As the semester winds down, and we pull together the last few details for our event tonight, I think I speak for the entire MorphPR team when I say that this campaign has been one learning experience after another.
Our capstone public relations campaigns class is designated as a service learning class, and each group was paired with a local nonprofit organization in the Baton Rogue community. Our group was paired with Connections for Life, which is a year-long program that helps women who have been incarcerated transition from dependence to independence.
The service learning aspect of the course made it completely different than others classes we had taken to date. Previously, we only worked with hypothetical situations. We would study cases or practice writing for imaginary clients, but with this campaigns class, suddenly we were able to see the real world application of everything we have learned.
Here are a few pieces of advice for future campaign groups. These are some of MorphPR’s biggest takeaways from this class.
Do not bite off more than you can chew. We quickly became invested in our client’s mission and wanted to do everything we could to help them. We developed grand ideas, encompassing all of the communications help that Connections for Life needed. However, it was not realistic to try to do everything in a few months. Which brings me to…
Pick one goal and stick to it. It is tempting to try to throw in other random pieces of communication that you think will benefit the client, but if you try to do it all, you will either become totally overwhelmed or the quality of your work will suffer.
The real world is totally different than the school world. In the real world, working with a real client, what you do matters. In class, if you mess something up, you might get a bad grade, but you can move on to the next thing and everything is alright. When working with a client such as a nonprofit, its reputation is on the line. Each goal, objective, strategy and tactic will affect the public’s perception of the organization. This was especially true for us because Connections for Life works with women who have been incarcerated. This is a sensitive topic, and if we had poorly represented Connections for Life, it could have affected the organization’s future.
Working with a nonprofit can be extremely rewarding. Working with a nonprofit can be a rewarding experience. It allows you to feel as though you are making difference in the community.
This blog post was written by Kelli Griffin. She is the MorphPR writing director and a senior double majoring in public relations and accounting. View her digital portfolio here and follow her on Twitter here.
Civic engagement and social responsibility are industry buzzwords and aspirations of every brand. At Morph PR, coursework completed at the Manship School of Mass Communication taught us all about both of these important principles. Large corporations and brands exhibit social responsibility in a number of ways to set them apart from others in their fields. Civic engagement and social responsibility foster trust with a brand’s publics and with the community as a whole.
At Morph PR we want to communicate our client’s social responsibility to the community in hopes of fostering civic engagement. This ultimately leads to a better community for everybody.
A New York Times article defines civic engagement as “working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.”
At Morph PR a large part of our job is assisting nonprofits in community building, and Connections for Life epitomizes social responsibility. Louisiana women are incarcerated at an alarming rate, and the organization rehabilitates these women to ease their transition back into society by providing them with a structured environment teaching them important life skills, such as personal financial management. Women who enter the Connections for Life program are much less likely to return to prison than women who do not receive help transitioning to independence.
Connections for Life reduces the rate in which women in our state go to prison. The program also keeps women employed in the thrift store for a full year. That work experience is significant after the transition. An employer can see that the program participant can work and be reliable. During our campaign we want to reach out to local business owners. Private businesses need workers, and the participants in the program need jobs. One way we plan to build community is by fostering these mutually beneficial relationships.
Another goal of this campaign includes incorporating the thrift store with the Connections for Life brand. Not only does the organization provide a benefit to the community in rehabilitating, but also the program serves the city with a thrift store. Providing affordable furniture, clothing, and house appliances help build community. When residents of Baton Rouge understand the Connections for Life brand and how it helps the community, residents can naturally assist Connections for Life in continuing to serve the community.
Amber Mason is a senior PR major. Follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.