In 1956, the Institute for Public Relations was founded as an add-on organization to PRSA on the basis that research needed to be more prominent in our field. But the basic research this organization was founded on would be unrecognizable compared to the rigorous research studies conducted today.
This month, IPR celebrates our 65 years—our sapphire anniversary—of offering free research that matters to the profession. I don’t think we should undersell the free part. To provide resources and research to an entire field without a fee or a paywall is a noteworthy accomplishment. We wouldn’t be able to do that without the generosity and support of our Trustees and their organizations, the IPR team, industry partners, and our financial supporters.
Naturally, I researched “sapphire anniversary” to learn the symbolism of this anniversary. The blue sapphire symbolizes trust, loyalty, and integrity. I think IPR has embodied its purpose throughout these 65 years with these three qualities in mind by building trust in our work, sustaining loyalty to our industry, and leading with integrity every step of the way.
IPR has significantly grown in the past 25 years, both internally and externally. Today, we have a full-time president and CEO. We built five new Commissions and Centers of Excellence. We have hired additional team members (even though we are still small). We have doubled the size of our Board. We publish more research today than we ever have with more than 800,000 unique visitors annually to our website. And we’ve risen amidst game-changing factors, including the internet, social media, and mobile phones, just to name a few. Throughout this, IPR successfully kept up and anticipated the needs of our industry.
As we reflect on the past 65 years, we look ahead to the next 65 years. Public relations professionals can’t be successful without research and data. Every great plan conceived today must be accompanied by great research. Our society depends on communicators to change the world. Even in the past couple of years, understanding research and communicating about it is critical for societal behavior change for the good, such as decreasing COVID-19 transmission, increasing vaccine uptake, fighting climate change, improving mental health, and advancing equity.
IPR is committed to anticipating and reacting to the changes in the field to help serve each and every one of you. We want our field to be stronger and see the reputation of public relations continue to improve. We are passionate about the work we do.
Throughout this month, we have some great programs in store for our 65th anniversary (and swag in our actual store with proceeds going to IPR). We encourage you to participate in our IPR Give Day on October 26, our official birthday. We can’t do what we do without your support, and we hope you will celebrate with us. Cheers to IPR!
President and CEO
Institute for Public Relations