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Public Relations: The Lifeblood of a Squadron . P/C Debra Allen, P What’s Expected. Establish a committee (don’t try this alone!) Handle Promotions Free Publicity Advertisements Public Events Be on point for media coverage

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Public relations the lifeblood of a squadron

Public Relations:The Lifeblood of a Squadron

P/C Debra Allen,

Updated for D/26 PRO’s19 March 2005

What s expected
What’s Expected

  • Establish a committee (don’t try this alone!)

    • Handle Promotions

      • Free Publicity

      • Advertisements

    • Public Events

      • Be on point for media coverage

    • Anything that enhances the public image and tells the story of USPS®and the squadron

Job specifics
Job Specifics

  • Publish dates, locations and other information about squadron’s civic services

  • Help develop special promotion plans for the squadron’s other major events

  • Publicize the public boating courses

The process
The Process

  • Plan

  • Chart a course of action

  • Plan

  • Develop time tables

  • Plan

  • Implement

  • Evaluate the results to improve future planning

Define your goals
Define Your Goals

  • What do you want to achieve?

    • Recruit students for Boat Smart®

    • Increase membership

    • Create pride in your squadron

  • What are you marketing/selling?

    • Squadron boating course

    • Squadron event

    • Squadron civic service

Define your audience
Define Your Audience

  • Who are you trying to reach with your message

    • Squadron members

    • Non-member boaters

    • General public

Reaching your audience
Reaching Your Audience

  • Identify best medium to use

    • Where does your audience getits news

  • What is competing with yourmessage

    • USCG Auxiliary’s boating course

    • Family obligations

    • Other issues

Ways to reach your audience
Ways to Reach Your Audience

  • News Releases

  • Public Service Announcements

  • Listserv

  • Websites

  • Billboards

  • Banners

  • Brochures

  • Advertisements


  • Borrow successful ideas from others—in USPS, or not

  • Work with the outgoing PRO; bringthe incoming PRO up to speed

  • Create a local media guide to passon to future PRO’s

  • Call the District PRO for help, ideas,insight, referral to others

Communicating the message
Communicating the Message

  • Prepare materials

    • Appropriate materials directed to the right medium

  • Distribute materials

    • Timely release of information

    • Know deadlines

  • Personal follow up

    • Don’t irritate reporters, but don’t just mail your material and forget it

Beyond buying advertising
Beyond Buying Advertising

  • Lake Hartwell grew pride in its squadron and public attention with its fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House

  • Lake Murray places Boat Smart® registration brochures at marinas and other boating-related businesses

Free publicity
Free Publicity

  • Leaflets in billing envelopes

  • Speaking engagements at local civic clubs—be sure to take handouts or registration forms for your boating class

  • Vessel Safety Check is a great vehicle for promoting your image


  • Did you achieve your goal

  • What went right

  • What went wrong

  • Did you have adequate help

  • Did you have adequate time

  • Did you have adequate budget

Speaking of budgets
Speaking of Budgets

  • Cooperative Advertising Program

    • Allots $1 per active member

    • Reimburses at 50% of each dollarspent

    • Time frame: qualified activities must take place between 1 November and 3 October

  • Only 7 D/26 squadrons participated in 2004, up from 4 in 2003

How to get free money
How to Get Free Money

  • Complete and return to D/26 PRO Form NPR102S—the squadron planning form for cooperative advertising

  • Keep records

    • Receipts, invoices

    • Description of activity

    • Proof of activity

      • Photos, tear sheets of ads, etc

Deadline for free
Deadline for Free $$$

  • Checks mailed twice a year

    • Requests prior to 1 August

      • D/26 PRO must get request by 11 Julyto process in time to mail to Nationalon 25 July

    • Final deadline: 1 November

      • D/26 PRO must get request by 10 Octoberto process in time to mail to Nationalon 24 October

Who got free
Who Got Free $$$

  • Lake Hartwell submitted in time to receive an August check in 2003

  • In 2003, final submission deadline was met by:

    • Beaufort Power Squadron

    • Lake Murray Power Squadron

    • Savannah River Power Squadron

  • A 5th squadron submitted, but without proper documentation failed to bring home free $$$

Unclaimed free
Unclaimed Free $$$

  • Only a small percentage of districts used all the available free $$$

  • D/26 left $162 unclaimed in 2003

  • D/26 pro-rates allocation basedon membership of squadron

  • Magic 2005 membership date is:1 March 2004

What qualifies for free
What Qualifies for Free $$$

  • Radio/TV advertising (don’t overlook cable TV) or print advertising in newspapers, magazines, tabloids, shoppers or other publications that have local or regional circulation

What qualifies for free1
What Qualifies for Free $$$

  • Printed material such as flyers, letters, posters, or other printed items that are posted in community locations, circulated by direct mail or made available for distributionin another fashion such as handouts at a boat show

What qualifies for free2
What Qualifies for Free $$$

  • Direct mailings, telephone information lines, yellow page listings, and other mass media advertising

What qualifies for free3
What Qualifies for Free $$$

  • Billboards, banners, signs that promote the boating courses, your squadron's and USPS's image at gas docks or launch ramps and other materials displayed in the outdoor areas of communities 

What qualifies for free4
What Qualifies for Free $$$

  • Fabricated displays that promote the boating courses, your squadron or USPS

  • Such displays might be used for boating classes, boat shows, parades, shopping mall displays, local festivals and other activities 

What qualifies for free5
What Qualifies for Free $$$

  • Materials used to produce advertising to promote the public boating courses or the image of USPS on a district or regional basis

  • Several squadrons may work together on projects with reimbursement of funds shared by the squadrons involved

What qualifies for free6
What Qualifies for Free $$$

  • Expenses such as labor for billboard installation or expense associated with installing signs, building floats, decorating boats for parades etc. 

What doesn t qualify
What Doesn’t Qualify

  • Equipment purchases

  • Food

  • Squadron member-wearing apparelsuch as hats, shirts

  • Education expenses

Special note
Special Note

  • Visual displays, audio, and printed material should include, some or all of the following information:

    • Squadron name  

    • Telephone number of a squadron contact 

    • USPS toll free number, 1-888-FOR-USPS (1-888-367-8777) 

    • Details of the next class, including where and when 

    • The USPS logo or the name spelled out—remember that both require the use of the (registered mark)  "®“ on first reference

Charting the course

Promote Boating Course

Plan 1

Execute Plan 1

Plan 2

Promote Safe Boating Week & Your Squadron

Execute Plan 2

Milestone: Members Gained

Milestone: Name Recognition Gained













Charting the Course

  • Remember: like charting a cruise,one must chart a public relationsplan to achieve success


  • Are there questions

  • Does anyone have a success story to share

  • Before you leave provide me thename, address, phone number and e-mail address of your squadron PRO and Commander