The first major fund-raising campaign by Canada’s leading communications foundation has surpassed its goal. The Communications + Public Relations Foundation will use proceeds to conduct original research to establish the profile of today’s public relations practitioners and determine the skills and aptitude that Canadian employers will be expecting from public relations professionals in the future.
“The expertise and training required by communications practitioners today is dramatically different than it was just a few years ago,” noted campaign chair, Bruce MacLellan, President of Environics Communications Inc. MacLellan cited the emergence of digital technology and social media, globalization, economic recession and an aging workforce as some of the shifts impacting the public-relations profession.
MacLellan said the campaign achieved its $75,000 objective with donations still arriving. In addition, Canadian research firm Leger Marketing has made a substantial services donation to the campaign.
Foundation chair Gordon McIvor called the campaign a gratifying success. “The response from the Canadian communications and business community has been outstanding with donations from leading agencies, corporations and individuals.
“We can now proceed with our objective to investigate what employers in different sectors of public relations and communications management require to ensure the employees they hire have the talent and education needed to contribute to overall corporate or organizational objectives,” he said.
The Communications + Public Relations Foundation was founded in 1979 with a mandate to support education and research in the communications and public-relations industry. Most of its work to date has focussed on advancing educational initiatives through the initiation of scholarships, bursaries, and professional development lectures as well providing reference text books across Canada and assisting post graduate students with funding for research projects. The research initiative will be the foundation’s first endeavour through its newly formed Foundation Research Network.
“Academic researchers at leading Canadian universities have already indicated their support and interest in taking part in the original research,” said McIvor. The research network includes Mount Saint Vincent University, Université du Québec à Montréal, McGill University, Mount Royal University, Université de Montréal, McMaster University and the University of Prince Edward Island.
“The first phase of the research is expected to begin by Fall 2012 with results made available through a phased approach using the foundation’s website and other media,” McIvor concluded.