Community Organizing and PR work hand in hand
By: Guillermo De Lira
We are living in more tense political times than usual. The narratives and public policies affecting immigrants, workers, women, health and climate change have been threatened these past years due to the current presidential administration. But there’s always sunshine after the storm. Controversies surrounding these topics have activated community members across the nation to stand up for what they believe in and unite to help make a change. How are people getting organized though? How are social movements being spread to the masses?
Community organizers have historically been using the tools of public relations to have their messages reach their audiences. Here are five ways in which PR and community activism relate:
1. Audience Reach
Just like PR officials do, community activists must understand their organization’s goals and the community’s demographics in order to plan out how they are going to push messages to their target audiences. Psychographics, technographics and behavioral segmentation are key components of PR and community organizing; activists must implement these in their strategies to activate the public with effective calls to action.
Grassroot organizers and PR officials similarly plan out their initiatives and campaigns. Both involve creating plans that consist of research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Leaders of a grassroots organization/movement form action plans with reachable goals, measurable objectives, strategies and tactics for their cause, just as a PR official would do with a campaign. These are implemented when advocating for legislation to pass and getting people to sign a petition.
3. Tech Tools
Just like a company utilizes social media to reach audiences, activists use the digital world to spread the word and activate or educate their publics. The internet and social media have opened new doors for how to do PR. Similarly, activists use social/digital media to pass information to the public, get people to donate or sign a petition electronically and to gather people for a demonstration.
A lot of PR interns and experts are hired at non-profit organizations. Non-profit coordinators are kind of like paid activists, since they strive to push a good cause to their publics. Just like a non-profit involves attracting donors and volunteers, leaders of a social movement spread the word to attract more supporters and build unity.
Pop-up events, workshops and activities are key strategies in outreach plans of PR teams and program coordinators. Events are similarly planned by grassroot organizers, with a major focus in protests, demonstrations and holding educational conferences. Like companies and non-profits do, grassroot organizers seek media relations and press releases for exposure.
There are many things that activists can learn from public relations practitioners, and public relations practitioners can learn from activists. Following these five tips can help improve the results of any type of campaign or outreach.
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