As converged communicators in PUR3000 have learned, there’s a lot that’s involved in the complex world of public relations. But it’s not just worldwide mega-corporations like Johnson & Johnson that have to practice good public relations. It’s also important for individuals (like political candidates), government agencies (like the State Department), and even nonprofit organizations. For nonprofits, which often rely on donations to keep operating, good public relations aren’t simply useful. They’re vital to the organization’s mission.
One interesting example of public relations at work in the nonprofit sector comes from Mike Ives on Yale’s environment360 blog. Ives describes the recent efforts of a partnership of environmental organizations to thwart the poaching and trafficking of the horns of rhinoceroses, which are believed in some locations to have special powers. These campaigns are designed with several points in mind, but one of the central keys is that these horns are simply made of common compounds also found in human nails – in other words, they’re not magic. This is almost the opposite of the marketing “pull strategy” – here, the message is aimed toward the mass audience, but the intent is to diminish demand for the product and thus to dry up the cash flow that sustains poaching operations. It’s a unique combination of public relations, marketing, and the nonprofit sector in combination.