Use your PR skills to help your community in 2020

By Sidney Rider

View 2020 as an opportunity to support your community with your PR skills.

The situation

There is no shortage of challenges and uncertainties we face in 2020. This year affects everyone.

The health of our community, racial inequality, struggling small businesses and a lack of job opportunities (including internships) took over the 2020 narrative. 

When we look at the situation around us, there’s a feeling of helplessness. How can we, as students, help? 

While we can’t create a miracle vaccine, save every mom-and-pop shop or end systemic racism in a day, we can take a smaller step to make our community better. 

Here’s how you can help:

  • Find something you’re passionate about

To help your community, look into what sparks your interests. 

  • Are you passionate about social issues in the community, like civil rights or poverty alleviation? 
  • Are you passionate about music or the art scene? 
  • Do you have an apartment full of house plants?
  • Does the thought of animals without a loving home keep you up at night?

Odds are, there’s a charity or small business that aligns with your passion and could use help.

  • Review your current skillset

Now that we’re well into quarantine, take this opportunity to look through your resume. 

Think about your past class experiences and internships. Did you enjoy your last social media internship? Can’t get enough of media relations? Did you like writing blogs in last semester’s class?

Transfer those skills towards issues you are passionate about.

Now that you know what you’re passionate about and what skills you have, let’s take a look at what businesses or charities you could help. 

  • Choose a business or charity

Small businesses and charities don’t run on big budgets like McDonald’s or Google. Most of the time, they have one person doing all the marketing. This one-person system could use help.

Research different organizations around your area that cater to the things you are passionate about. 

Remember the house plant example? A local florist needs help getting their social media channels started.

Remember the civil rights example? A local non-profit needs press around the social programs and issues they advocate for in the community.

Here, you can find an opportunity to reach out and assist that business or charity with the help they need in 2020.

  • Reach out

Now that you know what organizations you want to help, it’s time to reach out. 

  • First, find out who their leader or marketing person is.
  • Second, think about how you want to send your message (through LinkedIn or a cold email).
  • Third, personalize a message or email for that person and market.

These small organizations will hardly ever refuse free help. Even if they say no, this is still a good network opportunity. They could even reach out to you in the future if a job or internship opportunity opens.

  • Understand the impact

Not only have you done what you can to support the community, you also

  • Have more portfolio pieces
  • Strengthened your PR skills
  • Expanded your network
  • Have a conversation piece for your next interview

This year is tough on everyone but if you can spare five hours of your quarantine per week to help, together, we can help make a difference in our communities.

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