Your Public Relations and Communications Community

Living in an Interconnected World


December 31, 2013

Every year, PRSA members contact me seeking help to locate international business partners. While PRSA — as suggested by the word “America” in our name — remains overwhelmingly focused on the United States, a small part of our agenda reflects the fact that we live in an interconnected world — and that we are a leader for other national organizations around the world.

Against this backdrop, we have a modest international agenda. For example, we maintain a global network of relationships so that we can help our members connect with agencies and professionals in other countries.

We participate in global efforts to create standards or policies on topics such as education and ethics.

We also actively seek international sales and sponsorship opportunities. For example, at PRSA’s 2013 International Conference, there were dozens of non-U.S. attendees, and well as more than a half-dozen sponsors or exhibitors either headquartered outside the United States, or which were subsidiaries of non-U.S. companies.

Pursuing global objectives

There are a number of ways in which we currently pursue our global objectives.

First, we partner with international organizations such as the global, London-based Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC), with which we’ve coproduced a “Measurement” seminar two years in a row. Relationships like this can generate modest income for PRSA and provide our members with access to a global network and expertise.

Second, we maintain a Global Affairs Community where members and volunteers who have an interest in international public relations can connect and share their work and ideas.

Third, PRSA is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (GA), which is the umbrella organization for national and international PR organizations. The GA offers a cost-effective way for PRSA to build and maintain a global network of connections, shape policy and research, provide leadership to smaller and emerging associations, and raise awareness of our benefits and services with potential members and non-member customers.

The GA’s current agenda includes:

  1. Comm Prix: The Global Alliance, with extensive support from PRSA, developed its own awards program, the “Comm Prix,” this year. We worked with the GA to design the program with PRSA’s interests in mind.
     
  2. Research and education: In recent years, the GA has reached out to the academic community by creating a new membership category for educational institutions, supporting a research program with USC — an extension of the GAP study — and providing a forum for academics to present their own research on relevant topics.
     
  3. WPRF: Every other year, the GA co-hosts — along with a national organization — a PR conference, the World Public Relations Forum (WPRF).
     
  4. Accreditation: We’ve taken the discussions regarding the future of the APR to the GA. Some members have modeled their own accreditation on PRSA, while in at least one other country, the GA are planning to start an accreditation program — so PRSA’s plans will have a global impact.
     
  5. Policies and procedures: The GA has been operating exclusively under its bylaws, without a written collection of policies and procedures. PRSA is leading the effort to create a comprehensive GA P&P document.
     
  6. Budgeting and fundraising: PRSA serves as the treasurer of the GA, helping them manage their modest resources and find new sources of funds.
     
  7. Association management: The GA conducts periodic workshops on association management so that its members can become stronger organizations, and PRSA helps plan and lead these sessions as a thought leader in the field of PR associations.

Maintaining a connection

In the years ahead, we’ll be following the charge set forth by our Strategic Plan to explore whether there are additional international opportunities that could be responsibly managed, given our resource constraints.

In the meantime, we all recognize that we live in an interconnected world. Health and national security issues, financial crises, the products we buy, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive — everything in our world has a global connection — and so does PRSA, the better to serve you, and to keep you connected to the world.

 

William (Bill) M. Murray, CAE, is the chief executive officer of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
Email: william.murray at prsa.org



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