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(E) Public Relations

The Public Relations Function is similarly complex. Below is a sample of activities falling under the Public Relations umbrella.

Let me also emphasize a frequently overlooked reality. Many agencies, especially public or governmental agencies, argue they do not support public relations and do not think investing time and resources in this area is important or appropriate. Unfortunately, they miss the point that public relations is not an optional activity. Every agency does relate to its public and does have public relationships, including perceptions, attitudes, and perspectives. Agency staff continuously relate to the public; and those relationships always matter. The option is to thoughtfully manage the interface with the public or to let it just happen. Given the alternatives, intentional public relations is more than important, it is essential. With this in mind, consider these public relations sub-functions along with considering the potential implications of doing nothing to actively manage them.

·       Management of the Leadership Team was introduced and discussed earlier so is not elaborated on here. Suffice it to say it is perhaps the most significant Public Relations sub-function with which SSI needs to be concerned.

·       Marketing and promotional activities also relate to an earlier discussion. When discussing the Helping Triangle, we noted the developmental process should proceed clockwise from point “C” – the agency – to point “A” – potential clients. In addition to other marketing and promotional initiatives, the Public Relations Function supports the effectiveness of SSI with identifying potential clients and appropriately involving them with SSI services.

·       Develop and maintain an effective Internet presence for SSI. This is an essential aspect of any successful, contemporary human services agency. Purposes include providing information to the public about SSI and its services and staff. Additionally, the website provides contact information so site visitors can communicate with the agency and staff members by phone or by email. The site also provides educational materials, ways for visitors to sign up for SSI training or other events, and links to other human services agencies and family resources. Many SSI policies and procedures are reproduced on the website so people can learn more about SSI and how it manages processes and areas of interest.

·       Develop and maintain productive relationships with the media, including management of SSI related news events, coverage of SSI activities and developments, and broader communication with the public.

·       Prepare and provide formal and informal presentations regarding SSI activities and operations aimed at increasing community awareness of agency values and goals.

There are numerous other sub-functions within the Public Relations secondary function such as event planning, crisis planning, advertising, and overseeing all SSI interaction with the public. SSI has an extensive, incorporating environment needing thoughtful and constant attention. This responsibility is delegated to the Public Relations Function and its sub-functions. Assuring these responsibilities are managed efficiently and effectively is a critical aspect of SSI success.

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