Choosing the right PR/marketing agency can be a complex process. You want to hire a partner who is creative, strategic and strong on execution. You also want a partner who is collaborative, proactive and committed to understanding the nuances of your organization. Most importantly, you want to ensure buy-in across your team and that everyone is invested in collaborating with the agency. So, to achieve that objective, just who should be part of the PR/marketing agency selection process?
Selecting the right PR/marketing partner should be a collaborative process. And for nonprofits, in particular, this means involving representatives from the Board of Directors. Yes, that’s right. Your nonprofit’s board should be part of the PR/marketing agency selection process. Here’s why:
Strategy is important
Nonprofit boards play an integral role in shaping the strategic direction of an organization. They also provide critical “boots on the ground” support to help organizations achieve their goals.
PR/marketing is an investment and choosing a PR/marketing agency to collaborate with is a big decision. Since the agency you hire will be developing a PR/marketing strategy for your organization – and that strategy should be closely aligned with your overall strategic plan – your board should be represented on your agency selection committee.
Fundraising and marketing go hand-in-hand
Nonprofit boards often play an integral role in fundraising and development which are closely tied to marketing. In many instances, marketing campaigns can serve as the umbrella for fundraising and development campaigns. With these two key areas intertwined, it is key for everyone who will be collaborating on these initiatives to be on the same page.
Stakeholder perspectives vary
Staff and boards often have varied perspectives. While the board is technically an internal stakeholder, board members do not work inside the organization on a full-time basis so they bring with them some outside perspective as well. Bringing together the perspectives of boards and staff provides a more holistic view of an organization, which will significantly impact the objectives a PR/marketing agency is being tasked to help achieve.
Your board is a target audience
When we collaborate with nonprofits to develop strategic communications plans, we’re often asked how they can better inform their board about the depth and breadth of what the organization is doing. While we often drill down into what communication channels are best suited to reach and engage the board, and what information matters most to them, hearing directly from the board through surveys and interviews is always an important part of the process. Case and point, hearing directly from the board how a PR/marketing agency can best help to meet their needs – and maximize their ability to support the organization – is an important part of vetting and selecting a PR/marketing agency.
While you want to avoid a “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario, involving your nonprofit’s board in selecting a PR/marketing partner is an integral part of the process. Just as you bring your leadership team and internal marketing and development staff into the process, you want to engage representatives from the board in helping to make this important decision.
Asking the right questions is key to finding the PR/marketing agency that is the best fit for your organization. Ask these 25 key questions when you’re screening prospective agency partners.