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COMM 4326

PR for Nonprofit Organizations

St. Edwards University Department of Communication

Section 01 TR 12:30 1:45 pm Trustee Hall 118 Fall 2014
Instructor: Dr. Corinne Weisgerber
Office: 308 Premont Hall
Office Phone: 492-3112
Office Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays: 12:00 p.m. 1:30 p.m.
Also via email & by appointment

Required Textbooks:
Wilson, L. J. & Ogden, J. D. (2008). Strategic Communications Planning for effective public
relations and marketing (fifth edition). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

**There will be additional readings posted to Blackboard.

Welcome to Public Relations for Nonprofit Organizations! This course uses a combination of
lectures, discussions, and service-learning to provide you with an in-depth study of public relations
theory and practice as it relates to nonprofit organizations. In this course we will explore the
nonprofit sector and the role of public relations within that sector. We will examine challenges
faced by the nonprofit sector and discuss how effective public relations planning can help
nonprofits attract donors, volunteers, and clients. In order to make your learning experience in this
class more meaningful, you will not only learn about public relations concepts/theory, but you will
also gain real world experience by developing a PR plan for a local nonprofit organization.

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:
! Develop a PR plan following the strategic communications planning matrix
! Research, plan, and implement communications campaigns specifically tailored to the needs
of nonprofit organizations
! Identify and use PR tools that increase awareness and create interest in the nonprofit, raise
funds, recruit volunteers, and generate media exposure.
! Describe the difference between the profit and non-profit sector and be able to explain the
unique challenges faced by the nonprofit sector
! Use new collaborative social media technologies to manage team work
! Understand and describe the needs and demands of a real-world client

Hopefully, the service-learning project will also help you gain a greater appreciation of the
importance of civic engagement.

1. Attendance
Number of absences. Attendance at each class is required. Each time you are absent from class
counts as one absence. If you arrive more than 10 minutes late to class, you will be marked absent
for that day. After your second absence, your final grade will be reduced by three (3) percentage
points for each additional absence. Accruing more than six (6) unexcused absences (including the
two (2) free absences you receive) will result in Withdrawal or Failure of the class.

Excused absences. If you have a valid and unavoidable reason for missing class, you may submit a
completed Excused Absence Request along with a two page (at least 500 words) chapter summary /
discussion for the material you missed. Your excused absence request and chapter summary must be
turned in within a week after your return to class. The request form is available on Blackboard
under Course Documents. A separate request form and additional chapter summary / discussion
must be submitted for each absence. You will also need to provide me with proper documentation
for your absence (such as a doctors note, a hospitalization record, a university excuse, or an athletic
excuse). All documentation must to be turned in by the last day of class for the excuses to be
considered. After review of your request I will determine whether the excuse will be granted.

504 accomodation letters. If you have a 504 accomodation letter which calls for flexibility with
attendance, you will need to follow the instructions listed under the excused absence section, except
that you do not need to provide documentation each time you miss class for a 504 related disability.

Attendance sheet. After the first week of class, it is your responsibility to sign the roll sheet each
class period. Be sure to do so, as this is the official record of your attendance in class.

Withdrawal for absences. I reserve the right to WA any student with more than 6 absences. Please
note that this does not mean that I will automatically WA you if you risk to fail the class. It is
your responsibility to initiate drop procedures if you are in danger of failing this class.

If you are involved in athletics or another school-sanctioned activity that requires you to miss this
class, please give me appropriate supporting material signed by the sponsor. Please underline or
highlight the specific dates that involve this class. If changes occur throughout the semester after
you have given me a schedule, please keep me updated.

2. Academic Integrity
Academic dishonesty includes cheating on exams as well as plagiarizing (presenting anothers work
as your own). Cheating comes in all different shadesranging from blatant copying off anothers
exam/bringing a `cheat sheet to class to more subtle forms of `borrowing a few ideas and not
citing your sourcesall of which will be treated with the same level of seriousness in this class.
The St. Edward's University Undergraduate Bulletin and the Student Handbook state that a student
who is dishonest in any work may receive the maximum penalty of a mark of F for that course.
Withdrawal from a course is not allowed when an F in the course for academic dishonesty has been
imposed. Students caught committing academic dishonesty in this course will be subject to the full
range of penalties as described in the Undergraduate Bulletin and in the Student Handbook.

3. Transparency and mutual expectations
In order to be fair to everyone, I try to be transparent about my expectations and grading practices.
Below you will find a list of my expectations for both you and me:

1. I will provide you with all assignment deadlines, grading criteria and assignment
descriptions on the first day of class. From day one, you will know:
How many assignments there are
When each of your assignments is due
What exactly each of your assignments entails (youll find a detailed assignment
description on the back of your syllabus)
What you need to do to succeed for each assignment (youll find the grading criteria
for each assignment listed on the back of your syllabus). I will use those exact
criteria to grade your work.
In turn, I expect you to:
Turn in your assignments in class on the exact day they are due
Carefully read the assignment description and ask questions well BEFORE the due
Check to ensure that your assignments follow all grading criteria listed on the
assignment description

2. I will come to every class well prepared. In turn, I expect you to:
Have completed all readings before class
Be ready to ask questions about the readings when you come to class
Pay attention in class. No texting, or playing on the computer.

3. I will provide you with a study guide listing all concepts you need to know for the exam. If a
concept is not on the study guide, it wont be on the exam. If the guide includes a concept
from the readings not discussed in class, it is fair game for the exam. I double-check all my
exams to ensure that only concepts listed on the study guide will be included on the exam.
In turn, I expect you to:
Study each concept listed on the study guide. This means read the text, make notes,
and study your notes. For each concept listed in the study guide you should be able
to: describe it in your own words, list its components (if applicable), give an
example, and recognize an example.

4. I take pride in developing classroom materials. I spend countless hours creating slidedecks,
developing assignments, and researching supplemental materials. In turn, I expect you to:
Strive for excellence and turn in high quality work work which displays a high
degree of professionalism and which clearly demonstrates that you paid attention to
Not to make excuses if you fall short of the stated expectations and to take
responsibility for your learning in this class.
Actively seek help by asking questions and coming to office hours if you need help.

4. Courtesy Rules regarding Cell Phone and Computer Use
Cell phones: As a courtesy to your teacher and to your classmates, please make sure at the
beginning of each class period that your cell phones are silenced. Any texting during class will
result in you being counted absent for the day.

Laptops: Most weeks we will start with a lecture and discussion of the reading materials and spend
the second class period of the week working on in-class activities designed to help you with your
service-learning project. Laptops, tablets, or the classroom computers may only be used in class on
days we will work directly on your project. On all lecture and discussion days, I expect you to take
notes by hand. Studies show
that students who take notes by hand remember more and have a
deeper understanding of the material than students who use a computer to take notes.

5. In-class Work
This is a hands-on class. As you will learn, putting together a PR plan takes a lot of work. I expect
all of you to work hard during in-class work periods and to use up the entire class period. This
means you cant pack up after 20 minutes by saying were done. Believe me, theres always more
work that needs to be done! I also expect you to do the work in our classroom so please prepare
accordingly: if you need files to work on, bring them with you. If you cant work without a
particular book, be sure to bring that book with you. You get the point! Remember that we are
working with real clients in this class. As a result, I will expect your work to display a high level of
professionalism and I want you to give this project your all.

6. Assignments
All assignments must be turned in on time (at the beginning of class on the due date) in the form of
stapled hard copy. Please prepare two copies of your final PR plan and your presentation handout
one for me and one for your client. These copies should be formatted consistently and look

Late work will result in a 10% grade reduction for each day (not class period) it is late. Work
handed in after the end of class but on the due date, will receive a 5% grade reduction. Please note
that I will NOT accept any emailed assignments. If you are absent from class on a day an
assignment is due, you are still expected to submit your assignment that day, either by asking a peer
to turn it in for you, or by putting it in the digital dropbox on Blackboard by the beginning of class. I
will use the timestamp on the Blackboard server to determine whether the assignment was handed
in on time. Please note that you are responsible for uploading the correct file to the dropbox and
making sure the upload was successful. Should you turn in an assignment over Blackboard because
of an emergency, it is your responsibility to provide me with a hard copy of the assignment the next
class period. Hard copies must be stapled and ready at the beginning of the period.

5. Email Policy
I respond to email once per day, usually in the afternoon, and I will get back with you as soon as
possible. Please note that I do not return email over the weekend.

Psychological Science, June 2014, 25(6), 1159-1168

6. Letters of Recommendation
I am happy to write letters of recommendation for students who have performed well in the classes
they have taken with me. Before writing letters of recommendation however, I require that you have
taken at least two courses with me in which you have performed at the level of B or better. Requests
must be made at least two weeks prior to any submission deadline. Requests should be made via
email and provide a recent resume as well as materials regarding the position or scholarship for
which you are applying and instructions on how and where to submit the recommendation. Please
note that I do not supply open recommendations such as those found on Linked In.

7. Special Accommodations
If you have a medical, psychiatric or learning disability and require accommodations in this class,
please let me know early in the semester or as soon as you are eligible. You will first need to
provide documentation of your disability to the Student Disability Services Office located in Moody
Hall 155 in Academic Planning and Support Services.

8. Grades
My hope is that you will focus on learning rather than grades in this class. If you are not doing as
well as you had anticipated, please dont hesitate to come talk to me so that we can discuss how you
might improve your performance on the remaining assignments. I am happy to discuss study tips,
explain assignments and grading criteria, or simply help you understand key course concepts. What
I wont do is negotiate grades. In order to make the grading process transparent, I share my grading
criteria for each assignment with you. If you feel you met all the criteria and received too low a
grade, Ill be happy to meet with you to discuss your grade. If you know you didnt meet the
criteria, I cant, and wont, change your grade. My goal is to be fair to everyone in the class, which
means I will hold everyone to the same standards.

Grading Scale Course Grade
A+ = 100 A = 95 A- = 92 A 90-100
B+ = 88 B = 85 B- = 82 B 80-89
C+ = 78 C = 75 C- = 72 C 70-79
D+ = 68 D = 65 D- = 62 D 60-69
F = 50 F Below 60


In order to keep track of your grade in this class, record each grade as soon as you receive it.
Multiply each grade by the number listed in the Multiply by column and record the total. Numeric
equivalents for letter grades are listed above (under Grading Scale). In order to calculate your
final grade at the end of the semester, add up all of your multiplied assignments and divide by 1000.
Please note that the matrix above does not take into account absences. In order to determine how
your absences will impact your final grade, use the box below:

#Absences 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Subtract 0 0 -3 -6 -9 -12 F

Assignment Weight Record Your Grade Multiply by Total
Service Learning Project: PR Plan 30% x 3.0
Research Step 10% x 1.0
Peer Evaluations: 5%
Midterm Peer Eval 2.5% x 0.25
Final Peer Eval 2.5% x 0.25
PR Plan Pitch 10% x 1.0
Participation/Quizzes 15% x 1.5
Midterm Exam 15% x 1.5
Final Exam 15% x 1.5
Total Points
Divide by

Service Learning Project PR Plan (30%) __________ ________
This semester-long group assignment is designed to culminate your learning in this class. For this
project, you will work in groups of 4 and develop a detailed public relations plan for a local
nonprofit organization. Your PR plan needs to follow the 10-step strategic communications
planning matrix described in your textbook (see p.12 for an outline of the matrix, and appendix A
for a sample PR plan).
You will develop this PR plan in a team wiki and work on it over the course of the semester. By
developing your plan in a wiki, your work will be housed in a central location and will be able to be
edited by any group member at any time. Each wiki will be accessible to the team members, the
client, and the course instructor. That way, the client and I can see your plan grow and provide
feedback and guidance when necessary. The wiki will not only allow you to operate more
efficiently as a team, but it will also capture your projects evolution from start to finish by tracking
the changes that were made on the wikis history page. This log of changes will be used to assess
each team members individual contribution to the project.

Your finished PR plan needs to include:
1. An executive summary 2 page summary of your proposed plan
2. All 10 steps of the planning matrix (revise your research step as necessary)
3. An appendix containing copy outlines for all tactics that need to be created for the PR
plan (see p. 124 for a discussion of copy outlines, and appendix B for examples)
4. 3-5 fully completed/designed tactics (i.e. news releases, pitch letters, press kits, PSAs,
event plans, op-eds, and web and other publicity material). Please note that those tactics
need to be cleared by me first.

Grade: Your grade for the project will be based on both the quality of the end product and your
individual contribution to that product. In most cases all team members will receive the same grade.
This means that your grade will be based on the combined efforts of your team members. However,
should all of the other group members petition me that you have not been pulling your weight in the
group and I determine that their complaints have merit, then you will be fired from the group and
become a temp worker. You will have to find a group that will accept you to work with them and
your grade will be lowered by one letter grade. Any concerns over underperforming group members
must be voiced well before the assignment due date.
Grading Criteria:
Your PR plan will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
1. PR plan contains all of the items listed above
2. Extend to which each step follows the textbooks instructions
3. Extent to which research informed the strategic planning
4. Extent to which goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics are clearly interrelated
5. Quality of the 3-5 fully completed/designed tactics (creative, appropriate, professional)
6. Quality of the overall writing (flow, grammar, spelling, professional presentation)

Research Step (10%) __ __
Because so much of the success of your PR plan depends on the quality of the research you conduct
to inform your planning decisions, the research step (steps 1-3 of the strategic communications
planning matrix) will be graded separately in the beginning of the semester.

Your research step should follow the instructions provided in chapter four, and include:
1. A background section containing all 10 steps listed in the book (see p. 52 for a
description and appendix A for a good, albeit abbreviated example). Be sure to identify
potential publics along with their self-interests and influentials.
2. A situation analysis
3. A core problem/opportunity statement

You do not need to conduct primary research for this assignment.

Grading Criteria:

1. Background step contains all 10 steps listed in your book (see p. 52 and checklist on BB)
2. Provided clear assessment for each step
3. Used enough high quality secondary research to back up assessments made in each step
4. Thorough description of potential publics in the public profiles step
5. Extent to which core problem/opportunity statement is grounded in the research

PR Plan Pitch (10%) __ __
For this assignment, you will develop a professional PowerPoint/Keynote presentation designed to
present your PR plan to your client and classmates and persuade them to adopt your proposal. We
will rehearse these pitches in class, so you will have them ready before the actual presentation date.
Your pitch should:
1. Be 20-25 minutes long (plus 5-10 minutes devoted to Q&A)
2. Present the main aspects of your plan to your audience and sell them on the
effectiveness of the ideas behind the proposed PR plan
3. Follow the guidelines discussed in ch. 11 of your textbook and meet all 5 criteria listed
on p. 165
4. Include a printout of your slides and PR plan for your client and me

Team members who are late to class on the day their team presents will loose a letter grade for
every 10 minutes that they are late. Team members who do not present during the pitch, or who are
not present for the pitch will receive a zero for this assignment.

Grading Criteria:
You will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
1. Level of professionalism displayed (preparedness level, professional-looking visual aid,
team cohesiveness)
2. Quality of the PR pitch (persuasive, gets attention, conveys key aspects of the plan)
3. Quality of the presentation (delivery, handling of questions)
4. Had a complete presentation ready on team rehearsal day & participated in the rehearsal

Peer Evaluations (5% each) __ _________ ___________ __
Since you will be working in a team for this project, your team members will be asked to evaluate
your performance at the midterm and the end of the semester. Each student will fill out a peer
evaluation form for each team member, rating his/her performance on a scale of 1-5. You will also
be asked to provide written feedback to support your rating. These ratings will be added up and
serve as your grade for this assignment. To assure the anonymity of your comments, your name will
be removed from these forms before they are handed back to the respective team members. In most
cases students receive the grade they were given by their peers. However, in situations where I
suspect the peer evaluations to be unfair, or where a student claims that they were unfair, I will look
consult the actual work done and speak to teammates in an effort to determine their accuracy. I
therefore reserve the right to override peer evaluations if I deem that such an action is needed and

Participation/Quizzes (10%) _____________ ______________
Your participation grade in this class consists of in-class activities, homework assignments, and
quizzes on reading assignments. Homework assignments and in-class activities are graded on a
pass/fail basis, and together with quizzes make up your grade for this category. Please note that
your active participation is crucial in this class. If you are absent on an in-class work day you will
receive a zero for your participation grade that day. There are no make-ups.

We will have occasional quizzes at the beginning of class. In order to stay on schedule, you will not
be allowed to make up the quiz if you are late getting to class.

Midterm & Final Exams (15% each) _____ __
These are examinations based on material from your assigned texts, lectures, and class discussions.
I will provide you with a study guide listing all concepts you need to know for the exam. If a
concept is not on the study guide, it wont be on the exam. If the guide includes a concept from the
readings not discussed in class, it is fair game for the exam. I double-check all my exams to ensure
that only concepts listed on the study guide will be included on the exam.


Week 1: Purchase book, pick client, and set up collaboration space
8/26 Welcome & course intro
8/28 Assign project, set up collaboration space, create planning matrix ch. 1 & Appendix A
Week 2: Meet with your nonprofit client this week

9/02 Research for Planning ch. 3
* Quiz over Appendix A
9/04 In-class work on research step Blackboard reading
Week 3: Start gathering secondary research
9/09 Public Information & Persuasive Communication ch. 2
9/11 In-class work on research & probable publics
Week 4: Complete research step & analyze all research. Identify a PR problem/opportunity
9/16 Persuasive Communication Continued: Messages
9/18 In-class work on research step
Week 5: Identify goals & objectives. Run them by your client

9/23 Setting goals & objectives ch. 5
9/25 In-class work on goals & objectives Blackboard reading
* Research step due in class

Week 6: Identify publics
9/30 Identifying publics ch. 6
10/02 In-class work on publics Blackboard reading
Week 7: Identify messages for each public

10/07 Designing appropriate messages ch. 6
* Peer Evaluations due
10/09 In-class work on messages / Exam Review Blackboard reading

Week 8: Identify strategies & tactics
10/14 Midterm Exam
10/16 Strategies & tactics ch. 7 & appendix B

Week 9: Work on developing tactics
10/21 Tactics: Traditional PR tactics Blackboard reading
10/23 In-class work on strategies & tactics Blackboard reading
Week 10: Work on startegies and tactics
10/28 Strategy & Tactics: Social media & Special Events Blackboard reading
10/30 In-class work on strategies & tactics Blackboard reading
Week 11: Develop timeline & budget. Try to stay within clients budget.
11/04 Calendaring & Budgeting (& challenges faced by nonprofits) ch. 8
11/06 In-class work on the calendar & budget Blackboard reading
Week 12: Develop a confirmation table & decide how to measure success
11/11 Implementation & Evaluation ch. 9
11/13 Setting up the Communication Confirmation Table ch. 9
Week 13: Finish PR plans & prepare pitches
11/18 Tweaking the PR plan & Exam Review
* Draft of PR Plan due
11/20 NO CLASS National Communication Association Conference (Group work)
Week 14: Develop a persuasive pitch in form of a multimedia presentation
11/25 Pitch rehearsals & class critique ch. 10
* PR Plans & Peer Evaluations due
11/27 NO CLASS Thanksgiving Holiday
Week 15: Rehearse pitch
12/02 * PR Plan Pitch Group 1 & 2
12/04 * PR Plan Pitch Group 3

Final Exam: Wednesday, December 10 from 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.