Public Relations Tactics

A mid-year report: How are we doing?

August 12, 2010

William M. Murray, CAE
President and COO, PRSA

I just returned from meetings with PRSA’s Board of Directors in Atlanta, home to one of PRSA’s largest Chapters.  We had a chance to enjoy Southern hospitality and get together with Chapter members and leaders, hold a focus group with some of our senior members and spend nearly two days with the Board reviewing the state of PRSA.

Overall, we are cautiously forecasting to make our financial goal for the year, which is to break even, plus make a contribution equal to 1 percent of our annual expenses to our reserve fund.

The membership count has remained steady since the middle of the year — and increased at the end of June, for the first time in more than a year.

In what we hope is a positive sign for our members, Jobcenter postings are up sharply over this time last year, approaching levels that we haven’t seen since August 2008. 

Although that’s an unofficial indicator, it reflects what we’ve been hearing from our members: hiring is picking up. Many of our other programs are also tracking well this year, including our Anvil Awards and International Conference.

But in today’s economic environment, there is no more “business as usual.”  We’re all being challenged to be creative while moving forward.  This year, we’ve been working hard to do this in a variety of areas, including:

  • District dashboards. We are providing new Chapter performance reports to Districts so that leaders can better support Chapters in their region.
  • APR+M. Our extension of the APR program to military practitioners is on track to be delivered this year.
  • PRSSA website.  We’re expecting to launch a new student website by this fall.
  • Chapter Web Templates. Delivered earlier this year, these templates make it easier for Chapters to revamp their own websites.
  • The Business Case for Public Relations.  We’re developing programming for Chapters built around the popular Business Case for Public Relations advocacy campaign.
  • Chapter Bylaw templates.  In June, we provided templates for Chapters to adopt new bylaws that conform with our revised 2009 bylaws.
  • E-mail volume monitoring.  We’re continuing to watch our e-mail volume to members, after consolidating our communications into the new Issues & Trends e-newsletter launched in January.
  • Event registration process. We’ll be able to register event attendees more quickly with a new registration module by the end of this year.

During the second half of the year, we will focus on several major projects, including the International Conference, the nomination and election of leadership, the Leadership Assembly and strategic planning and budgeting.

At the same time, our day-to-day operations routinely include efforts to innovate, cut costs and deliver benefits in new ways.

One example is our digital Conference flipbook. This year, instead of producing two versions of a Conference program, we published our initial program in a digital format. By publishing electronically, we’ve been able to reduce our printing and postage costs, track our readership — and save a few trees.

All of these projects serve as a backdrop to each of our members — a foundation to support your professional success. It may be unclear where the economy is heading, but we’re not waiting to find out.  We’re using the same creativity that PR professionals use every day to enhance our community and enable your success.


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