Category 6 – Internal
Jeff Nall, APR, CPRC
Research/Situation Analysis: Background: The Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) is the oldest public relations organization in the United States. Members represent a variety of different organizations including private and public corporations, government entities, not-for-profits, counseling firms and independent practitioners. FPRA provides an array of member services, benefits and opportunities including voluntary professional accreditation and certification. Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) is offered through the Universal Accreditation Board to members of participating organizations, including FPRA. The credential of Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) is a unique, second-tier credential offered exclusively by FPRA to its members who have previously earned their APR and have ten or more years experience in the field of public relations. Newly accredited and certified members are recognized each year at FPRA’s Annual Conference.
Research: As of Annual Conference 2008, only 50 members had earned the CPRC credential since it was created 32 years prior in 1976. Of the 50 CPRCs, only 13 had earned the credential since Annual Conference 2003. As newly elected 2008-2009 FPRA VP/Accreditation & Certification, I wanted to learn why so few of our members were sitting for the credential and what could be done to educate and motivate our target audience of CPRC eligible members. Informal feedback from members suggested that there was a lack of information about both the credential and the process. To gain further insight, a survey was conducted of those who had earned the credential in the previous two years. The survey results supported the informal feedback. (The survey and responses are included in the support material section of the entry binder.)
Situation Analysis: More information and educational tools were needed to assist our CPRC eligible members in understanding and achieving the credential. Plans for a comprehensive, multi-tool campaign were set in motion. Key messages would focus on career advancement, ease of process and affordability, and leading by example.
Objective: Though six members earned the CPRC credential in 2007-2008, the following goal was considered a sizeable challenge based on the five-year trend. The outcome objective set for a new campaign was:
Implementation: To achieve the objective set for the campaign, the following new tools were created and tactics implemented.
- to increase the number of new CPRCs in the 2008-2009 FPRA year by 33% (8) over the number of new CPRCs in the 2007-2008 FPRA year (6).
(These tools and/or sample usage is included in the support material section of the entry binder.)
Evaluation: The campaign was a resounding success. The objective was not only exceeded, but the number of new CPRCs recognized at Annual Conference 2009 was the largest in the Association’s history. The evaluation showed:
- CPRC PowerPoint Presentation “FPRA’s Highest Credential……. Your Greatest Opportunity” - The presentation was made to the state board, provided to local certification chairs and CPRC eligible members, and posted on the FPRA Web site.
- CPRC Fact Sheet and FAQs- The fact sheet and FAQs were provided to local certification chairs and CPRC eligible members and posted on the FPRA Web site.
- CPRC Video “Your Future. Your Career. Your Leadership Opportunity” – The video was provided to local certification chairs for use in Chapter blogs and Web sites and posted on the FPRA Web site.
- Articles - Articles were submitted for FPRA’s e-facts newsletter and Chapter newsletters and blogs.
- Letter - A template letter to CPRC eligible members was provided to Chapter Presidents for local outreach.
- Emails – Emails were sent to all CPRC eligible members. Documents such as an application, fact sheet, FAQs, sample exam questions and answers and the PowerPoint presentation were attached.
- Personal contact – Established frequent personal contact with both CPRC eligible members and local certification chairs to offer encouragement, coach and answer questions.
the number of new CPRCs in the 2008-2009 FPRA (15) represented an increase of 150% over the number of new CPRCs in the 2007-2008 FPRA year (6), exceeding goal (8) by 88%.
Budget: The campaign came in under its approved $200 budget. The only cost associated with the campaign was $129, which was spent on a logoed set piece for the video. Studio time and production of the video were donated. All other tools were produced as a volunteer at no cost to the Association.
- The number of new CPRCs more than doubled the number the previous year and exceeded the number in the previous five years combined (13). The total number of CPRCs had been increased by 30% in one year!