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?