Community PRojects


Professor Aashish Kumar, Project Leader

Professor Aashish Kumar, Project Leader

This past Friday I was honored to be a part of a day-long workshop at Hofstra involving about a dozen nonprofit organizations who came to the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication to learn.  They were there to find out how they could be helped to promote their services more effectively through the use of audio/video digital media, public relations tools and social media platforms, and ultimately to build capacities to sustain these activities within their organizations.  I presented the PR/social media session while my colleagues, Professors Aashish Kumar and Mario Murillo, showed the 30 participants ways in which grassroots organizations all over the world are using innovative techniques and technologies to advocate for their causes.

The workshop, “Electronic/Social Media for Community Advocacy” led to the announcement of a new longer-term partnership with Hofstra faculty and students for select organizations who wish to build self-sustaining capacities so they can better communicate. Those attending were invited to submit proposals and several will be selected to receive training and guidance over the next few months.

What the event reinforced was this: time and time again we see nonprofit organizations struggling to get their messages out there. Some need basic instruction on how to use social media; for example, most in the group didn’t know that Twitter and Facebook posts could be written and scheduled in advance using their existing platforms or through software like Hootsuite.  Some organizations want to add video to online and offline advocacy efforts but lack the expertise to use what is relatively simple technology like iMovie and MovieMaker. What they lack are resources, budgets and trained staff.  This project, supported from a grant by the Long Island Community Foundation, will help us to help them.

These are ideal projects for graduate students looking for summer internships or capstone projects, or even undergraduates who seek real-world experience with their own internships.  I’m hoping to recruit students to help these organizations.  The good work they’re doing is worth our time and support.  Your thoughts?

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37 responses

  1. This is a great workshop. I just finished my internship working with nonprofits and the company bases its image on various social media sites. The non profits suffer because there is not enough people that want to good things to help people out. The nonprofits I just worked with really were great causes and would do anything to help them raise money and awareness.

    1. sorry this is Shea professor Morosoff

  2. Since Non-profits are usually strapped for cash, it’s no wonder that they are unaware or unable to use specific PR and social media tools. Any efforts to help them do so are a wonderful thing in my opinion. In fact, I know several people who do pro bono work for non-profits in addition to their paid full-time jobs because they like to feel that they are using their PR skills to give back in some way.

  3. I absolutely love this idea! It is a win-win situation for both students/graduates/interns and non-profit organizations! Students can hone their skills and get valuable experience and organizations can learn how to improve their online presence and get their name out there.

  4. When I hear about PR work, I rarely hear of work for non-profit organizations. I think this conference was a great idea because life is a continuous learning process for anyone that is at any level of their profession. For students we have to learn about press releases, press kits, etc, and for those that are already in the field or are in need of a good public relations campaign, they need to learn more about social media, which students have essentially grown with.

  5. This event is a remarkable idea. I think that all too often individuals think about non-profits in terms of donations and neglect the fact that they need top-quality PR teams. The fact that Hofstra requires its PR graduate students to implement a PR strategy for a non-profit speaks volumes to the importance of pr work for these organizations. More universities, pr firms, and even indivdual practictioners should really follow suit.

  6. I hope that this workshop helped all of the non-profit organizations because they are working for great causes that help people. I think that interning with a non-profit organization would be a humbling and important experience. I think it would help change some people as well as help the develop new skills during an internship. I would be honored to work or intern with a non-profit organization because I have always been involved with different charities and philanthropies. The usage of social media and learning proper public relation skills can greatly advance the amount of people they can reach and help people learn about the different causes they support.

  7. Kimberly Muoio | Reply

    This workshop was great because it’s giving opportunities to more than one party. These non-profits are learning how to get their name out there and expand themselves which is extremely important today. Students are also able to get real-world experience by helping these organizations achieve their full potential. This working together of both parties results in growth for both the student and the organizations.

  8. This was definitely a great workshop for the non-profit organizations that need help gaining media attention and general social media skills. In our technology class this semester we are all assigned to a non-profit organization. Part of our job is to evaluate their existing social media outlets and to create social media platforms that they do not already have, but could be helpful for them and their organization. Hopefully our hard work pays off!

  9. What an excellent opportunity for non-profits to learn more, most of them are not aware of the tools available to get exposure. Within my PR 107/ Campaigns class our client is Literacy Nassau and currently we are helping them create a social media campaign that will attract more volunteers to their program. They had Facebook and twitter but they weren’t utilizing these tools adequately. I think Hofstra is doing a great job, its important to share resources and time with others but especially to organizations that are committed to helping others within the community.

  10. Alexandria Alicea | Reply

    Working for non-profit organizations is a perfect way for a student and or new employee to get some great experience. It’s almost like living in a house that you’ve built on your own; it’s easier understand and appreciate the outcome of your work when you’re able to really see all that has gone into the project. Really diving in and being hands on is much easier for organizations than an established company in my opinion. Everyone is learning and figuring out the best way to create and organize together, really giving a first hand look at how things operate. For a student, it’s great to have a non-profit organization on your resume just because it shows that you’re dedicated to the work you do and not just the profit of the outcome. Everything is always a learning experience and in knowing an organization is still starting out gives its employees the opportunity to be heard and their opinions really taken into consideration.

  11. I think this workshop is a great opportunity for non-profit organizations. Social media is a very useful tool and its important to use it. Non-profits aren’t exactly equipped with the right people or technology to work on social media. Non-profits need to be active on social media especially for all of the work they do for the community. These workshops are very handy and I’m glad Hofstra is taking the time and putting together workshops in order for non profits to be more familiar in that field.

  12. I think that this event was a great opportunity to provide nonprofit organizations with techniques to better their public relations. It is important for the nonprofits to have an understanding of the methods that are available to them to better their company. Nonprofits have a harder time getting this type of information because of lack of staff or funding, so it is beneficial for them to receive this presentation.

  13. I feel that being an expert in all areas of social media is extremely important, especially for those PR companies. The workshop was a great idea because i feel like it not only created opportunity but it also encouraged communication and learning techniques that these companies can use to stay in better contact with their costumers. It is great to see that non-profit organizations are taking the next step and are trying to put forth effort to better their company.

  14. Kendall Berman | Reply

    I think that I have mentioned in the past that public relations professionals should do some pro bono work. It’s great for experience, resume building and doing something for the greater good.

    I just created a LinkedIn account and one question it asks is “How would you like to volunteer your time?” And then it has a list of various causes. This could be a great tool for both the P.R. person looking for something to do on the side and a great tool non-profits can use to find someone willing to help. I’m all about helping out a cause I care about!

  15. Catherine Benny | Reply

    I think it’s important for all businesses and organizations to learn how to use social media, especially nonprofits that don’t have a really big budget to launch a full scale advertising or PR campaign. This class has really opened my eyes to how social media and other communication devices can be used as promotional tools to get the word out about a product or service.

  16. Katherine Hammer | Reply

    I think that it is very important that all organizations learn about how to use social media. Social media is a growing field and it is just going to keep evolving, and organizations need to keep up with that pace. I think it is very beneficial and great that Hofstra helped out these non profit organizations that did not understand how to get what they needed out there. Having students help intern for these organizations will benefit both parties involved. They will both get more skills to help them move forward, and continue to move with the fast pace changing world.

  17. This workshop is an excellent way for both organizations and students. It’s beneficial for organizations because they are learning new ways to reach their publics in innovative and creative ways. This is also worthwhile for students because they have the potential to gain internships or experiences with this organizations that can help build the foundations of their careers.

  18. Avalon Bohunicky | Reply

    I think that Hofstra’s effort to reach out to nonprofit organizations to educate them about different social media platforms is very commendable. This helps to set up future internships for Hofstra students, which would be beneficial for the organizations and the students. Social media has become a fundamental part of public relations, and it is essential for these organizations to know how to use it to advocate for their causes. This new connection between Hofstra and these nonprofits initiates many new opportunities for the employees of both, as well as the university’s students.

  19. I think that its smart for non profit organizations to get involved with schools like Hofstra to help them learn about different social media platforms. Non-profits mainly get their funding from spreading awareness of the message they are behind. We are now living in the social media age where everyone has social media accounts. I’m sure there are many people who would be interested in assisting non profits and now that they are taking the steps to get their organizations out there, a change should come.

  20. It is so exceptional that Hofstra is reaching out to these nonprofits to educate them on the different social media platforms that can help them build a larger community around their works. This would be an excellent internship or capstone for students and can be mutually beneficial for both non profits and students.

  21. Francesco Vivacqua | Reply

    These non-profit organization always do good work. Getting their message across, to people who who are unaware of the organization is vital to the success and outreach of the program. It is a good thing that schools like Hofstra do a good job in teaching students how to use digital media, so that struggling organizations are able to receive help from students who are well equipped to do this job.

  22. Olga Varnavskaya | Reply

    There is no doubt, that such educating events are great help to the non-profit organizations, as they are struggling to get their messages out there. In my opinion, this project is a great initiative which will be mutually beneficial for both sides: non-profit organizations need PR service, and the interns need real-world PR experience.

  23. It’s very important for all organizations to have an understanding of social media and the various ways it can be used. Social media evolves every day and we need to know how to keep up. This partnership is going to be mutually beneficial for the nonprofit organizations as well as the students involved. The organizations will learn about an important pr tool and the students will get hands on learning experience. For the work they do, nonprofit organizations deserve all of the help and recognition they can get.

  24. I currently intern at the national center for an early childhood education/literacy nonprofit organization, and I feel like I’m viewing first hand just how important leveraging the power of social media is to nonprofits. We are constantly developing and expanding our social media efforts. In an environment where there may be severe budget limitations for PR, social media is invaluable for getting messages out there. I think that this is a great project. Not only is social media extremely important, but the creativity, flexibility, and possibilities that come with social media campaigns is easily one of my favorite parts of working in PR so far.

  25. Yejide Collman | Reply

    I think this a great opportunity for students to get involved with non for profits who need help with public relations. It allows them to develop hands on experience in the field. I think that it reinforce the importance of becoming an expert in advancing social media and public relations tools as it provides a platform to educate and to lead in the growing opportunities for public relations professionals.

  26. I think this is a great thing that Hofstra is doing to get involved with local non-profits and help them with their cause. I also think setting up internships with them would be amazingly beneficial for both the organizations who stand to profit for hofstra’s student’s unique skill set, as well as for the students who are looking to get some real life experience. I know personally I would be very interested in looking into an internship with one of these organizations!

  27. Brittany Witter | Reply

    I think is it really important to help nonprofits as much as we can. They have such limited resources and knowledge on the changing media outlets and how they can benefit them. I think if more university around the country can hold events like this on their campuses more nonprofits will benefit with can benefit all the communities that the nonprofits are trying to help.

  28. Devon Hambrecht | Reply

    Being involved with a non-profit organization for my PR 107 class at Hofstra, I have personally learned the struggles that they face with getting their message out. The organization i am currently working with, called Literacy Nassau, does not utilize social media as much as they should. They have a person who works to maintain their social media sites, but they do not do it properly and thus do not gain any new followers that would help them spread their message. Even working with the organization, they are reluctant to let us post on Literacy Nassau’s Facebook/Twitter and won’t follow the advice on easier ways to utilize social media for the better. They don’t have enough resources to do this, and gaining interns would greatly help in their struggle to properly use these various social media sites to increase awareness of their organization.

  29. I think this is a great program. Non-profits sometimes have to cut corners in order to achieve their goals. It seems that with partnering with Hofstra University they will no longer have to sacrifice in the social media department. Social media has grown to be an essential tool for many organizations. Social media informs and updates in an efficient way. The students here at Hofstra University are learning useful skills that will take into the real world and they can now start with this program. Perhaps other schools will follow suit and allow students to use their knowledge to help others.

  30. I think that it’s important for all companies, non-profit included, to have an understanding about social media today. Social media has so many benefits, and is able to reach a massive amount of people with just a “post” or a “tweet.” I’m so infatuated with it, because it is so new, and I look forward to seeing how it grows and changes the industry. I admire what this workshop did for non-profits and hope it was beneficial to all.

  31. Kerri Tortorella | Reply

    Giving back to the community is so important and can be done in a number of ways. I’m interested in learning more about the organizations that participated and projects they are looking for people to undertake. Please update us as these develop!

  32. It seems it is always harder for non-profits because those that understand what they’re doing know they can be making money. I agree with that last paragraph, this is a great opportunity for graduate or undergraduate students. It can be a win-win situation. Students get real world experience, and also do some good by helping a non-profit, and the organization get the help they need. With some resources, and more importantly someone with experience or knowledge, one of these organizations can get the word out through the simplest platforms

  33. Reading this post makes me wish I attended the workshop on Friday, but had prior engagements. I thank God that social media was created and now it’s an essential for everyone including non-profits. Good thing today’s generation is so savvy in this field. Like LaChele Prophet mentioned, the course PR 264 is doing something similar to the workshop, a class that I am also enrolled in where students are assigned a non-profit organization to recommend techniques to help send out their message and do other remarkable things like build a clientele. I am glad the workshop was a success and I will be looking forward to signing up in the future for my capstone project.

  34. I previously had an internship with a non-profit organization whose main priority was to help businesses and or individuals get on the social media. You would think that every company and or person already has social media accounts but it’s quite the opposite. Many businesses, especially non-profit, do struggle with the new technologies the world is transitioning through very rapidly. Kids these days grow up with it so most of them are very tech savvy. It’s hard for an older CEO or president of a company to learn this, hence why they hire people. This workshop was an absolutely great idea, bravo Hofstra!

  35. I am glad to see the progress of non-profit organizations. It is great to hear that they are now receiving knowledge of new tools they can use to spread their messages. It is important for every organization to be up-to-date with the new technology that is available to the online world. In our PR 264 class, we are learning the same lessons that these non-profit organizations just learned so in the future we can all team up and help each other progress.

  36. LaChele Prophet | Reply

    I think this workshop was great because many non-profit organizations are not aware of all the tools out there to help get their message out there. We are doing something similar to this workshop in our PR 264 class where we are assigned a non-profit organization and have to recommend techniques to help get their message out there. I hope everything works out for all those involved because you’re right, the good they do is worth our time and support.

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