A few days ago I caught myself thinking back to a senior-year conversation with a fellow PR major at UGA, and it struck me that I’m doing the very thing with my career I claimed I never would.
My friend and I stood in the hallway discussing career aspirations, including our ideal entry-level position – where, what type of company or size agency, what type of clients and industries we liked.
Having just returned to school from interning at a fabulous agency, I knew what direction I wanted to pursue after the toss of the graduation cap. I loved (and still do) the fast-paced, challenging work environment an agency provides, with new and different experiences around every corner. I felt meant for that type of work and wanted to return to it. I didn’t know exactly where, but I knew I wanted to start at an agency.
I was sure of one thing though as Katie and I lingered outside our class – I did not want to do nonprofit PR. No way, no how. Begging for money? Count me out.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
First of all, I needed to truly understand how nonprofit PR works and the role fundraising plays. Communications supports fundraising initiatives; the two are not one in the same. That support can be anything from drafting and creating a sponsorship packet to providing reports. As a member of the communications team you mostly likely won’t be making the sponsorship phone calls. Instead, you provide important, much-needed materials to help the people who do. In particular, our agency excels at cultivating and building networking relationships to help connect nonprofits to potential fundraising sources. In the end, you work as a team to advance a common cause. Okay, I can get behind that.
Then there’s the more unexpected change. I discovered that working for a nonprofit was a rewarding and fulfilling part of my career. I’m not trying to get all mushy on you or suggest that we all go out and become philanthropists tomorrow, but I’d encourage every communications professional to consider adopting a charity at one point or another during your career.
We all have a passion – whether it’s music, sports, or helping people in need – and you can bet there’s a nonprofit organization out there that supports the same cause you champion. If you have the capacity, get involved. Take a 501(c)(3) on as a pro-bono client for a while, or as a volunteer opportunity in your own free time.
I know you won’t regret it. Need help getting started? Check out the Atlanta’s Finest Charities for a list of organizations in our area.
So there’s my inspirational post for the year. Now it’s back to stalking Facebook apps, perusing AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com and perhaps picking up a pair of black booties from Banana on my lunch break. All things I can get behind too!