Evaluation is a key component of any public relations campaign. As PR professionals, we spend all this time developing goals and objectives, as well as strategies and tactics to achieve them. But if we do not have any sort of evaluation, who is to say whether or not we were successful? Evaluation allows an organization to see what worked and what did not, and to what degree.
We are taught to create SMART objectives. This means they should be specific, measurable, achievable/attainable, realistic and time-specific. By making them measurable, we give ourselves a way to see if we succeeded.
We at Empower Public Relations have worked hard to develop a campaign to improve Capital Area Special Olympics. Throughout the course of this semester, we have developed goals and objectives pertaining to the awareness and acceptance of the organization, as well as the actions of its publics. In order for us to determine if we have successfully fulfilled these objectives, Empower PR has also come up with ways to measure these at the beginning and end of our campaign.
At the start of our campaign, Empower PR developed a simple Qualtrics survey to gather the general public’s awareness, attitude, and actions toward Capital Area Special Olympics. We obtained the information we were looking for, and went on to develop our goals and objectives.
First, we hoped to increase awareness about how CASOL raises its funds. Secondly, we hoped to have an effect on the acceptance of the organization’s services. We came up with tactics to relay our messages throughout our campaign and specifically during our fundraising event. To measure the success of our messaging, we distributed a survey at the end of our event. This survey was geared toward the awareness and attitudes we wanted to improve. The results of the post-event survey were positive. Attendees agreed that they would be more likely to donate and more willing to learn about the services offered. This was great news for us; it meant we were doing something right.
Our last objective focused on increasing donations and sponsorships. This objective is easy to continuously measure throughout the campaign, as we can keep track of exact amounts donated or numbers of sponsors.
All of these examples were specific to our campaign for CASOL. Generally speaking, there are processes and measurement techniques to evaluate PR. Penn Strategies offers this sample evaluation process:
- Define issue or opportunity
- Establish objective
- Outline approach
- Assess data
- Gather data
- Incorporate feedback
- Write report
- Present findings
The chart below, made by PR Week, shows some of the methods for gathering and assessing data.
There are many different ways to monitor and measure public relations, but the one constant is the understanding that they must be monitored and measured. Some sort of evaluation is necessary in all public relations.
Connect with Empower’s Co-Event Director, Emma Corona.