The impact of public relations on fund raising : a case study of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
Donohoe, Nancy Santacaterina
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The subject of this thesis is a study of the impact effective public relations can have on the fund-raising efforts of one agency in particular. The basic premise explored is that since most organizations relate to different audiences in different ways, communications should be designed and edited in the most acceptable way for these separate audience. The result would lie improved relationships between the audiences and the organization and ultimately, a better climate for promoting contributions. A survey of the key audiences of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the largest Protestant social service agency in the country, was conducted to investigate audience attitudes, opinions and preferences on the agency, its communication efforts and its services. Pie initial sampling included a total of 500 names from the following lists: donor, pastor, employee, volunteer and the general mailing list. The questionnaire, which was sent to these individuals, asked for reactions to agency publications, if the individual was a contributor and how the contribution was made, what agency services he or she felt were important and his or her overall opinion of the agency. A demographic section asked for age, education, whether or not the person was Lutheran and an indication of the respondent's affiliation with the agency. With the information collected, the responses of key audiences and age groups were studied. These group profiles then gave implications for changes in agency publications and image promotion in order to promote a positive contributory climate. The following suggestions can tie incorporated into the public relations and development program of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois based on this research: 1. Increase and update the agency’s mailing list. 2. Increase information on service and program locations. 3. Change the tone and format of fund-raising appeals. 4. Add or change the agency newsletter to make it more receptive to target audiences. 5. Increase personal solicitations for contributions. б. Work on relationships with pastors to obtain smoother entry to approach mothers of Lutheran congregations. Researching the attitudes of an organization's "markets" or audiences is quickly becoming more and more essential to the success of any corporate endeavor. Applying this same business sense to the not-for-profit field should result in the same valuable information and direction for continued positive relationships between the agency and its audiences.