Running a startup is a very difficult job, but the task is made even more herculean when the startup is explicitly a non-profit organization. There are several ways that a PR expert can help a nonprofit organization operate more effectively and efficiently, and many reasons why a PR expert should be among your first hires in the organization’s infancy. Here are a few ways that someone with a degree in public relations can adjust expectations and change the narrative surrounding your startup.

Marketing expertise

Many public relations experts have related skills in marketing and advertising, two skills which are extremely in-demand at new startups. These skills are particularly valuable when the startup is committed to not turning a profit—cheap marketing is not an easy task to accomplish, but good PR work can turn legwork into free media mentions and local exposure.

Public relations experts often have relationships with media members or friends who work in marketing or advertising, and they can leverage these professional relationships into media exposure and market penetration.

The first thing a PR expert can do is write a news release concerning your business. They will target the appropriate media and promote your foundation to the public. Those experienced in PR often subscribe to and are familiar with different forms of communication, such as newsletters and websites, that fit your startup’s values. Staying in contact with them directly will help spread the word on what your startup’s objectives are and how people can help contribute to your cause.

Mission statement streamlining

Even if you have an excellent idea of what you want your startup to accomplish and what goals you would like to pursue, PR experts are trained in message packaging. They can distill your goals into readily marketable sound bites or slogans, which are incredibly valuable in a fast-paced online society.

Being able to separate your nonprofit startup from the pack is something that many CEOs and owners struggle with, so it is important to hire someone with experience doing exactly this.

Besides ensuring brevity in your mission statement, a PR expert can help you cultivate and maintain a positive image for your startup. The more positive your public image is, the more people will want to volunteer for you and donate to the organization.

Crisis management

Creators of nonprofit startups are often very adept at running their organization in times of fruit and honey, but they may be unfamiliar with confronting failure, negative news coverage, or mismanagement allegations.

Adjusting the public narrative is one of the primary concerns of a PR professional, and their expert guidance in crises can help your nonprofit immeasurably. Approaching the problem as a set of separate issues that must be separately solved is difficult to do if you, the CEO or owner, are part of the problem: it is best to have outside help, in the form of a public relations expert, to advise you on the proper course of action.

PR experts are undervalued in the startup world, and particularly in the nonprofit sector. Making a public relations expert one of your first employees will help your organization streamline its message, separate itself from its competitors, and avoid unpleasant controversy. The better your public image is, the more people will see it as a force of good in the community, and they will be anxious to further it along through donation, participation, and volunteering.