Monday, April 27, 2015

3 Things I Learned About Non-Profit PR

(Photo courtesy of walkagainsthate.org)

Like many PR students today, entering the career world can be overwhelming in deciding what field is the best to go into. With the semester coming to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my experience in my first internship. I had the opportunity of working in development/communications at a non-profit office in Philadelphia. The main focus of my time working there was planning a major fundraiser held every year and here are some of the top lessons I learned so far:

Getting Thrifty on a Budget: While this is true for all event planning, it’s most relevant for non-profits, since the goal is to raise the most money for the cause. Research is key in finding the best possible option. Whether looking for decorations or giveaways, the goal is to find the cheapest option possible without it looking like its price value.

It really IS all about who you know: Anyone in the communications field knows that networking is a core value in being successful in any aspect of one’s career. This is especially true in securing everything from in-kind donations, to sponsorships, to any other essential resource. The concept of “getting one’s foot in the door” is often stressed. From an intern's perspective, nonprofits are also often made up of members and volunteers from major businesses in the area that offer prime opportunities for personal networking.

No idea is too small: Brainstorming is used as much as possible, because a lot of the collaboration needed for communication efforts and event planning to be creative on a budget. Even starting with a ridiculous or outlandish idea as an end goal can snowball into finding something attainable for the organization. A lot of non-profits can be on their own in establishing the best PR moves, so it comes down to plugging in differing variables until something workable can come out on top.


This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Mina Lezenby

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Networking and sharpening PR skills over the summer without the stress

(Source: commons.wikimedia.org)
I don’t know about anybody else, but networking as a student and/or budding professional is kind of nerve-wreaking. There’s the speed networking, the awkward ice breakers, trying to meet people who are way out of your league--professionally speaking of course. The other kind of “getting to know people out of your league” is for another blog entirely.

The skinny of it is that networking is hard—especially during a time when we need to decompress or work that summer internship/job we spent the last several months trying to get.

With that in mind, I made up a small list of things you can do over the summer to make the daunting task of networking and sharpening your PR skills feel less intimidating.

1.     Say “yes” to as many opportunities as possible: Sometimes, a professional connection isn’t made at a mixer or a panel discussion. In reality, we meet professional connections every day at volunteering events, while traveling and even at casual parties. Keep those business cards handy this summer--you might meet your next employer at your aunt’s yearly get-together or at your local farmers market.

2.     Read at least 30 minutes a day: It’s just science. The Chinese University of Hong Kong has proven that reading develops vocabulary, exposes you to different writing styles, and deepens your subject knowledge. It also gives you an opportunity to comprehend a topic at your own pace. All of these help build your skills as a professional and make you more articulate in your field. So go out to the local bookstore this summer and browse the titles- at the very least, you will have some great poolside reading.

3.     Keep up with the news and talk about it: It’s time to put on the 4 o’clock news and read the newspaper, because a lot of employers and mentors looks for people that keep up with the times. You don’t have to do much- just know what is going on in your neighborhood and you will excel in any future position. To help with the search for a good news outlet, I recommend theSkimm and the Associated Press News App. Both are free ways to find out what’s new in the neighborhood.

4.     Write about things you like and pitch it to a magazine: This is a fun project. Find something you are interested in, be it fitness, arts, music, spinning plates on sticks, or whatever it is, and write an article about it. After you do that, try and pitch it to a magazine or local newspaper. If you aren’t getting any bites, start a blog about it and keep pitching those ideas- persistence is key.

5.     Set a social media follower goal:  If social media is your forte, make a goal to increase your following this summer. Plan out posts, giveaways, and other promotional means to get to that goal. It’s great practice and may even have you meeting other professionals in your field.


6.     Learn a skill – If you do only one thing over the summer, make sure you are learning something. Even if it is something that is completely irrelevant to your professional future, sometimes all you need to do is follow your passion of the moment and it will have you meeting people you thought you would never meet.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kelly Armstrong. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spring Has Sprung: The Best Ways to Take Advantage of it in Philadelphia


It is a beautiful time of year, where we, as students, love to get out of our apartments to enjoy the spring weather, and what better place to do it than right here in Philadelphia! Being located right by the heart of the city is an advantage that every Philadelphian should take advantage of. There is so much to offer with so many fun things to do for both your personal and professional lives. Here are some ideas to get you outside and enjoying the spring time!

(Photo courtesy of Roosevelt Peterson Photography)

·       Cafes & Coffee Shops.  With finals upon us, some of us may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Finding a cafĂ© or coffee shop in the city where you can sit and do your work can be the perfect get away from the gloomy library. One of my personal favorites? Joe Coffee, which sits right in front of Rittenhouse Square and offers awesome beverages and scenery. It’s also a great spot for us PR students do to some blogging and networking.   

·       Philly Tech Week. Held from April 17th- 25th, Technical.ly Philly has organized over 100 events that will take place during the week that cover everything from business, media, creative, civic and access technology and digital marketing. It’s a great place to hear from media professionals through conventions and panels as they discuss the future of the industry. For those of you who plan to attend, don’t forget to dress your best and pack your business cards as it’s a great place to get your name out.

·       Food & Arts Festivals. Do you like good food and even better music? Philly is known to host some of the best food and music festivals that attract people from all over. These include the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival, South St. Headhouse Spring Festival & Manifest, Plazapalooza, Spruce Street Harbor Park and more. Each event offers its own unique menus and activities while also giving you another view of the city.

·       Parks & Recreations. If you’re sick of your indoor workouts or just looking for a reason to be outside, check out Philly’s own Fairmount Park, Kelly Drive or River Boardwalk.  All three are great places for a run, bike ride or for walking your dog. The beautiful landscapes are also hard to overlook.
For more information on the events listed above or more things Philly has to offer, visit http://www.visitphilly.com/events/spring-events/  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Breanna Fars

Friday, April 24, 2015

Managing Your Time And Stress As The Year Wraps Up


Spring semester finals have always been rough. The weather is warming up outside, and no one has any desire to dedicate time to studying. No time spent studying means stressing over feeling unprepared for finals, which, for me means wanting to relax and just watch some Netflix. That means I’m not studying and I’m feeling even more stressed. It becomes a viscous circle and we’ve all been there.

Luckily, a quick search on Google can you give you plethora of tips and tricks for managing time and stress. These are some of my personal favorites.



Schedule a time to study
This doesn’t mean just thinking to yourself that you can study for an hour at some point later, maybe. Write it down in your planner, put it on your calendar on your phone, set an alarm on your laptop. When you take the time to plan out a study schedule, you’re guaranteeing you’ll have enough time to devote to each exam. You’ll also have a way to hold yourself accountable.

Set up a strictly-work space
Trying to study in bed can wreak havoc your work goals. Since you’re already lounging in bed, it can make it easy to get distracted. On top of that, working in a space that’s meant to be a relaxing place for you can mess with your sleep schedule and stress levels. If you’re lucky enough to have the space where you live, try and choose a small area to get work done outside of your room. If not, head over to the library or the Tech center where you're forced to focus on work.

Take a break
Trying to run on all cylinders for the next week or so will burn you out. All the studying in the world won’t help if you’re so stressed you can’t think straight. So give yourself a break and do something you enjoy, whether it’s running or painting or heading to the coffee shop. Schedule it in after your study time if you have to. I’d recommend avoiding Netflix though. That Auto Playback will get you every time. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Helena Wilcox.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Five Benefits Of Informational Interviews


As PR student, we are eager to learn and do as much as we can to learn about the business and make real world connections. An easy way to get the ball rolling is to have an informational interview.  On April 1, 2015 I went to a networking event hosted by the Philadelphia Public Relation Association (PPRA) and Temple University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). The event was appropriately named Careers 101: Your Career is Not a Joke.  

I am usually not lucky but that night I just happened to have won a raffle for an informational interview with Jade Barnes, head of Marketing and Events at Shops at Liberty Place. I have never thought of conducting an informational interview but it was the best thing I could have done. I have learned some helpful tips in the process that I would like to share with you. Below are five benefits to having an informational interview:

Brush Up On Your Research Skills: Find professionals in the field that are doing what you want to do. Follow their professional journey on LinkedIn. Look into clubs and organization that they are connected with. By doing the research, you can ask the questions you want the answers to. You also want to know whom you are interviewing.

Practice Your Presentation: The informational interview, emails and thank you letter are all a reflection of you. Contact individuals in your field with professional emails. When it is time for the interview, dress the part. Show personality and interest by sending a hand written thank you letter immediately after the interview.

Write Notes and Read Them: It is great to talk to a seasoned professional but you want to utilize their advice. A great way to do that is by writing downing their most striking responses. This way you have compiled a helpful list to look back on while you build your career.

Network Network Network: We hear in school that networking is important. By having an informational interview you have the opportunity to network with the best resource a PR professional. This is your chance to make a connection and ask them to suggest other professionals to reach out to for more advice.

Internship or Job Opportunities: It does not hurt to bring a copy of your resume with you into these interviews. By simply asking, “What are you looking for in a new hire” or “What internships does your company offer” can lead to a conversation you want to have. Keep in mind; if you are networking, they can suggest other companies that would be a good fit for you.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Obioma Oguekwe.