Tag Archives: Non-profit organization

Meredith Foster

Meredith Foster of Girls Scouts of America gave a presentation to the Principles of PR class at Samford University. Mrs. Foster is a project specialist for the Girl Scouts of America.  As a project specialist she writes press releases and manages their social media.

Mrs. Foster presented some pointers on the aspects running a non-profit. Some of the things included researching other blogs about other nonprofit organization. Having creativity was a strong point made by her she stated that having success in that career path.

Her last focus, which stuck with me the most, was that we should build portfolios. When you are looking for a job having a well-developed resume is key. This is can decide whether or not you will be hired.

Meredith Foster Presentation Take Aways

Friday March 2, Meredith Foster of Girl Scouts spoke to the class regarding public relations for non-profit businesses. While her presentation was full of advice there were three things that I think were most beneficial to remember.

  • As a public relations professional if you work for a non-profit business there will not be a large budget. This is important because you will be asked to “wear a lot of hats”.
  • Another key point was to know your audience. Meredith understood who was reading her social media posts and strategically planned posts at times that would recieve the most views.
  • Lastly, building a portfolio was a point she emphasized. She could not stress enough how important it is to be able to prove you work to possible employers.



Stay above 30,000 feet

Within the field of PR, there are agencies, corporate companies and small boutiques. However, the non-profit organizations should not be overlooked. Kara Kennedy, the director of external affairs at Samford University’s Brock School of Business, advises future PR professionals to go back to the basics. With years of experience in the non-profit world, here’s Kennedy’s advice.

Be upfront.

  • In order to have an effective communication plan, PR professionals must be straightforward. There’s no room for beating around the bush. When a crisis occurs, it is important to remain professional. In other words, be ready. Stay in constant communication with your boss and fellow employees, staying up to date on the team’s crisis communication plan.

Be honest.

  • Very similar to being upfront, being honest adds to one’s integrity. PR campaigns should be sincere and respectable. For example, the Tylenol crisis in 1982. At the time, Tylenol was the leading painkiller medicine in the United States. However, seven people living in Chicago were reported dead after taking this medication. Rather than lying or blaming another source, Johnson & Johnson took the responsibility by recalling the product from the entire country. Today, Tylenol still remains reliable. The company’s honesty saved the brand’s reputation.

Be smart.

  • In the words of Kennedy, “Hunt ducks where ducks are.” Know your audience and potential customers. Coming from a non-profit professional, “Be choosy about where to spend even little amounts of money.”

Be Innovative.

  • I used to associate “change” with negativity. Change is NOT a bad  thing. Try replacing the word “change” with “revolutionize” or  “transform.” Doesn’t that sound refreshing? In order to stand out, PR  professionals must think outside the box.

Be social.

  • Building your brand goes hand in hand with building relationships. Engage with customers, the community and opinion leaders. Growing relationships with the media can also benefit PR companies. As we’ve heard, social media helps build relationships, but you cannot rely on these tools. Go above and beyond sending a few tweets.

For more on Kennedy, check out her Linkedin profile or follow her on twitter–@KaraKennedy.

Run it like a business

Kara Kennedy graced our class with a visit packed with relevant and modern information, especially if you have any interest in working with nonprofit organizations.  Kara Kennedy is the director of external affairs for the Brock School of Business at Samford University.

“Everything in nonprofit is based on relationships.”

Kennedy spoke of her experience with nonprofit organizations.  One thing I think all nonprofits need to remember is to “run it like a business.”  Kennedy warned against running out of money, even the best causes need to operate like a business.  She also said, “Tell your story to your constituents and tell it every day.”

Her second PR job was for the national office of the American Red Cross in March 2001.  In September, she said, “Everything changed.”  It was in this position that she was faced by some of the most intense situations in her career.  Knowing the laws of the government everywhere you go is extremely important, something she learned quickly working for the Red Cross.  Kennedy told us to build relationships with the media, because the media professionals are humans with day to day problems.  Having a friend in the media can also help in a time of crisis by coming to you for a statement or quote.

How people view your brand is extremely important, but you should know that.  Perception is 9/10ths of the law, what people perceive about you is what they will tell others about you.  Be sure that what they are telling others, is exactly what you want.

“Become excellent at what you do and don’t give up,” is the most important thing Kara Kennedy said.  If we all accomplish that, then the rest will come naturally.