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THE IMPACT OF ONLINE PR ON NON-PROFIT ORGANISATIONS

Milica Ignjatovi , Milan orevi Faculty of Organizational Sciences, University of Belgrade mitza.ignjatovic@gmail.com 2 Faculty of Organizational Sciences, University of Belgrade djordjevic.m.milan@gmail.com
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Abstract: This document presents a unique paperwork on online public relation in non-profit organisations. The lack of formal documents with scientific approach considering online public relations in non-profit organisations motivated two authors to use their experience in non-profits. The aim of this paperwork is to combine different sources of theoretical knowledge in online PR, presentation on social networks, and organisation activities in those fields with experience in online performance of non-profit organisation creating inimitable paperwork useful for people working in non-profits. This paperwork describes good practice of corporate online PR and comparing it with activities related to non-profit PR. Also, it gives comparison of online and offline PR, and most important, gives review on how to perform on social networks. Authors founded that there are huge amount of available channels for online PR without charging. Therewith, this paperwork combines free internet tools for successful online public relations. Keywords: online, public, relations, social, networks, non-profit, organisation

1. DEFINING OFFLINE AND ONLINE PUBLIC RELATIONS Public relations are often defined based on the well-known techniques and tools. The term Public Relations is often misunderstood especially because people tend to associate it exclusively to media relations. The hard fact proven through many years of experience of spokespeople points out that public relations have started out as media relations, but in the recent years, they have become much more. And, with the introduction of many Internet services, it has also become clear public relations deserve to be named communications. When making a difference between Offline and Online public relations (PR), it is very important to clear out the difference between the terms Offline and Online. Offline addresses the traditional way of communicating with target audiences - using traditional, well-established communication channels. Printed material (newspapers, magazines), television and radio, press conferences and special events have been the primary channels of doing PR until the 2000s. With the introduction of mainstream Internet usage, there has been a shift of focus for all communication activities, and with the growing popularity of social media, the Internet has taken a primary channel for communicating different messages. (Scott, 2010) Today, Online Public Relations represent a way of creating identity, and building and increasing the image and reputation of specific subjects through selected Internet channels: social media and networks. 2. ONLINE PUBLIC RELATIONS IN THE SERVICE OF NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS Social media defines online media, like text, photos, messages or video, that is social in nature. In other words, media that starts conversations, encourages people to pass it on to others, and finds ways to travel on its own. (The Non Profit Social Media Decision Guide, 2011) Non-profit organizations have similar goals in promotion and PR just like profit organizations. Creating visibility, building loyalty and trust through positive image and reputation, and creating a stable system of interactions with target audiences with a fail-safe key in crisis situations. The difference between non-profit and profit organizations is the latter ones tend to invest money or other assets in achieving those goals. Nonprofit organizations needs of doing PR come even further than being the secondary priority, and that is why public relations do not get the right financial attention, or importance. (Scott, 2010) Online PR, through a strategic use of social media capacities, helps the members of the non-profit sector to be on the same level (or on a higher one) comparing to entities with profit. By active listening, and conversation encouragement, an active online presence is built, that after some time clearly leads to the accomplishment of PR (and promotion) goals.

Internet services like Google Alert and Twitter Search help non-profits listen to what the Internet users are saying about them even if they are not (actively) present online. This is a good way of doing analysis of the public perception, and determining critical points of communication with the target audiences. But to resolve the critical points explored online, non-profit entities have to be actively involved in hosting conversations on different social media platforms. (The Non Profit Social Media Decision Guide, 2011) 3. SOCIAL MEDIA MIX Social media as a tool cannot be used as a whole. It has to be strategically analysed, and then the right mix of social media tools is to be selected. Social media as a whole is a powerful tool, but tapping into every aspect and tool is an impossible operation, and in the majority of cases it is highly unnecessary. Creating the social media mix starts with understanding two groups of tools it offers: blogging platforms and social networks. Blogs A shorthand term that means Web logis an online, chronological collection of personal commentary and links. Easy to create and use from anywhere with an Internet connection, blogs are a form of Internet publishing that has become an established communications tool. Blogging has evolved from its origins as a medium for the online publication of personal diaries to a respected vehicle for editorials on specic topics. In their latest incarnation, blogs represent an alternative to mainstream media publications. The personal perspectives presented on blogs often lead to discourse between bloggers, and many blog circles generate a strong sense of community. (7 Things you should know about Blogs, 2005; Frequently Asked Questions About Weblogs, 2011) Blogs have seen the rise of business and commercial use in the recent years. Bloggers (blog authors) review products, services, public images, they write about organizations and individuals, and address the popular problems and trends. Positive blog posts of influential bloggers can be more worth than a paid advertisement, and the negative ones can be more devastating than the effects of the financial crisis. What makes blogs and their authors so powerful is their status of being common people - someone easily related to. Non-profit organizations often have a similar mission and vision with specific bloggers, and that is a niche that should be recognized and tapped into. A branch of public relations named Community management is a new trend using the potential of the digital business world. Social Networks Social networks are a subset of social media, Internet communities allowing interactions between users through a specifically, and in many cases functionally oriented, interface. They allow users to have personal profiles, get in touch with friends, colleagues, acquaintances and business contacts, and share relevant textual and multimedia content with them. On the other side, organizations and specific individuals use different social networks for creating a loyal fan base, conversations, feedback systems, and fail-safe tool in crisis. Some of the most popular and most used social networks in the 2010s are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Foursquare, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Facebook - The most popular social network with more than 900 million active users. It offers people create personal profiles, friend other users, Like pages of brands, organizations, celebrities, and different causes, and all in all, stay in touch with friends, thus building a global network. (The Non Profit Social Media Decision Guide, 2011) Twitter - Twitter is a real-time information network that connects users to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what they find interesting. Users find the accounts most compelling to them and follow the conversations. At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters long. (Comm, 2009) YouTube and Vimeo - Two video services that let any users upload videos that can be watched by everyone. Good statistics help measure the reach and impact of videos, and both services are well-integrated with all major social networks. (The Non Profit Social Media Decision Guide, 2011)

Foursquare - A geolocation service allowing users to check-in to venues around, like restaurants, museums, shops via mobile application, earn mayorships and badges for special check-is. Brands and organizations can create specials for checking-in to their venues (prizes, discounts), and offer promotion badges for dedicated Foursquare fans. (The Non Profit Social Media Decision Guide, 2011) Google+ - Googles social network that lets users follow the people from their Circles through the central Stream, share interesting posts with the chosen people, and follow pages of brands and organizations. (Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report, 2012) Tumblr - A blogging platform with a user-friendly interface for posting text, photos, videos, and quotes, and for re-blogging the interesting content of the people you follow. (The Non Profit Social Media Decision Guide, 2011) LinkedIn - A professional social network intended for creating professional, business networks, and helping employers find employees, and vice versa. (Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report, 2012) Pinterest - Rapidly growing, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows users to organize and share interesting things found on the web. Users can browse pinboards created by other people. (About Pinterest, 2012)

4. CALL TO ACTION Using the potential of social networks is done through constant activity on organizations profile pages. Starting, developing, and sustaining the conversation with different members of the target audience enables the creation of a dynamic feedback system, loyalty building, and image and reputation development. Besides reaching the traditional public relations goals, Online PR for non-profit organizations works in the fundraising sphere, events promotion sphere, and as active contributing factors to advocacy and recruiting and engaging volunteers. Fundraising During a gala, walkathon, or other fundraising event, your donors and participants could use social media to discuss the event with their friends. For example, you could set up a Facebook table with laptops where attendees can post to their friends when they make a donation, or just to tell them about the event. In a walkathon setting, organizations could use Twitter to liveblog from your accounting room, letting online supporters follow the progress to fundraising goal. This could also motivate people to make last minute donations online or in person. Some social media channels can be used for less direct fundraising efforts. Browsing networks for and friending other organizations, foundations, and potential donors may not immediately result in donations, but can build relationships for the longer-term. For example, LinkedIn provides tools that make it easy to see who in a network might know a major donor or a staff member at a local bank or foundation that can be approached. (The Non Profit Social Media Decision Guide, 2011) Advocacy Sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a useful first step for engaging new supporters and helping to spread information to more people. Different channels can even be the battlefield where supporters take action, by signing a petition, contacting legislators or other decision-makers, or just showing their support for the cause. Events can also play an important role in advocacy campaigns, and social media is a great way to promote and support such events. (The Non Profit Social Media Decision Guide, 2011) Recruiting volunteers Social media provides new supporters and potential volunteers a space to learn about the organization, as well as a safe space for current volunteers and other supporters to connect with each other and the organization. For example, current and past volunteers could post comments or stories about volunteering to the Facebook wall or blog, which new supporters can read, comment on or ask questions about. Social media venues are also a good space for potential volunteers to voice their concerns about volunteering, in a way that the community can respond. Past volunteers and staff can discuss these concerns in an open environment, to help mitigate any fears or address any problems that may come up. (The Non Profit Social Media Decision Guide, 2011) 5. COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 3

Enormous success of online public relations, created a huge amount of interactions on social networks. In the manner of good PR practice, interaction on social networks should be continuous, on-time and useful for our audience. Therefore, that kind of demand created a new job position in PR sectors called community manager. The purpose of community manager is to monitor, participate and engage on social networks of his company. Many businesses have already implemented community management concept, and share positive results based on reaction of its customers. The position of community manager is not common job in an organization. It requires partial activity spreading through whole day, and in some examples, even at night time. This position do not have non-working days, according to successful implementation of constant interaction. Also, one of the most important part of community management is careful monitoring of social networks, not only those on which one organization presents itself, but every network that has potential customer or audience. Hence, businesses need to track every mention on internet with appropriate tools. For example, Google Alerts offers free tracking of key words of an organizations or companys name, sending an email for every mention on the network, blog, forum, etc. That gives an opportunity for PR managers to have insights on how people perceive the organization, what are the problems, and chance for timely responses. Although everything above is particularly important for a community manager to do, without engagement, none of those activities will have visible improvement of communication. The engagement is the activity that creates a community around the organization, a wide group of people committed to an organization. The community manager of international company GAP said that at its core, social media is about making a real connection with something you care about. And its about building communities which really means building relationships. The engagement is an activity that requires the most time spent on this position, but the only one that gives positive result on communication organization towards its audience. For non-profits, good community manager is essential part of online public relation. Due to exponential growth of internet users, and lack of finance, internet with the social networks gives sustainable solution for communication between organization and people in both ways. To attract people to hear them, community manager usually post interesting news, encourage interaction with comments and mutually sharing. Community manager is the person, who has to present his company to people as their friend, with all its virtues.

6. EVALUATION
As every process in management, evaluation presents an important segment in detecting the strength of impact on public relation. Evaluation of online PR effects is much easier due to huge amount of online tools for tracking and monitoring. A number of good keyword research tools are available without charge. Leading free tools include Google Keyword Tool and SEO Book keyword tool. Google Keyword Tool Google has the biggest search-based advertising program, so it figures they have a good tool set to help people use it. This tool provides good relative numbers about which words are sought after by people purchasing Google Adwords advertisements (the ubiquitous 10-word ones). SEO Book Keyword Tool It shows estimated daily search volumes by market for your selected word or phrase by search engine, including Google, Yahoo! and MSN/Bing. It also suggests related words and phrases and links them to related global search results. It also provides links to Google Trends, Google Suggest, Google Synonyms, Yahoo! Suggest, and Keyword Discovery keyword research results, as well as to vertical databases such as Topix.net, Google Blogsearch, and Del.icio.us to help you see what kind of buzz there is about your topic. 7. CONCLUSION Online public relations have a traditional purpose when talking about non-profit organizations. The goals of public relations concerning identity, image and reputation are achieved through regular communication with all of the target audiences. What differs the Online public relations of non-profit organizations from the profit ones, is the unique nature of the community management. Combined with the interactive approach to dynamic social networks maintenance, it creates a good environment for fundraising and advocacy activities, approaches, and systems for volunteer management 4

8. REFERENCES The Non Profit Social Media Decision Guide, October 2011, by Balance Interactive and IdealWare Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report 2012, by Nonprofit Technology Network, Common Knowledge, and Blackbaud Scott, D.M. (2010) New Rules of Marketing & PR, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey, USA Measure what matters: Online Tools for Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement and Key Relationships, Katie Delahaye Paine, Amazon, (2010) Comm, J. (2009) Twitter Power, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey, USA