A public relations officer who works within a church must balance the need to share the church's accomplishments and activities with the public while also ministering to the congregation through in-house publications. A PR officer usually reports to a communications director or, in the case of a smaller church, to a pastor or minister. The job can be challenging and stressful, as the PR officer has to put the church in the best light while sometimes tackling tough issues of faith and morality.
One of the primary roles of a public relations officer at a church is raising money. A church operates from tithes of its members and additional donations, so this job is vital to a church's survival. The job involves coming up with fundraising campaigns that will generate a high level of interest and networking with people within and outside of the church who are likely to want to make donations. The job also involves responding to donations with thank-you cards, meetings and updates so that each donor feels appreciated.
A big part of a church PR officer's day is working with the media and getting information about the church into the news. A PR officer has to create a strong and positive reputation for the church by hosting news conferences about important events and developing relationships with key reporters, both local and national. The PR officer should be creative, coming up with events and news items that the community will care about. For example, a PR officer might write news releases about parenting workshops if the main demographic attending the church is young couples. Or the PR officer might talk to the media about how the church is helping a family in need or host a news conference about a relief effort the church is leading.
The PR officer is also in charge of in-house publications that communicate the church's message to its members. This can include church publications, such as a weekly bulletin given out during the service that advertises events happening during the week. The PR specialist might oversee the website, create a newsletter or help make brochures about special events. The officer's goal is to understand the church's target audience -- the main demographic that attends the church -- and create publications that are specially geared toward that group.
Salary and Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't offer salary and job outlook specifically for church PR officers, but it does offer information for PR specialists in general. As of 2012, the BLS reported that PR specialists made a mean yearly salary of $61,980. Those who worked in grant-making and giving services, or social advocacy organizations, made between $54,300 and $55,210 a year. The job opportunities for PR specialists, as of 2010, was expected to grow by 23 percent by 2020. The increased need for social media is one of the factors attributing to this growth.
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