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Friendraising New PR Relationships
Build your public relations network on a foundation of friends.
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 by Dr. Dan Eller
California Polytechnic State University

Dan EllerMost public relations professionals are quite adept
at building relationships with their clients and publics, but how do we carve out a pathway that facilitates a smooth road for these relationships to travel and ultimately expand?

What I’ve found in my professional public relations practice is focusing on friendraising. You ask, what is friendraising in terms of public relations practice and how do I get started?

Really the answer is simple…FOCUS ON THE FUTURE! Who are the people that you need to network with today, and how will this experience create future opportunities for everyone involved? How does friendraising differ from networking?

First, be on the lookout for new individuals and groups that will allow you to build effective and sustainable relationships by developing your use of friendraising. Don’t stay inside the box, or just look outside the box, throw the box away and be open to creating and seeking new opportunities to meet and develop a relationship with those who haven’t yet discovered what you have to offer to meet each others needs.

Second, develop the strategies necessary to implement your friendraising tactics. Do your homework to actively seek out and interface with those who will benefit through a mutual relationship. Craft the message that will resonate with these new friends that draw them in to what you have to offer and how what they bring with them helps each other.

Third, develop and implement the tactics that will allow you to practice the art of friendraising. Be creative and do the things that show your forward thinking as a public relations practitioner. Remember not everything we do always hits a home run, but choosing a different bat may be just what you need to hit the ball out of the park.

Finally, always look at the new people you meet, and who they represent as an opportunity to collaborate with to build a relationship through friendraising. Now that we have successfully created new relationships through our friendraising efforts, focus on continued collaboration and look for further friendraising opportunities that create almost a domino effect.

I am always actively looking for new opportunities to develop friends, and foster a relationship with them that will build the foundation of my public relations efforts to develop and succeed!

Dr. Dan Eller is a professor of Public Relations at California
Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA; and
Director of Communications at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA.

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