Sample Public Relations Plan: Fundraising for ABC University

Business WritingPublic Relations and Branding
Feb 21, 2022

A public relations plan, more commonly known as a PR plan is a necessary tool to develop a company’s corporate image and relationships with societal members. Every PR practitioner must learn how to write a PR plan to effectively perform their responsibilities and aid in the growth of an organization. However, writing business-related plans can be complicated which can result in incomplete or incoherent documents. This sample PR plan aims to give PR practitioners and business students an idea of the document’s appearance and its contents.

What is public relations?

Sample Public Relations Plan for ABC University

Overview

ABC University is a privately-owned university in Stockton, California that began its operations in 2001. The university offers grade school, high school, and college-level education. It aims to play an important role in the development and growth of future leaders that comes from different walks of life. The university caters to the needs of less-fortunate students and offers affordable education to the locals. Most of the grade school and high schools students in the university are from less-fortunate families and receive education for free. Currently, the university has 2,000 students with 80% of which are from less-fortunate families. ABC University currently employs experienced educators that share the unified goal of raising leaders from all walks of life.

The public perceives ABC University as a charitable educational institution that gives great importance to education. The university’s sponsorship and scholarship programs support this corporate image. Additionally, the university regularly conducts fundraising events to ensure it meets the financial and academic needs of students. ABC University’s funds are mostly from investors, philanthropists’ donations, and tuition fees from its college programs.

Problem Statement

Currently, ABC University is facing various public relations issues due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The strict health protocols have forced the university to adopt distant learning practices that require electronic devices and services. Since the majority of the students are from less-fortunate families, the university will need to supply the devices to continue teaching. The acquisition of electronic devices, such as laptops and tablets, is expensive and the university currently cannot afford to supply every student. This has led some local parents to question the actions of the university on various platforms leading to bad publicity. Some parents are even claiming that they will not enroll their children in the university for the next school year.

The negative economic effects of the pandemic have also affected some of the investors and donors of the university. Along with the pressure of acquiring resources for online education, ABC University faces a financial crisis that forced it to decrease the salary of its employees. Disappointed and furious employees began taking to social media and complaining about the unjust action of the university. This led to further bad publicity for the university along with legal concerns. These issues have possible adverse effects on the university’s relationships with its investors and donors.

Key Stakeholders

Due to the issues and needs that the previous section stated, this PR plan aims to target the following audiences:

  • Local Educators - Local educators include the university’s academic employees, local school teachers, freelance teachers, potential volunteer educators, and other teaching professionals.

  • Investors - Investors include existing partners, potential investors, and potential donors that can fund the university’s operations.

  • Local Parents - Local parents include ABC University students’ parents and other local parents that can potentially choose the university as their children’s school.

  • Electronics Supplier - Electronic suppliers are organizations that can provide free or highly-discounted electronic supplies and services to the university. Some examples are Lenovo, Dell, Xfinity Internet, and Spectrum Internet. 

  • Local Government Units - Local government units include city hall personnel, local police department, municipality administration, and other government units that can support the university’s authenticity.

Goals and Objectives 

This PR plan presents different goals and objectives per the target audience.

Local Educators

  • ABC University aims to build back its relationships with local educators, especially after the bad publicity it received. By building better relationships, ABC University can develop a positive corporate image from educators which will improve their status as an academic institution and increase the chance of recruiting volunteer teachers.

  • Gain the support of at least 200 local employees within 12 months.

  • Recruit five volunteer teachers within six months who will help conduct online classes. The university aims to maintain a stable number of volunteers within the next 24 months to ensure smooth operations which will require the prevention of high turnover rates.

  • ABC University aims to send the message to local educators that the organization not only cares about the less-fortunate students but also the needs of educators.

Investors

  • ABC University aims to garner moral and financial support from investors to guarantee a regular stream of funds to operate the university. As the university builds relationships with its existing investors and donors, it can potentially improve the chances of gaining more participants.

  • ABC University aims to raise $200,000 within the next 24 months.

  •  ABC University aims to send the message that the university needs funding to continue offering better education to less-fortunate students.

Local Parents

  • ABC University aims to build relationships with local parents to develop a better corporate image and to acquire the loyalty of parents and students.

  • Gain the support of 1,000 local parents within 12 months.

  • Have close communication between student parents and the university.

  • ABC University aims to send the message that the organization fully supports the education of less fortunate students and their families. 

Electronic Suppliers

  • ABC University aims to build mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers to gain access to sponsored or free electronic supplies and services.

  • Build a partnership with one electronic supplier and one Internet service provider.

  • Receive more than 1,000 electronic devices from supplier/s for online classes within 24 months.

  •  ABC University aims to send the message that less-fortunate children need electronic devices to pursue their education. There is also the need for the message that the university can help in the promotion of certain electronic brands.

Local Government Units

  • ABC University aims to acquire the local government units’ acknowledgment of the university’s authenticity. 

  • Gain the support of the city hall and department of education within the next 12 months.

  • Conduct a local government-related event, such as a vaccination program, within the university.

  • ABC University needs to send the message that it is a law-abiding institution that conducts programs to help less-fortunate students.

Action Plan

This PR plan presents different action plans for each target audience.

Action Plan for Local Educators

ABC University will conduct free seminars, hire a social media officer to manage social media activities, offer university grounds as a meeting venue for local teachers, and help them acquire certificates or licenses that can improve their qualifications and performance. The free seminars, offering of venue, and aid in license acquisition can be an effective method to strengthen the relationship between local educators and the university. As the university supports the careers of the locals, this will increase the chances of acquiring volunteers and developing a positive image that will help address the current bad publicity issues. Also, social media posts may play a vital role in communicating the university’s services to the local educator, especially during the pandemic. A strong social media presence will ensure that the target audience is aware of the opportunities and they will perceive the university as an important local institution.

Action Plan for Investors

ABC University will conduct monthly fundraising events to acquire investors that can contribute to funding the organization’s objectives as well as supply educational materials. While the university welcomes any form of investment, it will focus on acquiring investors that can become a partner for the organization. A partnership with an investor, such as an Internet Service Provider, can greatly improve the operations of the university. These fundraising events will involve a presentation that will briefly discuss the goals and needs of the university. The presentation will also involve a discussion regarding how investors can gain a portion of their investments back. This can be through building partnerships with other investors in the events or receiving a small portion of the university’s income from college tuition fees, provided that the university has enough funds to disperse dividends.

For existing investors, the university will send regular Thank You letters from students, teachers, and locals to showcase the gratitude of the community. Along with the letters, the university will send annual reports to investors that will show how the university utilized the investments. The university will send the reports to promote a transparent relationship with the investors which can lead to more funding for future programs. Lastly, the university can utilize its social media pages to efficiently communicate and send messages to investors.

Action Plan for Local Parents

ABC University plans to reach out to local parents through social media and face-to-face meetings. As mentioned earlier, social media is an effective communication tool, especially during the pandemic. Since local parents are likely to use social media platforms, ABC Unversity can successfully send their message to parents through page posts. The wide reach of social media posts can effectively address the bad publicity that the university has received from local parents. Along with this, the social media officer can answer parents’ inquiries on the platform, further improving the communication between the university and local parents.

Additionally, the face-to-face meetings will serve as an effective platform for local parents to directly talk to teachers and the school administration regarding the status of their children’s education. The university will not limit face-to-face meetings with parents to formal gatherings and may involve parent-teacher lunches/dinners, university events, and other programs that promote parent participation. This will ensure that the local parents are familiar with the operations of the university and allow them to understand the organization’s current financial condition.

Action Plan for Electronic Suppliers

ABC University aims to build relationships with electronic suppliers by inviting them to the investor’s fundraising events and offering a free advertising medium through the university’s online resources. The university will invite managers, employees, and other personnel from target suppliers to the fundraising events as a way to showcase the organization’s network that can potentially benefit the supplier. The university's large network can act as a motivation for suppliers to transact with the university and offer free or discounted products.

Also, since the university will dedicate some of its resources to its social media presence, offering a free advertising medium can improve the likelihood of acquiring suppliers as partners. The university can leverage its social media presence as a way to attract suppliers and acquire the devices that students need. The social media pages will act as one of the communication platforms between suppliers and the university as well as a promotional medium. Through this, both the supplier and the university can benefit from the social media posts that will showcase the achievements of the organization.

Action Plan for Local Government Units

ABC University will build strong relationships with the local government units through university events, hosting local government programs, and utilizing social media to promote the organization’s adherence to local policies. During university events, the organization will invite local government units to participate, whether as program officers or visitors. This will allow the local government to observe the university’s operations and understand its goals. Aside from inviting them to events, the university will also offer its facilities as a venue for government programs. The government can utilize university grounds as a venue for charity events, evacuation centers, temporary vaccination centers, and a voting facility during local elections. Through this, the university will not only act as an organization for less-fortunate students but also as an important institution in society.

Similar to the other target audience, utilizing social media will be necessary for acquiring the support of the local government units. Specifically, the university will create social media posts regarding local government policies. This will involve sharing the local government page’s posts and posting public advisories. The social media officer will need to actively monitor the local government’s social media page to ensure that they share current information and news.

Communication Strategy

ABC University’s communication strategy will involve early communication with the target audiences. The university will send event invitations 30 days before the event date, social media pages will relay current information as early as possible, and if there are any public image issues; the university will aim to address the issue immediately. This can be through a social media post that acknowledges the issue and prevent any misinformation to come from unreliable sources. Following this, the university will immediately send messages to its target audience to ensure that they are aware and completely understand the situation.

The university will also employ frequent communication through regular letters and messages to its target audiences. Investors, donors, and partners will receive regular Thank You letters from the university and students to acknowledge their contributions. Parents and local government units will receive invitations to university events to ensure that they have the opportunity to visit the university. Additionally, the university’s social media pages, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, will play a vital role in maintaining frequent communication with the target audience. This medium is an efficient way to reach the target audience and spread the message of the university.

Key Performance Indicators

Finance

The financial goal is to gain at least $200,000 within 24 months. This will be evaluated through monthly accounting and set milestones:

MONTHTARGET
1$ 4,000
2$ 6,000
3-15$ 8,000
16-24$ 9,000

Recruited Volunteer Teachers

The university aims to recruit at least five volunteer teachers within six months and maintain the number of volunteers within the next 24 months. This will be evaluated through the current number of volunteers after the six-month period and the turnover rate within the 24 months.

Social Media Engagement

The university aims to gain the support of 200 local educators, 1,000 local parents, and local government units within 12 months. This will be evaluated through the average number of followers of the university’s social media accounts which include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The set milestones for this goal are:

120
2 30
340
460
570
680
790
8100
9150
10150
11200
12250

Electronic Devices

The university aims to receive at least 1,000 electronic devices from suppliers within 24 months. Preferably, the goal is to provide one classroom of 30 students with electronic devices each month. This will be evaluated through the following set milestones:

> Months 1 to 14: 30 Electronic Devices per month

> Month 15 to 24: 60 Electronic Devices per month

Budget Plan

The budget for the PR plan will come from the university’s existing funds and the investments of current investors. The existing funds are from college tuition fees, academic service programs, and continuous donations from donors.

Social Media Budget Particulars

  • Annual Salary for Social Media Officer: $ x,xxx

  • Paid Ads: $ x,xxx

Fundraising Events Budget Particulars

  • Food: $ x,xxx

  • Programming: $ x,xxx

  • Venue (mostly for designs and misc): $ x,xxx

Budget Particulars for Other Meetings and Events (Local government programs, parent-teacher meetings, university events, etc )

  • Food: $x,xxx

  • Venue (designs, organizers, personnel, and misc): $ x,xxx

  • Permits $ x,xxx

Disclaimer: All figures are hypothetical and serve as placeholders only. All readers are advised to adjust this free sample accordingly.

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