Public relations can be seen as merely promotion – whether a product, an organization, a place or even a person. The essence of PR work, however, is about building relationships to help people gain a deeper understanding or connection to a particular subject-object-concept. The 2019 Strategic PR class (COMM 347) partnered with the college’s office of Alumni Relations to explore how PR seamlessly relates to fundraising by cementing connections between donors and a cause and motivating people to give.
For this project, three areas were identified to address: general philanthropy education, the annual Senior Class Gift, and the annual Day of Giving, which is held in the spring. After creating a problem statement, the students identified the key stakeholders: the administration and three distinct distinct groups of students: student government officers and class presidents, seniors, juniors and sophomores, and transfer students. Interviews were conducted with each stakeholder group that informed the development of a SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The key words became the basis of messages for social media outreach.
Clients were briefed throughout the project soliciting their input. As the target audience were their peers, the class put heavy emphasis on social media. While individual students worked in small groups on those aspects of the project that best played to their strengths – design, content development, social media – the full class of 17 collaboratively developed messaging as well as critiqued each draft product, making any recommendations for edits, to finalize for the client presentation.
Dewey, Ady, "Cultivating Student Philanthropy: Putting the FUN into Fundraising" (2019). Strategic Public Relations Projects. 3.