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Knowledge Share #11: Effective PR and Spot On Communications


By Kelly Tryba, PR Coordinator

As the PR professional at your nonprofit, you play a key role in driving fundraising, both directly and indirectly.  You have a unique challenge:

How can I tell my employer’s story in a way that is engaging and memorable while also moving people to a change in attitude or behavior about both teen moms and my employer?

 

Uniform communication

The first step is to get a grip on your communication collateral.  Is it professional in appearance? Is it uniform? Is it compelling?

In order to answer yes to these questions, you will need to make an investment in quality control.  For example, we provide a digital file of approved photos for our staff to use in their communication efforts.  This ensures they are using images that are both professional and highly compelling, which is key in a new era when a picture is actually worth more than a thousand words (or sometimes even a thousand dollars!)

The same applies for clip art… gone are the days when our staff was downloading grainy, low quality images.  A small investment in a clip art product that we made available on our server equips our staff to communicate effectively and professionally.

At Hope House we also put together a Style Guide that helps us control what terms our staff members use to communicate (for example, we refer to the teen moms in our Mentoring Program as “mentoring girls” rather than “mentees”). 

Having control over the finished product is key in creating a congruent, effective communication plan, and it eases your burden if you can equip your team members with tools they can use without having to contact you first.

 

Storytelling

The best part about Public Relations at an organization that works with teen moms is the endless supply of inspiring stories that are right at your fingertips!

People respond to story. It is the most powerful tool you have at your disposal, and you need to use it continually. In fact, we have a policy that we do not send out an email without a teen mom story either in the body or as a sidebar.  Even our blog posts always either include a teen mom story as a sidebar or weaved into the actual post itself.

Why? Because stories are what catch people’s attention – and that is what they tend to remember.  When you started reading this blog post, you most likely scrolled down to the picture and read the caption that briefly told McKena’s story.  And it is pretty likely that her story is what you will remember best from my blog post!

One more note… changed lives are what inspire people, which is why your stories need to include the grit as well as the triumph. People want to know their investment is making a difference, and it is best shown through story, supported with a compelling photo. So tell stories with permission to share the hard backstory – or tell it anonymously or through a pseudonym if necessary.  But tell the story!
 

Continual awareness

My last tip is to stay on top of the industry. Communication vehicles are a moving target, and in order to utilize your social media platforms effectively, you need to know when the rules change.

For example, when Infographics became the hottest new way to tell a story (in very few words, perfect for today’s millennials!), we researched the concept behind Infographics and found a few free Infographic resources as well.  Soon we began incorporating these fun tools into our communication plan, with good feedback.

Facebook provides another example. Not too long ago the Facebook algorithm that determines how far your post goes was largely based on your number of followers and likes.  Recently it changed with a priority emphasis on how many shared posts and actual comments your receive.  We had to adjust, writing posts that asked for comments (i.e. advice for our teen moms on nutritional, budget-friendly meals or even a contest to who could answer a tough GED math question) and asking followers to share a few specific posts.

The truth is that by the time you read this post, these algorithm parameters likely will have changed again -- which is why you need to continually educate yourself.  If you are on a tight budget, sign up for free newsletters, watch free webinars… there are a lot of great resources out there you can access for little to no cost.  But you need to make it a priority as the rules of engagement are constantly changing!

So…. keep it uniform, tell your story well and loudly, and stay at the top of the game.

These basic tips should help your communication program run smoothly and provide a significant return on your investment… which will in turn help your team continue to empower the teen moms in your community.


“I always wanted to go to college, but I just didn’t think it was possible. I’m a mom, I didn’t have any help or support. What was I going to do? I am so happy I found Hope House and learned that you help with college. I am so excited that it is possible.”

-McKena, Hope House teen mom
 

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Blog Archives

September 2017

Knowledge Share #18: Engaging the Millennial Generation - 09/19/2017


August 2017

Knowledge Share #17: When the Dream Seems Too Big - 08/17/2017


July 2017

Knowledge Share #16: Personalized Learning - The Cornerstone of our GED Program - 07/18/2017


June 2017

Knowledge Share #15: Special Needs and Special Moms - 06/08/2017


April 2017

Knowledge Share #14: Creating Connections through Children - 04/18/2017


March 2017

Knowledge Share #13: Managing Volunteers: Benjamin Franklin had it right! - 03/13/2017


February 2017

Knowledge Share #12: Advocacy and Self-Sufficiency: Finding the Balance - 02/14/2017


January 2017

Knowledge Share #11: Effective PR and Spot On Communications - 01/18/2017


November 2016

Knowledge Share #10: I Walk the Line: Creating Deep Connections While Maintaining Professional Boundaries - 11/15/2016


September 2016

Knowledge Share #9: "Fundraising for Non-Profits: An Insider's Perspective" - 09/22/2016


August 2016

Knowledge Share #8: Breaking Out of Poverty - 08/18/2016


July 2016

Knowledge Share #7: Creating a Home - 07/11/2016


June 2016

Knowledge Share #6: The Power of Mindset - 06/14/2016


May 2016

Knowledge Share #5: College or Bust! - 05/17/2016


April 2016

Knowledge Share #4:Understanding Addiction - 04/07/2016


March 2016

Knowledge Share #3:Mentoring Empowers Teen Moms - 03/21/2016


February 2016

Knowledge Share #2: Healthy Relationships - 02/11/2016


January 2016

Knowledge Share #1: Brain Development - 01/12/2016


December 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #8: Communicating the Barriers - 12/16/2015


October 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #7: Homelessness - 10/09/2015


July 2015

TEEN MOM BARRIER #6: GENERATIONAL POVERTY - 07/16/2015


June 2015

Teen Mom Barrier Number #5: Domestic Violence - 06/03/2015


May 2015

Teen Mom Barrier # 4 The Challenges of College - 05/12/2015


April 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #3: The Unexpected Bill: Car Repair, Doctor's Visit, Broken Pipe - 04/03/2015


February 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #2: Childcare - 02/18/2015


January 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #1: Society's Negative Expectations - 01/26/2015


December 2014

Teen Mom Misconception #7: Teen Moms Are Completely Self-Absorbed - 12/29/2014


October 2014

Teen Mom Misconception #6: Teen moms drop out of school because they want to - 10/31/2014


September 2014

Teen Mom Misconceptions #5: Success is Impossible - 09/22/2014


July 2014

Misconception #4: Shaming Teen Moms is an Effective Approach - 07/22/2014


June 2014

Misconception #3: Mentoring Teen Moms is Complicated - 06/05/2014


May 2014

Because they want someone to love them? - 05/21/2014


April 2014

Teen Moms - A Persecuted Population? - 04/22/2014


March 2014

Connecting across the Continents: Teen Moms and the People Who Love Them - 03/18/2014


February 2014

Can you break out of poverty with a vocabulary of just 900 words? - 02/17/2014


January 2014

Community - 01/20/2014


December 2013

8 Pennies - 12/18/2013


November 2013

"The most courageous young women I know." - 11/14/2013


September 2013

Our Graduates: In their hands, they hold the future! - 09/30/2013


August 2013

The Cliff Effect and Other Perils on the Journey to Self-Sufficiency - 08/30/2013


July 2013

Breaking the Cycle: Do Poor Teens Have to Become Poor Adults? - 07/30/2013


June 2013

Measuring the Intangible - 06/15/2013


May 2013

Grown-Up Mom - 05/01/2013


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Kristina Shade said: Laura, you are such a blessing in our daughter and grandson's life. I remember Kyra coming home ea ...   [more]

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Kristina Shade said: Laura, you are such a blessing in our daughter and grandson's life. I remember Kyra coming home each ...   [more]

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