My sophomore year of school at ACU was spent in Dallas working with the Justice and Urban Studies Team alongside CitySquare – a nonprofit with the mission of fighting the root causes of poverty. As students with ACU @ CitySquare we were given extensive amounts of hands on learning; learning that we coined putting theory into practice.
From the hands on experience, I was able to spend time learning from major established CitySquare staff, like the CEO or director of the Texas AmeriCorps program, but also from community center leaders and teachers.
Coming from the public relations perspective, I was able to see where some non-profits were struggling and where they were doing well.
Most of the struggles seen in non-profit public relations was a lack of funding to develop a public relations department. While most non-profits I saw were staffed with communications departments, there weren’t many with specified public relations employees. This seem to cause some misrepresentation of the non-profit and disorganization.
While the struggles were immense, the triumphs seemed to come directly from those struggles. Because there was no representation, the whole company knew exactly what to say and what to do when representing their non-profit. The lack of representation and disorganization also created a togetherness of the publics affected. They knew there would be no one to organize them so they organized themselves.
Why does this matter?
Personally, after seeing the functions, or dysfunctions rather, of a nonprofit lacking a public relations department, I was truly able to see the importance of PR. In my opinion, PR is what holds companies together and keeps them standing on their own two feet. Without PR, companies become disorganized, misrepresented and as a result, less effective.
I truly believe this is an important field in the PR world, and as more students make the move toward PR and communications, I hope that non-profit PR will become a more discussed sector in the PR world.