Importance of ethical public relations in non-profit organisations

Coskun, Nurcin
Bedggood, Janet
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

The aim of this study is to understand the importance of public relations activity in non-profit organisations. The study emphasizes the bearing public relations activities can have on non-profit organisations in the contemporary world. This is especially true in an over communicated society where the vast majority of organisations compete to gain access to the scare media resources to put their message across to their potential clients, supporters and customers. Non-profit organisations generally have to depend on the donor agencies and therefore fail to attract a sizeable public relations budget. On the one hand, these organisations lack the resources to launch a successful public relations campaign and on the other the lack of knowledge and interest among general staff members makes it even harder for a public relations campaign to be developed or successfully launched. In this study, I used both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to collect and analyse data. The data were collected from two non-profit organisations based in New Zealand working in the area of child welfare. The primary data were collected through semi-structured interviews and survey questionnaires. A single semi-structured interview was conducted with each team leader of the two selected organisations. However, this was like skimming the surface and in-depth interviews would have helped me to collect richer data. On the other hand the data collected was sufficient for this research and it helped me to create a holistic understanding of the topic. The findings of the research highlight that most non-profit organisations working in the area of child welfare find it hard to market themselves due to a lack of funds and employee involvement. Although the findings from the study are significant; caution is necessary in applying the results to other scenarios and in making generalizations. One of the key findings from this research is that both organisations did not use public relations as a strategy. Most decision related to public relations was made on random basis and no long term strategic plan was made to adopt public relations as a core strategy to build creditability among their stakeholders.

Public relations , Non-profit organisations , Business strategy , Reputation management , Ethics , Media content analysis
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