knowledge of direct-mail marketing techniques
" knowledge and imagination in relation to development strategies
" public-speaking ability
" experience with nonprofit sector
" experience with proposal writing
PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCIES AND CONSULTING FIRMS
One of the most interesting areas in PR is agencies and consulting firms. Some agencies are enormous, such as Hill & Knowlton and Ruder & Finn in New York, who have branches all over the world and can provide every kind of PR service. Most agencies can provide most services, but many specialize and are sought after for their specialties. Guttman and Pan, in Beverly Hills, offer all services, but specializes in entertainment and theatre public relations. The people getting the most attention these days are the ones who "remake" political candidates and then often manage the campaigns accordingly. And finally, there are people running small agencies or consulting firms selling their imagination and expertise in a certain field at very high prices. They often start PR as a second career after long and full experience inside the field they specialize in.
Agencies and consultants provide their services on a fee basis. A company's PR executive is usually the person who brings in such outside counsel, but occasionally the CEO does. When this happens, the counsel is obviously involved at the highest level of management. These firms are most often contracted on a project-by-project basis, and many organizations retain more than one firm at a time. They also tend to be called on more frequently for advice and counsel than for actual implementation of a program. Many companies, for instance, use outside counsel only for their press relations. The agencies can thus provide all services for a firm with limited PR needs, or all services on a given project, or specific services on a given project.
Typical agency or consultant assignments might include: creating a new PR department; planning a new program; defining short- and long-range PR goals; conducting an evaluation of a program or programs and suggesting revisions; providing publicity support or performing other services for a specific campaign; sending expertise on topics such as environmentalism and consumerism.
Speaking on the future of public relations agencies and counselors, James F. Fox, who has his own firm in New York City, suggested three possibilities: "new techniques, new kinds of services, new kinds of clients."18
New techniques for PR agencies and counselors include futures research, group dynamics techniques, and trend analysis-names given to skills now being developed in public relations. Among services in the forefront are those offering expertise in new areas of demand, such as ecology, energy, economic education, government regulation. New clients include lawyers, accountants, and others who have now been permitted to advertise, other professionals such as financial analysts, management consultants, and executive search firms who need positive attention brought to their abilities, and organizations such as hospitals and financial and education units who need expert help in the sophisticated skills of image-making and fund raising.
The chart shown in Figure 1-3 is typical of the organization pattern for a large, full-range PR firm with several hundred employees. Compare this large organization in your mind with the one-man operation: a well- located two-room office with a secretary and soft chairs in one room, the consultant at work in the other. Both are performing services as full-fledged public relations counsel. If you're not a "company man" or organization person, there may be something in this PR agency- consultant spectrum for you.