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JOMC 232 – Public Relations Writing Margrethe Williams Fall 2013 Dr. Lois Boynton December 3, 2013


1. Reflections on service 2. Time log 3. Communication audit a. Audit b. Backgrounder c. SWOT analysis d. Recommendations 4. PHS speech 5. A strategic vision of PHS on LinkedIn


Working with Piedmont Health Services taught me teamwork and patience. In academia, we are often absorbed in the almost solitary nature of our own work. Working with a real client required us as students to realize that we are not the priority. Not only were we forced to work together as a class, but we were delegated tasks according to the needs of the communications director. The most valuable part of the project was the amount of feedback available from various parties. Suddenly our work was more than something between professor and the student; we presented our work to the class and Debra Markley at PHS. A real challenge I encountered was the surprising amount of red tape. Though I’m sure at larger institutions, there is much more, the difference between internal and external deadline was immense. It was apparent that our work would need to be reviewed and edited and approved before it could be put in front of actual PHS clients. I don’t think there was an invaluable part of this class. I was introduced to a variety of public relations tools that I could apply to the client – or any future client of mine in the future. After touring the PHS office and meeting some clients of theirs, I have much fewer recommendations than before. I am impressed with the scale of the organization, and the only room for improvement I witnessed was with donors. The center brings in millions of dollars each year between federal and state grants, and individual donations. However, with more donation money, management would be able to bolster the staff and facilities. My recommendation for communicating with donors is to increase the frequency with which current communication is used, as well as making strategic connections via LinkedIn and other social media to make targeted asks.


Date

Activity

Hours

9/10

Research

3

9/11

Research

3

9/18

Research

2

9/19

E-FAQ

3

10/10

PHS visit

3

10/23

LinkedIn proposal

1

10/29

Revision

2

10/30

LinkedIn update to turn in

3

11/12

Revision

3

11/13

LinkedIn update to turn in

2

11/14

Speechwriting

3

12/2

Portfolio work

5

Total

33


Overall, the web site is strong, and needs improvement in only a few areas. One of those areas is Spanish-language information. Other areas that the organization can improve its internal and external communication are donor relations. The outreach to donors is virtually non-existent online, and on paper, donation requests are unattractive and outdated. Overall, the website does an excellent job storytelling about PHS patients and attracting patients to the health center. The quilt motif – while it has little to do with the center or its brand image – is comforting and should be incorporated in other aspects of the organization. There are a few significant disconnects. Ninety-nine percent of the staff is bilingual and the center is labeled with signs in various languages – yet it depends on its website and Facebook page to disseminate a few key pieces of information – and it does so strictly in English. Another important suggestion is that the center provide information for its patients and, for that matter, serve as a source for information for the community with the implementation of the new healthcare law. All company communication should provide some avenue for those that have questions about how their healthcare or healthcare coverage will change with the Affordable Care Act. If the center can embody its role as a “healthcare home” – a cozy yet uniform and effective organization – its success will only continue to grow.


Backgrounder Piedmont Health Services began in 1970 as a single community health center to provide primary care to the community of Prospect Hill, N.C. The center treated nonemergencies to decrease the number of uninsured patients in the hospital emergency room, and provided care to those that could not afford private doctor visits. That one community center grew into what is now a group of seven health centers that provide comprehensive health services including pharmacy, dental and medical care to each of their communities. In 2012, Piedmont Health Services served over 40,000 patients. The private nonprofit is dedicated to the sustained improvement of its services and its mission to serve North Carolina communities. In 2013, the seventh center was opened at Sylvan Community Center in Snow Camp, N.C. Piedmont relies completely on donations. Last year, its donations totaled more than $1 million in state and federal grant funding, adding another year to the trend of increased fundraising. The company is a part of the State Employee Donation Campaign and relies on that as a source of income along with its own series of events and donation campaigns. The organization employs close 85 full-time staff members and maintains a team of volunteers. Communication with its publics is primarily carried out through brochures and fliers in-office and in partner offices, along with daily Facebook posts and monthly newsletter blasts. The centers offer a number of special programs, including WIC for women and children and PACE, and all-inclusive health program for seniors.


SWOT Analysis SWOT Analysis for: Piedmont Health Services Company Communication

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Piedmont health services listed first when Googled.

It’s possible to find out how to make an appointment, but could be easier. Lots of text mars the process rather than a colored button like the donation process.

Large Hispanic population in the area - There is the opportunity to appeal to Hispanic patients better – already they offer translation services – the website should communicate that better.

Easy to find donation portal

Variety of organization systems for ease of search (by Dr., Translation by location, etc.). services – but when you click the Español tab, it doesn’t Organization of translate the site headings – but instead variety of specific brings the reader headings makes to a separate for pages that web page. are not filled to the brim with text. Search function should search titles before text Attractive site – when the word keeps the viewer appointment is interested. searched, at the bottom of the

The donation page has the opportunity to be more emotionally engaging – right now it only has text but could include photos, too.

Opportunity exists to make avenues more direct by dividing the site’s audience into categories (patient,

Threats Uncertainty of federal funding with the imminent implementation of Obamacare.

Competition Piedmonthealthservices.org is the title of an unrelated site.

Threat of losing a donation or a client due to lack of direction (there is no phone number on the homepage).


Photos of management team make the org. relatable.

Social media links easily accessible for feedback.

Language choices – “Welcome Home,” etc. brands the site as a place of comfort.

results page is the process for making an appt – after articles that mention the word.

Inconsistency – header and footer titles lead to same places with different titles.

Too much info. on homepage

employee, etc.).


Recommendations This year is a year to focus on providing healthcare to everyone. With the dawn of the affordable care act, the message this year is one of universal healthcare – amid the uncertainty of the law – Piedmont Health Services doesn’t turn anyone away. Through a variety of programs, Piedmont supports this mission. For example, the center’s sliding pay scale allows families at all income levels to afford treatment, multiple locations and bilingual care providers are also facets of this mission, making it easy for families that live in remote corners of the state from remote corners of the world to access the same quality care that is available for everyone else. The message this year should be a spread not only in its patient recruiting efforts but also in its donation requests. The stress should be on continuing the quality care of the center – a “healthcare home” for communities in the triangle and expanding the care to everyone regardless of access to insurance, employment, or anything else. In regards to contacting donors, I suggest an increased boldness online. The outreach to distinct audiences should be as distinct online as it is in print; therefore different platforms or pages will appeal to repeat patients versus new patients versus potential donors. I recommend the creation of a LinkedIn company page to attract benefactors outside the normal fundraising radius. In addition, Facebook posts should be modified to be more appropriate for patients in both content and language. The Piedmont Health Services website is diverse and caters to a variety of stakeholder groups: prospective patients, benefactors, employees, and community members. While the design and choice of language are effective in branding the site as


a safe haven, I would recommend organizing the site by group. At this point, there is too much information on the homepage and the tabs could be confusing for a casual user. The best course of action is to simplify the homepage: ask the visitor what group they belong to – patient, community member (potential benefactor), or employee – and go from there, tailoring the process to each one to better direct them to where they need [and where PHS would like for them] to go.


Margrethe Williams Piedmont Health Services 299 Lloyd St Carrboro, NC 27510 Nov 20, 2013 SPEECH TEXT Make Room for Piedmont Health in Your Budget Brian Toomey, Speaker

Healthcare is controversial these days. But it’s hard to argue with the fact that we’re all human, we all get sick – and we all need a place to go to when that happens. For 40 thousand North Carolinians last year – Piedmont Health was that place. I’m Brian Toomey, and I direct Piedmont Health Services. We’re a nonprofit providing dental, pharmaceutical and general medical care to North Carolina communities. -MORE-


PHS Ask/Page 2 We don’t turn anyone away, and we focus on preventive healthcare. We eliminate unnecessary emergency room visits and create stronger, healthier communities. Catherine Poole Watson was one of the first employees in our Prospect Hill center. She worked with Betty Compton, Doctor Glen Pickard and Doctor Greenberg, who established our first center as one of the highest quality. After 37 years of dedicated service, Catherine retired in 2009. Five generations of the Poole family receive services in Prospect Hill Community Health Center. The family continues to visit the center. They say they couldn’t imagine going anywhere else for their check-ups; they say “it feels like home.” -MORE-


PHS Ask/Page 3 Back then there was only one center, but now we have eight. We serve people at all income levels, from all over the world - and we provide jobs to 85 employees like you. More than 90 percent of our staff is bilingual. Piedmont survives completely on donations. That means that your contribution goes to medical equipment, finding and keeping quality physicians and everything in between. To continue offering our programs, we need your tax-deductible donation. One hundred percent of your gift will go back to your community to educate, employ and heal your neighbors and friends. So I’m asking you to make room in your budget this winter for Piedmont Health. The SE-C-C number is 1873 and your gift will change more lives than your own. Thank you. ##


Questions: 1. How much of PHS’s income is from individual donations, and how much is from grants or other sources? It varies each year. Last year, we raised just over 1 million dollars of state and federal funding. A large part of our income is from individual donations, and the extent of services we provide is contingent upon the donations we receive. 2. How do you treat patients without insurance? Piedmont doesn’t turn anyone away. That being said, we ask patients to pay what they can for services. We have a partnership with the state Chamber of Commerce to provide discounts to its employees without insurance. 3. Do you plan to open any more centers? That depends on need. Right now, we plan to focus on making sure all of our centers – especially our new Sylvan center in Snow Camp – are serving as many patients as they can.


A Strategic Vision of

on _____________________________________________________________________________________

LinkedIn has over 225 million users. The median income of the site’s users is $139,000, according to The PR Styleguide (2013) by Barbara Diggs-Brown. In addition to their professional identity, users express involvement in side projects, passion for causes and interest in nonprofits. The development of a company profile page on the site will enhance Piedmont Health Service’s online brand and leverage its existing network of employees, board members, donors - and the network of each of those hundreds of individuals. The page is broken into sections, with only those that have been completed on display. My suggestion for the company is completion of all functions of the page before launch. With the launch of the company page, an incentive to sign up and link to the company’s page will be provided for all employees and board members. While the purpose of the site is predominantly to create, categorize and retrieve information, I recommend using the update function to link to online articles published by the PHS newsletter as well as all relevant articles referenced on other social media platforms. Using this strategy, upkeep of the profile will be simple and effective. This can be done through a social media updating service such as TweetDeck. To build a network of prospective donors, regular posts will contribute to the promotion of the page and encouragement of opinion leaders to follow news from the site. New printed materials should be updated to include the LinkedIn logo, to highlight PHS’s presence on the platform. After reaching a threshold of followers to be decided on by the communication decisionmaker, an online discussion group will be created with relevant topics to discuss new projects and specific organizational needs.


Sample Company Profile on LinkedIn Piedmont Health

About Piedmont Health Piedmont Health Services is a community health nonprofit based out of Carrboro, NC. The organization operates seven community health centers in Carrboro, Burlington, Moncure, Prospect Hill, Scott, Siler City and Snow Camp, NC. At Piedmont Health, we’re rooted in our community. We are determined to deliver quality health care to everyone with compassion, devotion and clinical sophistication; because we all deserve the benefits of a healthier life. From an infant getting her first well-baby checkup to a teenager getting a wisdom tooth pulled to a grandpa needing help managing his diabetes – welcome to Piedmont Health. Services offered include dental, pharmaceutical and general medical care at reduced prices. Anyone is welcome to visit the centers. Specialties Medical Services, Dental Care, Pharmacy, Nutrition Counseling, Disease Management, Health Support

Industry Hospital & Health Care

Type Nonprofit

Website http://www.piedmonthealth.org

Company Size 51-200 employees

Heaquarters 301 Lloyd St Carrboro, NC 27510


How to Set up a Company Page 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Sign in to LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) or create an account Hover over “Interests” the last subheading on the top left of the page Click on “Companies” Click on the blue text “Add a Company” at the top right of the page Enter company name and official e-mail address, then hit continue Enter information about company as provided in this document


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