Kara Kennedy, Director of External Affairs of Samford University’s Brock School of Business, shared some of her personal experience in the field of Public Relations.
She then moved her focus to work with the American Red Cross in Washington D.C. It happened to be that her move brought her there during the same time the Twin Towers were hit on September 11th.
Working for the Red Cross meant being on the same page for the mission of the company. By working for a non-profit, one has to examine the mission and its focus so that as employees you don’t deviate from the core vision.
The Red Cross’s top categories are disaster relief and blood drives, and this is because these things bring in the most public relation.
One struggle she mentioned was with the public lacking knowledge how the disaster relief fund works for the American Red Cross. The money in the fund for a particular relief, is to be used solely for that particular cause. Even if there is money there when another disaster hits, more fundraising must be done for the individual disaster.
Going off the topic of non-profits are fundraisers. Events held for particular non-profits have an end goal of public relations, not for raising money. For the most part not much money is really even raised at events, so as long as the mission and vision are being portrayed, good public relations will come.
She encouraged us to get to know the media on a personal level. They’re just like us, we’re all humans, and we all want to be relational and they’re not all out to get us.
Kennedy emphasized the elements of a communication plan, which involves a mission and a vision. Public Relations is a part of this communication plan.
Social media is something every speaker has touched on, with the importance of it being strained. She told us that our p.r. campaigns have to be integrated with social media, and if we aren’t using social media, others are talking about us anyways.
By using social media we are able to engage customers in conversations about our brand. One example of good use of this is Starbucks.
She rounded off the discussion with open questions for the class and shared with us that she still works in non-profit along with her current career as the director of external affairs.
Kara Kennedy on LinkedIn
Kara Kennedy’s University Profile