Communication in Non-Profits


How do I get my voice out? There is a sea of sounds more active than a New York Street in Mid Day. It’s louder than standing in the marching band during a parade. What I have to say is important, so how do I make my voice be heard?

In our society presently we have a communication problem. It’s not what you’d expect either. We don’t have challenges getting our voice out. We have challenges because it’s so easy to get our voice out. So in the Non-Profit sector how do get our goal to the people? How do we overcome Cause- Fatigue? Often a good cause is treated more like catching a cold. We only want enough to inoculate ourselves from getting it worse.

A recent article in PR News online may not solve all of these problems, but what it will do is teach you 5 habits that will be a great starting point. The first (and focus of my post) point the author makes is asking the “So What” question. So often when we are so close to the inner workings of an event we fail to see how it’s being viewed from the outside. We forget what’s motivating us to do the book work or deal with hiring policy when we forget the why. Something Non-Profits attempt to do is stir up commitment from the community, in forms of volunteers, donations and publicity. This habit of stirring up commitment shouldn’t be lost within the company. Even the CEO must dedicate time to remember why he’s doing everything. Do not grow weary in remembering and rededicating to the cause.

To check out the full article and other helpful tips check it out here!


PRSSA Prompt Response: Social Media Taught in School?


The Prompt we are given to respond to is:

“More and more colleges and universities are instilling social media and digital marketing classes. Have you taken one of these classes? What did you learn? If you haven’t taken one of these classes or if your college doesn’t offer them, what do you wish professors would teach about the digital world?”

I am not a PR major, and prior to the class I am in now, I didn’t have much involvement in social media classes. That being said I am responding to what I wish we could be taught about Social Media. One of the problems I see with Social Media is that it is one of the fastest evolving platforms we encounter. It would be as difficult to map a constantly changing and evolving dimension of our lives as it would be to predict who the next #1 Best Seller Book will come from. There are changes and adaptions and currents that shape culture also shape social media and how we interact act with it. That being said what we can learn is language and professionalism of social media.


Imagine with me for a moment that you cannot spell. It’s like being taught how to spell instead of what to spell. If we are taught a word to spell, we may understand how to spell that word, but if given a new word we may will not know how to spell it. On the other hand if we are taught how to spell, we can do any word (well lets be real, we still struggle with some).  If we are taught how to use LinkedIn or Twitter, we may know how to use them effectively, but if they ever go out of style we would be left with a skill no one needs. However, if you teach us how to be professional in social media we will be able to learn how to adapt to social medias 5 or 10 years down the road in much better ways. Essentially teach us the “how” of social media and we can learn the “what” as it comes and goes. 

Response to Taylor Burbank’s “Shutterfly”


I recently read an article by a classmate regarding the “Shutterfly” incident last week. In her article she highlights the social media response after the fact and the negative impact it had on the community. If you don’t know what happened, simply put, Shutterfly sent out an email, either on accident or on purpose, congratulating women who had not given birth on their new born baby. It seemed like a simple mistake but it generated some outrage. Something Burbank pointed out was the growing hostility over the internet and how everyone now has a voice thanks to social media. We will only see this tendency increase especially as culture continues to polarize. There seems to be less and less “grace” (if I can use that word here) granted to anyone when a wrong has happened. If there is a possibility you will offend someone, well you better just know it’s going to happen. Either cultural consciousness needs to shift (although that’s nearly impossible to orchestrate) or we need to buckle down for the long hall. Disgruntled people will continue to get more and more of a voice and the problem is that we are all in that boat.

Think briefly about the last time someone cut you off…You got angry right? Of course you did, probably followed by some not so friendly words directed at the person who did so. Now think briefly on the last time you cut someone else off…Harder to remember isn’t it? Typically We attribute our errors as simple mistakes and dismiss them while ostracizing mistakes of others.

As more and more people gain a larger voice, professionalism and crisis management plans will need to be more fully developed and constantly revised as shifts in social media culture change. Stay on top of it! 

Thanks Taylor Burbank for your insight on the “Shutterfly” incident!

Here’s a link to her article!

LinkedIn: The New Way to Find Volunteers?


LinkedIn recently expanded it’s use to include something incredibly important for those in the Non-Profit sector. There will now be a formal way for people seeking to make a difference in the world to get connected to those who can help them exercise their desire to help the world. LinkedIn will be providing a way to connect those people to Non-Profits. What this means is that Non-Profits will be able to find people seeking philanthropic avenues that can help them reach their goals. Moreover it is by location so users will be able to make a difference in their own community. The cost will be significantly reduced by 90% for Non-Profits searching through these means because the LinkedIn wants to make it affordable for those who want to make a difference in the world.

There are two problems that you may encounter at this stage of the process. The program is so new and unused that it may not yet be an efficient way to find people seeking altruistic events. The second is that smaller towns and communities may have extremely limited avenues for those people looking to help out. In little Ellensburg, you may not find ways to get involved in something you are passionate about as you may in Seattle or New York. It would be extremely interesting to see if they expand the usage of this type of networking to allow for national and international interactions as well.


Here is a link to the article for more information on the subject:

PR Graduation Tips – Something We All Need to Hear


I recently came across an article in PR News on 7 post graduation tips for PR grads. I’ll just start off by saying, I know the stress well. being plagued by what’s next and how to get there. It is important to know some simple tools we can do (and ironically the 7th tip is to not stress) in order to make the step into the “real world.” We are nervous. We aren’t sure what’s next. We hear about how it’s impossible to get jobs and that the market is in decline. So in order to combat some of those problems, we need to look to guidance of those ahead  of us to know what to do. Cleaning up social media profiles and spending time creating a professional resume won’t just help in the PR field, but in any field. More and more social media has become integrated with our lives and resumes are often the first interaction a future employer has with you. Spending time in maintenance (and let’s be honest, we can all do that a little more often) can be a make or break it tool. Often times we feel as though we must “make a name for ourselves,” but taking a posture of humility and learning from what others have done can only benefit you. No body responds to the egocentric person in the room anyway. All that you can gain from applying these tools is a better face to present to those whom you may be working for in the future. 


Check out the original article here and take some steps today!

The Ever-Evolving Current of PR in Social Media


I recently read an article in Forbes magazine on how to effectively use different social media avenues. While I can’t speak on all of the topics in detail, (and I will put a link to the article below), I thought two were too good not to spend time on.


The first was the success and importance of using Instagram rather than other social media avenues. The primary reason stated was the visual nature of Instagram over other social media sites. Taking pictures of a speaker may better promote your event rather than posting what the subject material is covering. Our current trends value these pictures because well “they are worth a thousand words”. As we in the PR field must learn, and a good fact for those inside any industry, it is important to adapt to how people receive information rather than hoping old tactics will continue to be useful.  


The second was the reaction to using social media to respond in times of crisis. Every company will face problems and issues at some point or another. In the past some companies have received tremendous persecution for responding to a crisis through social media, but as the article approached this topic it had a different idea in mind. As much as people may react to social media being a platform that makes crisis management worse, it can be a tool to help manage some of the problem. It is a tool to communicate information as long as it is not the only tool. When a company doesn’t remain transparent (especially non-profits) they are under great scrutiny, and that fact doesn’t change if they only release minimal information. Don’t only use social media, but definitely make use of it! 


For more in-depth (and professional) look at how social media should be used check out the article here.

PR and Language Barriers


Source hosts a variety of different topic fields and among those fields I chose to go listen in on a topic on language barriers and the problems educators face even among people speaking the same language. To contextualize the research, bilingual teachers are having trouble teaching Spanish speaking students who are raised from different Spanish speaking backgrounds. One student may be from Peru and another Mexico and teachers may have a hard time speaking and teaching different dialects. In essence this would a problem a teacher in Germany may face when trying to teach English to someone from Texas and Washington at the same time. How they say the words and how they form sentences is uniquely different although not incorrect.

In the PR world this is important to understand because it demonstrates the difficulty and language barriers faced in PR tactics. It’s difficult for trained educators to cross linguistic boundaries even among the same language let alone across multiple generations. It will take skill and intimate knowledge of the target audience and their backgrounds. As a PR professional you will need to accumulate resources depending on your area and field in order to run effective campaigns across multiple language barriers.