Putting down the textbook and applying what you know

Hello readers, this is Sarah again. As I promised, I want to outline how the PR program gives you the opportunity to put your skills and theoretical knowledge into practice. Below, I outlined two different classes where we got to do this.

Marketing and Research in Public Relations
In my second week of school, during the “Marketing and Research in Public Relations” class, we were put in groups and had to choose a non-profit organization that we would work with over the course. My group members and myself chose to work with ACCESS Charity, which is a student run organization based out of Toronto. ACCESS aims to provide educational opportunities and other needs to children and young adults in third world countries, while at the same time inspires local youth to become leaders and make a difference. We chose ACCESS because one of my group members knew that the organization wanted to bring one of their chapters to Western’s campus and form a club, so we worked with our contact to come up with a plan to help them achieve this goal. The assignment required us to have an initial meeting with our contact to discuss goals and current problems facing the organization. Our group did this via Skype because our contact lives in Toronto. This was my first experience having a professional meeting over Skype, and it went very well. Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor if you can do meetings via Skype, as it worked for us! The rest of our assignment required us to come up with a communications plan that would outline what ACCESS needed to do to become a Western club.

Comments on this project: It was beneficial to begin the professional relationship building process, and we created a realistic plan that our contact and instructor both liked. For this project, we didn’t get to implement the plan because we did that in another class. See below!

Introduction to Public Relations/ Communications in the Non-For-Profit Environment

I won’t go into total detail about both of these classes yet, but instead give you a general idea of how these classes relate. In semester one, in our “Introduction to Public Relations” class, we separated into groups and chose a NFP organization and created a full communications plan for our chosen organization. In semester two, which I am still in now, “Communications in the Non-For-Profit Environment” requires us to put our plan from semester one into action. My group is working with Hutton House, which is an organization that promotes and supports persons with disabilities through learning and life enhancing programs, including employment programs, fitness programs and other opportunities for socializing and networking with others.

Comments on this assignment: I have learned a lot during the time spent on this project. Luckily I have a really hard-working and dedicated group who worked very well together to come up with a realistic and strong communications plan. It is very beneficial to gain experience in professional meetings, as we had to meet with our contact at Hutton House on several occasions to discuss the status of our project. My favourite part about this project is seeing the written plan come into action. The challenge for this project is understanding that we cannot reach every goal we set out to reach, and we can only control as much as the organization lets us. Non-profits may have more security and privacy control than other organizations, so you need to be aware of that.

I have really enjoyed being able to work as a group and actually perform the tasks and projects we read about in our textbooks. It is one thing seeing an example of a communications plan and reading the definition of a “goal” and “objective”, but it comes nowhere close to developing a plan from scratch.

Next post: Using your student status to network


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