Do photo-calls work?

I met with two people connected to the organisation I work for last week and we were chatting about things in general and during the conversation we discussed, naturally, other charities in our space.

The two gentlemen I was with both commented on a picture that was on the front page of one of the largest national newspapers that morning, both talking about what that charity did etc… I hadn’t seen the piece in the paper so I went into a shop to look at a copy and see what they were talking about.

Here it is, great picture, front page. I am sure everyone in the charity was just over the moon that day.

picture taken from the Irish Independent Front Page

But guess what….both men that I spoke to named the wrong charity. They both thought the launch was for a totally different charity then it actually was for.

Now of course this is only anecdotal, but it certainly begs the question, are we right in pursuing this kind of PR. I know I am prone to fall into default mode of, lets do a photo call. It’s realitively easy, it ticks a lot of boxes (normally keeping a sponsor sweet), but what impact does it have. And we are all about Impact right?

It clearly didnt resonate with my colleagues, it certainly wasnt going to compel them to act (if it did they would have been acting for the wrong cause). So does this kind of PR really work? Are we measuring it (beyond the ad-value of the piece landing on the front page of the paper?).

Maybe the question is, what kind of PR does work for non profits? I would love to hear from PR professionals either inside or outside of the non profit world and get their thoughts on what they are doing differently?

As it happens it was a launch for that Jack and Jill Foundation who have set up a site called www.jackandjillflowers.ie

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