Charitable organizations, service clubs, non-profits and other such groups should rank public and media relations and the use of social media at the very top of their most valuable skills. Both staff and volunteers of these organizations should have both access to expertise in these fields and a large amount of knowledge and skill themselves.
There are few things more valuable to a charity or other group than spokespersons – staff execs, volunteer board members and volunteer influencers – who look good and speak well on broadcast media, on the podium or in other circumstances. By looking good, we don’t mean handsome or beautiful but people who look like they belong to the organization and to the communities they address, people who look and sound ‘real’, empathetic and honest.
A spokesperson, in a 30-second TV clip or a photograph, becomes, instantly, identified with the organization and its goals. He or she becomes the most credible symbol of the club or corporation, so careful consideration has to be given to who speaks on its behalf. A spokesperson who stumbles over the messages and mission of the group takes credibility away from the group with possible ramifications on donations, sponsorships and membership.
The background of the photograph of a spokesperson or of an interview of a spokesperson is extremely important to that organization. Every such group should have an interview corner, whether permanently set up in its offices or as movable scenery that can be set up on a moment’s notice. This background will display the group’s name and logo in colors that will be attractive on television.
Every organization asking the public for donations, volunteer work or other support must become knowledgeable about its public relations. At least two people should be named – and trained – as spokespersons. At least one and, preferably, more persons should be schooled in public relations. Some members of the staff should be proficient in the use of social media. As well, the organization must have in place policy dealing with how the group is portrayed on social media. There is no place on the Internet for questionable, offensive, obscene or other inappropriate behavior traceable to a charity, non- profit, club or other such body.
Communication is a critical part of a group’s toolset; it can’t be left to unskilled amateurs or those who do not have the best interests of the organization top-of-mind. Placement of the right people, training for these people and provision of resources to support these people are mandatory.