Is nonprofit PR the same as fundraising?

We often get calls from nonprofit organizations seeking fundraising help.   It’s only normal, because all nonprofits need funding.  And many seem to believe that nonprofit PR is synonymous with nonprofit fundraising.

Over the years we have represented well over 50 nonprofits of all sizes.  I can’t think of one that didn’t need fundraising help.  But when a nonprofit agency talks to us about fundraising, we need to explain the difference between a PR firm and a fundraising firm.

Public relations and marketing  can support fundraising efforts.  But PR and marketing alone is not fundraising and it has his own .  We have had many situations when we were able to land an article in a major newspaper or network news program and that resulted in funds coming in.  That’s what we call fundraising support.  Our efforts in the PR sector are not to come out and ask for money.  It is to make people aware of the mission of our clients so when the fundraising plan is implemented, they will have heard of the organization and know to whom they are giving.

Many of our clients have fundraising firms or internal fundraisers on staff.  We work hand in hand with them — preparing materials, writing text, promoting special events, everything that supports the “ask.”  Sometimes we do direct mailers and set up giving stations at special events, but all these activities are in conjunction with a fundraising strategy that is put together either by the client, their fundraiser or the client and us.

So when seeking fundraising assistance, make PR a part of that process, but it is not the entire process alone.  One works with the other and supports the other.