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Public Relations Case Study
The Robin Hood Foundation
Greer Hunter, Meghan Kelly, Bianca Roses, Emily Smith & Zoe Tesar


Organizational and PR Overview

The Robin Hood Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money through public
and private donations to combat poverty in New York City. This organization uses many public
relations elements to communicate with its publics and raise awareness about its mission with the
community. Although the organization has a very specific target public in New York City, it
continues to gain publicity and high acclaim nationally through its efforts. This nonprofit
organization utilizes a variety of public relations techniques to foster a beneficial relationship
with its publics. The foundations main channels include social media outlets, hosting charity
events and fundraisers, and traditional media, such as the television program 60 Minutes.
Robin Hood is the largest poverty fighting organization in the city and 100 percent of its
donations go directly to programs helping those in poverty because the organizations Board of
Directors funds all of Robin Hoods administrative expenses. Its Board of Directors is made up
of several well-known, wealthy individuals. Paul Tudor Jones founded the foundation in 1988
with the help of Glenn Dubin; both are notable New York hedge fund managers. After a stock
market crash in 1987, Jones feared our country was headed for a severe financial downturn in the
form of a depression, and thus began a foundation that would assist those in need. Although
Jones was incorrect in predicting a depression, it was the best mistake he could have made. Jones
told Fortune, The biggest error Ive ever made had the best possible outcome (Serwer, 2006).
Today, the Robin Hood Foundation has raised more than $1.1 billion to fight poverty through
hundreds of organizations around New York City.
There are approximately 1.8 million people living in poverty in New York City.
According to the Robin Hood Foundation website, 1 in every 6 New Yorkers relies on daily
emergency food, 40 percent of New Yorks public school students will not graduate on time, and
365,000 New Yorkers look for work each day. The Robin Hood Foundation mission, written on
its website, states that Robin Hoods mission for more than 20 years has been to fight poverty in
New York City (The Robin Hood, 2012). Robin Hoods focus is to not only raise money to
help New Yorkers in need, but to raise awareness of the existence and prevalence of poverty in
New York.
Perhaps one of the foundations most difficult tasks is identifying which poverty fighting
programs to assist. There are more than 25,000 such organizations in New York City and Robin
Hood must evaluate which programs will utilize its money most readily and efficiently to best
combat poverty. The Robin Hood Foundation has chosen to fund and support approximately 200
of these organizations to date, which include programs that offer help to the homeless, job
training to the unemployed, and better education and motivation for children. According to the
Robin Hood Foundation, 92 percent of people who enter a Robin Hood funded housing program
do not return to shelters, Robin Hood programs increase individuals chances of passing the
GED by 75 percent, and its job training programs are 2 times as effective as others (The Robin
Hood, 2012).
Something that sets apart the Robin Hood Foundation from other poverty fighting
organizations is its continuous success in raising impressive funds for its programs. Robin
Hoods Board of Directors not only pays every single administrative expense for the
organization, but also contributes vast amounts to the foundations donation funds. This permits
a 15:1 return on every dollar donated to the organization, and ensures that each and every

donation to Robin Hood is funneled directly into one of its programs, rather than funding any
administrative costs whatsoever. In addition, the foundation raises a substantial amount of money
at its annual benefit dinner at the Jacob Javits Center. It is often considered a success if a charity
can raise any amount of thousands of dollars in one night, but Robin Hoods annual charity
dinner raises tens of millions of dollars every year. Board of Directors chair Lee S. Ainslie told
Fortune, When we tell people their dollars are going to help their city, that every cent to those in
need, that the board pays expenses, and that we hold our grantees accountable, you are talking
about very powerful selling points (Serwer, 2006). Other organizations analyze and use similar
business techniques to those of Robin Hood due to Robin Hoods enormous success as a
nonprofit organization. The Robin Hood Foundation continues to grow and help New Yorkers in
poverty every day.

History of the Discipline
Public relations is an ever-changing discipline. People have been using forms of public
relations since the start of ancient civilizations. However, nonprofit public relations did not
become popular until the 1900s. When nonprofit public relations did become standard, public
relations as a whole moved into a relationship era (Smith, 2004). Previously public relations
served as a discipline to help organizations with their publicity, sharing of information and
product/service advocacy. The timeline below shows the evolution of public relations mission as
a discipline:

It is important to note that, public relations is becoming more research based and more a
function of the management and leadership of an organization, rather than simply the
implementation of communication tactics (Smith, 2004). This trend has clearly caught on at
Robin Hood. In one of our interviews, Patty Smith described how she is in constant contact with
management. They review the PR plans often to ensure that the messages created match Robin
Donations Directly To
People Who Do Not
Return to Shelters after
Robin Hood Programs
Chances of Passing GED
After Robin Hood
Robin Hood Percentages at a Glance
Mid 1900s
Late 1900s-

Hoods mission. Robin Hood is a perfect example of a nonprofit organization that utilizes
relationship style public relations to reach out to its publics. Robin Hood does not simply strive
for publicity, or one-way informative communication. Furthermore, Robin Hood does not just
advocate how their services are good, but demonstrate how they form relationships with anyone
that gets involved with Robin Hood, either as a donor or a recipient. Robin Hood illustrates how
nonprofits use public relations to their advantage.

PR Role at Robin Hood
Public relations plays an integral role in carrying out Robin Hoods mission to eradicate
poverty in New York City. The Robin Hood Foundation relies heavily on public and media
relations to spread its vision to New York City and beyond so that it may accrue even more funds
to disburse to organizations in need. Although public relations is an important component of the
Robin Hood Foundation, it does not serve as a major influence within the operations of the actual
company. Robin Hood strives to place carrying out its mission above the coverage it receives as
a result of its public outreach its reputation comes second to its actual mission of helping
poverty stricken New Yorkers. Its positive public and media relations are certainly pluses they
are, however, only a byproduct of decisions made within the company.
Robin Hood tends to approach public relations with a go with the flow type attitude:
Decisions about funding, their primary role as a foundation, are made completely independently
of the public relations department. The foundation never makes decisions about sponsoring or
dropping organizations based on the PR they will receive. Rather, they deal with each issue
individually and take the coverage as it comes to them. Robin Hood employees make it a point to
first prioritize their mission, and then worry about PR implications later. They simply go about
their business and then publicize it accordingly.
The role of public relations within the Robin Hood Foundation is two-fold. First, Robin
Hood recognizes the importance of raising awareness and money to combat poverty in New
York City and beyond this is, of course, its avowed mission. Second, Robin Hood aims to
generate positive media coverage (as a byproduct of its decision-making) so that the foundation
may get its name into the public eye as much as possible. Robin Hood wants to make people
aware of who they are and the work that they do so that it may acquire even more donors and
raise even more money to fight poverty.
In terms of an actual public relations department, Robin Hood employs only 1 public
relations professional, our interviewee, Patty Smith. Her role as managing director for marketing
& communications involves several facets of public relations. In addition to Patty, Robin Hood
payrolls several communication personnel. The jobs and duties that fall under both of these job
descriptions are listed in the following figures:
Communications Personnel
Art Directors
Copy Writers
Traffic Managers
Website & Social Media Managers
Head of Marketing and Events

Recently, Patty Smith and the Robin Hood Foundation decided to hire a public relations
agency so that it could more effectively reach out to the media and its publics. Robin Hood
approached several public relations agencies and asked them to give presentations based on what
these agencies thought about the Robin Hood Foundation and where it should head in terms of
public relations. Robin Hood then asked 6 of these agencies to present their ideas to them, and
picked 3 favorites from those. In making a final decision, Robin Hood evaluated the agencies by
which they thought had the smartest ideas and an approach that best met their preexisting ones.
Ultimately, Robin Hood chose Edelman the foundation was pleased with Edelmans
large nonprofit practice as well as their solid connections within the media. Media connections
were a big point for Robin Hood in choosing a public relations agency because of the sensitivity
and importance of spreading Robin Hoods mission and values throughout New York City.
Currently, Robin Hood is introducing Edelman to its foundation and working with them
to come up with new pitch ideas, reach out to the press and also to draft op-ed pieces. Edelman is
also beginning to manage Robin Hoods metrics as well as media monitoring. Robin Hood is
presently in the midst of a large-scale event, the 12-12-12 benefit concert, and will become
further involved with Edelman at the conclusion of the event. Patty works very closely with
Edelman to manage their management, so to speak, as well as to make sure they are acclimating
well to the foundation and get a better sense for how the foundation operates and at what angles
the public relations agency should begin to pitch from for the foundation.

Media Coverage Overview
The Robin Hood Foundations status as a major poverty fighting organization has earned
the foundation an abundance of media coverage and attention from the public, especially from
New York-based media outlets. Noteworthy news organizations such as Forbes, Fortune and
Bloomberg, among others, have each released stories about the foundation. Financial
Director for Marketing and Communications
Robin Hood's primary contact for all press and reports
Talking to reporters and managing the press
Reaching out to the press about upcoming Robin Hood events
Managing events from within, such as unplugged sessions
designed to inform potential donors about new opportunities
Drafting and sending press releases
Highlighting talking points and reviewing speeches for people
within the foundation and its benefactors when they are speaking
with the press
Sitting down with the PR agency, Edelman, and forecasting goals
as well as working together to manage the companys public
relations functions
Working closely with program staff to evaluate current and
potential donor organizations
Monitoring online publications (using Google Alerts) as well as
traditional publications and news programming for mentions of
Robin Hood or any of its benefactor organizations
Interacting firsthand, on-site with benefactor organizations


publications focus on Robin Hood can be attributed to the wealth and status of Robin Hoods
Board of Directors, as several are multi-millionaires or even billionaires.
Much of Robin Hoods media coverage is a result of company outreach to media outlets,
whether through their own communications staff or via Edelman, whom Robin Hood recently
hired to outsource its public relations management. Reporters will also approach the foundation
seeking information for current or future coverage on either the organization itself, or about
benefactors of Robin Hoods efforts and donations. Traditional city reporters with publications
such as The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, and The Wall
Street Journal routinely contact Robin Hood. To maintain positive relationships with the news
media, Robin Hood will invite reporters and news executives to its events not only so they may
produce stories for the immediate future, but also so the media may establish sufficient
background on the organization and so that they are more inclined to follow Robin Hood for
future coverage. Our interviewee Patty Smith is Robin Hoods primary contact for the press.

Media Coverage Zoom-In: 60 Minutes
A year or so ago, CBS approached Robin Hood about possibly featuring the foundation
on its popular, award winning television program 60 Minutes. Robin Hood originally declined
CBSs offer, as certain teams within the foundation felt they could not substantially satisfy
CBSs requirements for its program. However, the communications team mobilized and finally
convinced the company as a whole to sign onto the program.
The 60 Minutes coverage is relatively out of Robin Hoods hands, seeing as the program
may choose to portray the foundation from any angle it chooses. However, Robin Hood has put
its best foot forward in terms of evaluating what exactly it is they want the public to know about
its organization and mission. Participating in the program has required a tremendous amount of
work on the part of Robin Hoods employees, as well as many of its benefactors whom the
program will also mention and show footage of. CBS has filmed over 40 hours worth of footage
for the segment, which is set to air in early 2013. Robin Hood has spent a significant amount of
time evaluating what elements are needed to best portray its story to the American public, and
also to raise awareness of the foundation to acquire more funds and become a more successful
organization. Thus, Robin Hood is utilizing 60 Minutes not only to publicize the organization so
that it may acquire more funds to distribute, but also to raise awareness of poverty in general and
to mobilize the public toward contributing to and seeking an end to poverty.
To provide the 60 Minutes reporters with plentiful background information on the
organization, the Robin Hood Foundation invited the 60 Minutes team to its
Workforce1/Veterans Initiative conference, and also sat them down with nine or so community

partners so that the team could learn more about how Robin Hood works directly from its
benefactors. Much of the communications and marketing teams preparation for 60 Minutes
consisted of sitting down and rehearsing with potential interviewees, including students who
attend a charter school that Robin Hood supports, in addition to their principal. Robin Hood
communications professionals versed the interviewees about potential questions the 60 Minutes
reporters could ask, and helped them to assess thoughtful and acceptable responses. The 60
Minutes reporters also spent a significant amount of time speaking to one of the Robin Hood
founders, Paul Jones, who is known to be very quotable. Perhaps most notably, 60 Minutes
spoke with the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, about the Robin Hood Foundation
for its feature.

PR Models and Theories

When discussing public relations theories related to the Robin Hood foundation, there are
several that apply. Because this organization is a nonprofit, its main public relations goals consist
of developing awareness of its purpose of combating poverty, enticing the use of its services,
raising funds, and recruiting members, donors, and volunteers. The Robin Hood Foundation, like
all nonprofits, does not function to make a profit to distribute. It serves as philanthropy to help a
problem within the country, and for this reason, it must persuade publics to adopt the behavior of
supporting its cause.
The persuasion theory that best relates to Robin Hoods practice is the diffusion theory,
which according to our textbook explains how people make decisions to adopt new ideas through
a series of steps including awareness, interest, trial, evaluation and adoption. First, Robin Hood
must raise awareness of its name and mission so that people are informed of its existence and
purpose. Next, Robin Hood must generate interest through creative elements. Trial is when
people actively try out supporting the foundation, such as by mentioning it to a friend to see his
or her reaction or attending a Robin Hood Foundation event. Evaluation consists of assessment
of the awareness, interest and trial steps and then making a decision about whether or not to
support the cause. Moreover, this step takes into account interpersonal communication, as it is
likely that the individual going through the process will mention the foundation to a friend for
feedback. The final step in the persuasion theory is adoption, when an individual has decided to
change his or her behavior to support the cause and actively do something about it, such as
volunteer or make a donation. Additional factors of this theory are that channels such as the
media are more influential in the first stages, and that family and friends are more influential in
the later stages. This means that channels such as television and print advertisements can
successfully be used to provide awareness, spark interest and induce trial, but positive word of
Robin Hood

mouth and reputation of the organization is vital in the later stages that consist of evaluation and
Another theory that can be applied in the case of the Robin Hood Foundation is the
systems theory. Again, according to our textbook, this theory is relationship-based and asserts
that organizations cannot survive alone. It stresses that foundations are interdependent and must
interact with others to be successful. It is particularly crucial for nonprofit foundations to
maintain positive relationships with other organizations near and far for when it comes time to
ask for donations, whether they be small such as gift baskets for prizes or large, such as
venue space. Robin Hood works tirelessly to continue to find the best organizations to which to
disburse its funding. Robin Hood seeks out celebrity supporters, and is working to create a
campaign to inform the entire city and beyond of its goals and objectives. They clearly operate
with an open system. The Robin Hood Foundation has a solid reputation however, it is aware
of the need for mutually beneficial relationships between itself and other organizations as well.
One last theory that the Robin Hood foundation exemplifies is the social exchange
theory. Our text says that this is another persuasion theory asserting that people assess
consequences before acting. Another key point of the social exchange theory is that people want
to keep costs low and rewards high. It exhibits how a general member of the public can keep his
or her costs low for example, a small donation to the Robin Hood Foundation yet his or her
reward high, which in this case would be the good feeling from giving. Fundraising and asking
for donations is an incredibly large portion of a nonprofits funds for their cause. Foundations
must exhibit exemplary protocol when asking for donations. For example, if it is a donation-
seeking letter, it must be kept short, sweet, and interesting. There should be a large emphasis on
the donors importance and how useful his or her donation will be. If possible, the foundation
should provide incentive such as recognition or other nonmonetary rewards. Lastly, the
foundation should make the process as easy as possible for potential donors. A good example of
this is providing a return envelope with a prepaid postage stamp for him or her to mail back the
donation. These are all ways to uphold the social exchange theory by keeping costs low and
rewards high.

There is no specific space on the Robin Hood Foundations website dedicated to avowing
any sort of values, but it is a strength of this company that its values are made so obvious to the
public Robin Hood very much shows rather than telling. We asked our interviewee to
describe the Robin Hood foundations values in 3 words. First, Patty described Robin Hood as
generous because it is an organization that promotes philanthropy, volunteer ethic, and
selflessness. Second, Patty described Robin Hood as tenacious, as its goal is not at all an easy
one; defeating poverty in New York City is a large task to accomplish. However, Robin Hood
goes about working to achieve its mission with dedication and commitment and never steers
away from its mission. Finally, Patty described Robin Hood as optimistic. This is because it can
be extremely difficult at times to work in an environment where the goal is to fix such a large
problem, especially one as heavy as poverty, and which affects so many people. It is crucial to
keep up the companys morale and energy, and to always remain optimistic in every situation.


Robin Hood uses a holistic research approach to obtain information on the issue of
poverty in New York City and its publics. Robin Hood stays updated on the statistical
information regarding the number of impoverished New Yorkers. This data allows the
foundation to shape its goals and objectives so that they can be SMART. Research on New York
City residents allows Robin Hood to focus their advocacy type public relations at the right
audience. Robin Hood has two groups within the primary public of New York Residents. They
conduct research to split New Yorkers into two general categories: potential donors/volunteers,
and residents who are not informed enough about the citys poverty. Robin Hood uses their data
as motivation. They strive to increase the number of New Yorkers involved in helping Robin
Hood achieve its goal, and decrease the number of people falling below the poverty line in the
city. In addition to researching about key publics, Robin Hood does research on the needs of the
impoverished people of New York City. In order to relieve people from daily struggles, they
research what poor people need most. These items include shelter, food and clean water. Robin
Hood then helps to fund programs in the city that provide these items and services most
Robin Hood conducts extensive research on programs and organizations in New York
City that combat poverty. They strive to fund the most productive, organized programs to help
them grow even stronger. It is crucial that Robin Hood researches the groups they give money to,
because there is always the threat that some programs are not completely ethical with the use of
their donated money. Obviously Robin Hood does not want to donate to groups who do not put
the money toward poverty stricken New Yorkers.
Research is a never-ending task at Robin Hood. Research feeds the organization with
priorities that then help them to establish their objectives and goals. With defined objectives and
goals, Robin Hood can employ the most applicable strategies and tactics possible. In addition to
fueling the mission of Robin Hood, research allows for public relations and management at
Robin Hood to work on planning all their events.

Standing Plans:
Annual Benefit Gala
o This annual benefit gala is held in the Jacob Javits Center in New York City
which raises millions of dollars each year
Robin Hood Rocks
o Since 2001, Robin Hood has had annual concerts with big-name artists such as
Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Sting, and The Jonas Brothers to spread awareness
about Robin Hoods mission and raise funds for its poverty-fighting programs
One-Time Plans:
o Upcoming Sandy Relief Concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City on
December 12
. The concert will be available to view to one billion people across
six continents. Highly acclaimed artists such as Coldplay, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi,
Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, and more will perform.

Proceeds from the concert will go to the Robin Hood Relief fund, which aids
victims who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The Concert for New York City
o Concert organized by Robin Hood five week after 9/11, which raised more than
65 million dollars, to be given to families who lost loved ones in the attacks.
Robin Hood made a vow that every family of every casualty of 9/11 would
receive a $5,000 check before the holidays and successfully did. The foundation
continues to raise funds to be donated to those in need of mental health due to
9/11 events to this day.

GOAL: To fight poverty in New York City.

New Yorkers
New York
Average NYC
Potential donors
& grantees
Residents in the
NYC metro area
-Spread awareness
about Robin Hood and
the programs they
donate to
-Raise funds to be
donated to the most
effective programs
-Alleviate poverty

-Coordinate annual
events such as Annual
Benefit Gala & Robin
Hood Rocks concerts
-Use social media to
promote cause and
-Maintain relationships
with donors & grantees
-Invest in the most
effective organizations
that fight against

I mplementation:
In terms of implementation under the RPIE 4-step process, The Robin Hood Foundation uses
many tactics and tools to accomplish their planned goals and objectives. The Robin Hood
foundation uses the following social media outlets:
A comprehensive website
Facebook page
Newsletters and e-newsletters
Robin Hood uses these tools to accompany the organizations strategies and put their plans
into effect. The company has increasingly relied on using social media sites to implement their
plans and create awareness of their many projects and events. In addition, the organization holds
various events, rallies, galas, benefit concerts and meetings throughout each year to execute its
goals. By using these various tools, The Robin Hood Foundation is able to put their plans into
action by effectively reaching and communicating with its identified publics.


The Robin Hood Foundations effectiveness as a nonprofit organization can be measured
in various ways. Overall, Robin Hoods goal of eradicating poverty in New York City
corresponds with its positive reputation. Patty Smith iterated that her job is very difficult in many
ways. Going into communities and hearing heart-wrenching stories and dealing with a
challenging population of people are not for everybody. It is ideal for people who want to make a
difference and work in a rewarding environment. The Robin Hood Foundation has established
itself as the largest poverty fighting organization in New York City, and with this comes a strong
reputation. The companys goals are related to its reputation and work correspondingly to yield
the most beneficial results.
Specific objectives are measured differently according to the different portfolios The
Robin Hood Foundation funds. For school-based projects, objectives are measured by how many
students they are able to help and how those students are improving in terms of reading and
writing. With soup kitchen projects, success is measured by how many people they are able to
serve and how many meals they offer to recipients. For its work with medical clinics,
effectiveness is measured by how much staffing Robin Hood provides to increase the number of
patients that they treat and the quality of the care they give to patients. For all of Robin Hoods
projects and events, success is not solely measured by the amount of money donated; rather, the
organization measures its objectives by how the money is being used. The organization strives to
use the money it collects in the most beneficial way for a majority of the impoverished people
they cater to. In addition, the desired messaging match copy in materials. The companys
messaging is reflected in its press coverage. Patty Smith stated that the companys public
relations department can only attempt to set the companys agenda. Robin Hoods agenda and
specific messaging are reflected in the way they are portrayed and covered in the media. Robin
Hoods success and effectiveness are measured in many different ways with respect to the many
types of programs and events they help fund.
SWOT Helpful to Achieving the Objective Harmful to Achieving the Objective
Internal Origin

-Generally has a positive reputation as a
charitable organization
-Very well known in the city and its
relevant metropolitan areas, such as New
Jersey and Connecticut
-Enjoyed very successful campaigns in the
-The largest poverty fighting organization in
New York City
-Much of the work is behind the
scenes to a large extent
-Lack of employee visibility in the
public eye
-Perceived by some as a rich persons
charity that already has the support of
enough successful and wealthy donors
-Do not work directly with citizens
affected by poverty; rather they provide
the funds necessary for other
organizations to do this
External Origin

-Growing social media use and popularity
-Growing use of Smart phones
-Expanding the organization to New Jersey
after Hurricane Sandy
-60 Minutes program & 12/12/12 concert
-Consulting with other groups similar to
Robin Hood
-The recession- more people are in need
of help and there are less people able to
-Ineffective programming
(misappropriation of funds, etc.)

Media & Social Media Analysis
Overall, the Robin Hood Foundations website is easy to navigate. It has a news/media
section, and includes links to its social media outlets, which formulates a very well developed
site. It is relatively easy to understand and effectively presents the content being communicated.
It is very neat, organized and colorful, which appeals to Internet users and makes it a suitable
place to search for information. Right away it is apparent to viewers that the website uses
advanced techniques and is very up to date. The homepage depicts the Robin Hood logo and all
of the subsequent writing and headlines are in either blue or bright green font that corresponds
with the colors of the logo. There are also many action photos and pictures on the site, which
make it very aesthetically pleasing to the viewer.
4 main tabs comprise the homepage: The Problem, Our Approach, Our Impact, and Take
Action. It is very simple and straightforward, which is an advantageous factor because people
will be more likely to make use of the organizations website. Furthermore, on the homepage
there is a large banner that reads TARGETING POVERTY IN NEW YORK CITY. Thus,
visitors are instantly aware of what the organization fundamentally represents. There are other
additional sections that are presented on the homepage; however, they are not as noticeable as
the main four. These smaller tabs reveal information about news, programs, initiatives, and ways
to donate.
Scrolling down a bit, the visitor can see all of the recent news, such as the organizations
efforts to help Hurricane Sandy victims, and posts from the companys Tumblr and Twitter
accounts. There are also links to the organizations Facebook page and Google+, although there
are no direct posts or quotes visible on this page. These links are easy to find and are constantly
updated so that viewers are exposed to the most recent news and information. This is significant
because it allows for visitors of the site or reporters to follow the progress of Robin Hood
through social media outlets, which are a great way to keep readers informed of important details
and information about the organization. The social media forms that Robin Hood uses
(Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Google+) are all extremely popular, especially with
younger people, and are essential to its organizational success in the media. Robin Hood uses
these channels to connect with its publics and can even receive feedback from users who
participate. The companys social media posts are very interactive and include everything from
photos, letters, and links to information about how to donate. After analyzing this portion of the
website, it is clear that the Robin Hood Foundation relies heavily on social media. This makes it
easy for others to stay informed and get involved. Reporters or journalists would find it helpful
when looking for news or recent information about Robin Hood to cover. All of the
organizations social media tools are presented and publicized by the website, which is a useful
facet for reporters as well as potential donors.
In terms of news and media coverage, Robin Hoods website has a News tab in the upper
left hand corner. However, the tab is fairly small and is most likely difficult for viewers or
reporters to locate right away. Compared to the aforementioned 4 tabs, this tab does not stand out
and fades in with the rest of the website. Despite this, the news section proves very informative
and up to date. The first highlight was submitted within the last week and was a letter from the
Chair of the Board of Directors writing to update readers about what the organization has been
up to. They also provide quarterly progress reports and updates regarding their initiatives,
activity and developments. All of this information is delivered in a straightforward manner and is

relatively simple for visitors or reporters to find.
Although the website is generally useful, there are a few small barriers to making it more
useful. The first barrier is that the News tab is relatively small in comparison to the other
sections. It is a very useful and valuable section for users of the site, however, not all visitors
may notice the tiny icon. People who glance over the website and do not find it are missing out
on vital information and are not exercising the website to its fullest extent. Another barrier is that
at times the website can be slightly overwhelming, as there is a lot of information present and
some readers may be discouraged from reading the dense information that is under each tab. On
one hand, an organization needs a comprehensive website that is full of detail and description;
however, this much information could be excessive and may deter readers. The final possible
barrier is that the website may be too advanced for older generations to understand and use.
There is a heavy reliance on social media as a source of information and older generations may
not be familiar with these more modern channels. The Robin Hood Foundations website is very
dependent upon their Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages and that may put off the companys
older supporters from using the site. A more equal balance between social networking sites and
traditional forms of news may involve making the website more applicable and appealing to a
wider audience. However, use of the website and social media sites is very popular with the
majority of its audiences and Robin Hood has succeeded in attracting tens of thousands of
followers on its various forms of online media.

Conclusion & I nsights
After further analysis of The Robin Hood Foundation, it was decided that working for the
foundation would be a very rewarding job as well as a fantastic and fulfilling opportunity. The
foundation is very organized and efficient in following its mission, which is crucial in
maintaining a successful nonprofit organization. According to Patty Smith, the PR department at
the Robin Hood Foundation focuses on increasing awareness of the foundations efforts and
success stories. For example, Patty told us the story of a 13-year-old boy in Bedford-Stuyvesant
who was able to go to a highly reputable school free of charge and receive a great education. He
continued to one of the best high schools in the country and was the first in his family to break
the cycle of poverty, all thanks to Robin Hood.
Robin Hood is also responsible for organizing and executing special events for the
foundation, such as its annual benefit dinner at the Jacob Javits Center and concerts like 12.12.12
and Robin Hood Rocks. Smith states that she enjoys working for the foundation because shes
making a difference in peoples lives, not just selling a product or service. Working for a
nonprofit organization like The Robin Hood Foundation would be a great experience for a job
after college.
Throughout this case study project we were able to gain abundant perspective into the
management and operations of Robin Hood. Robin Hood is a major nonprofit foundation that
does great things in New York City and the surrounding area, and our group really was able to
gain a lot of insight into how this particular nonprofit foundation works in terms of its upper
level management and more importantly about the inner workings of its public relations
functions and department. We also were able to gain a lot of perspective into the breadth and
depth of the work that they do for impoverished New Yorkers. Patty Smith, the managing
director for events and communications for Robin Hood, was extremely instrumental in helping

us to understand not only the inner workings of the Robin Hood Foundation and the great things
they do, but also of the public relations industry and what it takes to succeed as a public relations
professional. Overall, we really enjoyed learning about such an amazing foundation and what
they are doing to help eradicate poverty, and how they are working with public relations to do

Works Cited
12-12-12 Sandy benefit to be aired on 34 outlets. (2012, December 3). Retrieved from The
Huffington Post website:

The robin hood foundation. (2012). Retrieved from

Serwer, A. (2006, September 08). The legend of robin hood CNN Money, Retrieved from

Smitko, K. (2012). Donor engagement through Twitter. Public Relations Review, 38(4), 633-635.

Smith, B. G. (2012). Public relations identity and the stakeholderorganization relationship: A
revised theoretical position for public relations scholarship. Public Relations Review, 38(5), 838-
845. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.06.011.

Smith, P. (2012, October 29). [Telephone interview by E. Smith].

Watson, T. (2012). The evolution of public relations measurement and evaluation. Public
Relations Review,38(3), 390-398. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2011.12.018.

Yaxley, H. L. (2012). Exploring the origins of careers in public relations. Public Relations
Review, 38(3), 399-407. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2011.11.014.


Interview Information
Interviewer: Emily Smith
Interviewee: Patty Smith, Managing Director for Marketing, Communications and Events for the
Robin Hood Foundation
Phone interviews, October 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm and December 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm

What primary services and/or products does the organization provide?
What is the organizations market share and who are their primary competitors?
How many communications employees does the organization have?
SWOT or challenges/opportunities facing organization

What is the organizations public relations/marketing/advertising budget(s)?
What current PR campaigns are they running?
Who are their key target publics?
What are the objectives and primary strategies for a particular campaign?
How important is writing in your career?
What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?
What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?
Did your education prepare you for working in PR? How?
What has surprised you the most about working in PR?
What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?
How has PR changed since you entered the field?
How does technology affect your daily work?
What professional organizations are you involved in?
Whats your most and least favorite part of your job?
How does the organization deal with planning? Are there standing plans and/or one-time plans?
What types of tactical plans do they use? such as events, newsletters, etc.
How well do practitioners identify the PR?
Goals and Objective the PR team has
What strategies does the PR team use in order to complete their goals and objectives?
What are the companys vision and values?
Does Robin Hood have an online press release kit?
How are the companys objectives measured?
What are some potential opportunities and threats?
Do the goals of the company correspond with its reputation?
Has the company ever experienced any crisis situation regarding ethics?
If you had to pick three words to describe Robin Hoods values, what would they be?
Its function/s inside the organization; major priorities for PR function
Use of outside counsel/PR firm/consultants - Tell us about hiring the PR agency.
Education/training of practitioners/Professional affiliations/professional development
Where do PR functions fit in the organization?
Critique of effectiveness of PR functions

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