We’re busy wrapping up more than gifts here at Prosper for Purpose — we’re also wrapping up the year. Our offices will be closed Christmas week so #TeamProsper can spend time with loved ones. But before we go, we want to share what we’re grateful for this year.
Our clients inspire us whether they’re transforming their communities or changing the world. They are purpose-driven people leading companies and nonprofits, consultancies and educational institutions. We choose our clients carefully and they, in turn, challenge us to bring our best each and every day.
We continued to live our motto of using ‘communications for a better world’ by helping these clients achieve social and environmental impact by building relationships that matter. In 2017, these relationships were built through strategic storytelling, branding and fundraising, mixed with social media, event management, and much, much more.
While the U.S. and the world saw some setbacks this year in terms of global sustainability and social justice, we are encouraged to be part of a rising tide of business as a force for good. We believe any setbacks are sure to be temporary as we raise our voices and increase our efforts around issues that matter.
As a two-year member of the B Corp community, Prosper is proud to be one of more than 2,300 Certified B Corps from 50 countries and more than 130 industries working together toward one unifying goal: to redefine success in business in terms of people, planet and profit. We at Prosper have added a fourth term: purpose.
At Prosper, we practice a servant leadership model of management because we know the best leaders are those who help others be their best. In the day-to-day, this looks a lot like friendship. Everyone has a seat at our table, everyone has a voice. We were honored to receive “Team of the Year” award at the PRSA Cleveland Rocks award banquet earlier this month. We can’t wait to see what is to come for our team in 2018.
We recently completed our annual PDPs (personal development plans). As we plan for 2018, we will be figuring out how we can best support and empower each other to meet our goals, both inside and outside of work. To us, Prosper for Purpose is not just a company, it’s a mantra.
How Agency Life Helped Define My Career Path
Public relations is one of the few majors that can provide you with endless career paths upon graduation. Nearly every industry imaginable has a need for public relations services, allowing students and professionals almost limitless options when it comes to choosing a career.
This summer during my internship at Prosper for Purpose, I had the chance to experience social media management, client research, PR writing and blogging, and media pitching. I even populated an entire website with content. Working at an agency gave me an idea of just how broad the field of public relations really is! For some clients, I strictly focused on social media, while other clients needed assistance with compiling media lists or identifying industry influencers.
Some days were more overwhelming than others and my project list always seemed to vary, but overall working at an agency proved to be a beneficial experience to really show me what PR is all about. Team Prosper has a combination of nonprofit and business clients, allowing me to touch accounts from different sectors and learn more about the various facets of public relations.
If you are a student struggling with where to go in the field of public relations, an agency internship may help you define your career path. I was able to add PR writing pieces to my portfolio, I published blogs (like this one!) on Prosper’s website, I conducted research for clients, and worked with PR software to build media lists – all new experiences for me! I also had the chance to sit in on team and client meetings, allowing me to see the business side of agency life in real-time. I attended client photo shoots, media preview days, and listened to weekly phone updates with clients. I learned about retainers and billing, project management, and the roles of account managers.
I still may not know exactly where my career path will take me after graduation, but working at an agency has allowed me to see that there are more job options than I even thought possible.
Bill Gates is quoted with saying, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR.” While there is some debate about whether or not Gates actually uttered those words, there is no doubt it is sage advice.
The success of your business depends on how well you communicate with your customers. This is why we (and other PR agencies) exist. But agencies aren’t just competing against each other for your business. We are also contending against in-house PR teams. So why is an agency a better hire? Here are five ways hiring an agency benefits your organization.
More Bang for Your Buck
We hear it all the time: internal hires are less expensive. Are they though? When you hire an employee, you only get the experience of one individual person. When you hire a PR and communications agency, you get the knowledge and skill of an entire team. With Prosper for Purpose, that means more than 80 years of combined experience (wow, that’s a LOT of experience!). To match what we bring to the table you would need to hire a strategist, a writer, a designer, a social media guru, a publicist, a researcher, an event manager and more. Does an internal hire still sound like the less expensive option?
Handling PR internally requires finding, hiring and training the right employee. PR agencies, on the other hand, have the ability to quickly ramp up capabilities when necessary. On any given day you may work with everyone from the intern to the CEO. Our team is always up-to-speed on the latest and greatest trends not only in PR, but also in a variety of industries. As we like to say, we wear as many hats as experience permits and our closets can hold.
We’re Masters of Messaging…and More
Good PR practitioners are good writers. Prosper’s tagline, “communications for a better world,” is based on the belief that words have the power to transform relationships. We’re storytellers at heart. Creatively trying to find a buzzworthy story warms our hearts as much as the eighth cup of coffee we just consumed. But that’s not all. Our strengths range from brand development, strategic planning and crisis communications to media relations, fundraising management and organizational training. Simply put, we offer a large suite of services. Pretty sweet, huh?
Good communications start with good networks. Hiring a PR agency with a team of connected people can greatly increase your chance of connecting with the media and consumers. PR is what we do all day, every day. We’re pros at pitching. We know which reporters cover the nonprofit sector and which journalists prefer to write about consumer products. And we can make that knowledge work for you.
A PR agency can become an extension of your company, while also providing independent perspectives. We can help you build a brand, launch a new product or make your business stand out in a crowded market all while remaining impartial. It’s easy for business owners to become die-hard fans of their companies and believe everything about it is newsworthy. Sometimes an outsider’s outlook can help you see things in a different light.
These are just a few of the many reasons why a business should hire a PR agency. If you’re looking for a communications firm, give us a call. We’d be happy to talk to you about our capabilities and how we can help your organization prosper.
Emily Kovach (left) and Maggie Burke (right) discuss the value of good internships.
MB: Emily Kovach is ending a year-long internship with Prosper for Purpose and heading to Kent State University to complete her degree. So today we’re talking internships. And as Emily and I can attest, while incorporating one into your already busy college schedule can seem stressful, the RIGHT internship can be a vital piece of professional growth.
EK: I agree. When you’re lucky enough to find a business that hires interns within your field that is looking to expand your knowledge, go for it!
MB: Not only does it add to your growing resume during your years at a university, but I feel it’s an essential piece of the puzzle to validate that what you’re studying is something you’ll enjoy beyond the textbooks.
EK: When I joined on for Prosper for Purpose, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do when I “grew up.” I think anyone hiring an intern should keep in mind that many students aren’t 100% sure where they’d like to end up afterwards. My top take away from the internship this far with Prosper is how important it is to make business contacts. I’m still in a limbo of whether I’d like to go into business for myself or not and I really appreciate Lorraine (Lorraine Schuchart, Prosper founder and CEO) showing me how rewarding it is if you’re willing to put in the hard work.
MB: That is one thing that really irritates me when some of my peers were taking internships to simply go on coffee runs and grab things from the printer.
If I can give any advice to businesses thinking about hiring interns, make sure you’re really honing in on their fresh ideas and young perspective on projects. If you’re wanting an intern to come into the office to do meaningless work, then just hire someone to do that and let that student find growth elsewhere. Sure the title may look good to potential employers in the future, but if they don’t have the skills and abilities that they need to succeed in the business, they’ll not only feel defeated, but then question whether or not they’re actually good at what they set out to do.
EK: Yes. It is important to take someone under your wing and build upon their strengths but also work on their areas of growth as well. I feel I’ve grown a lot with this internship. I’ve taken on projects that I wouldn’t have had a chance to do elsewhere and I’ve been able to think outside the box to actually add my own flavor to some of the work. It’s very rewarding.
MB: In my first internship with Rebecca Adele PR & Events, she didn’t hold back. She wanted us to learn and she thought we would learn best by first trying it ourselves and then going over the errors with her side-by-side to actually see what processes work best, especially with social media.
Now, I’m not saying hire someone on to do your social media just because they’re young. I think that’s one mistake that many employers are making. There is so much more that goes into a strategic social media plan than simply posting about how great your company or product is and leaving the audience to decide for themselves. It’s important to have social media as a dialogue, not a monologue. I’m very much interested in the social media marketing aspect of PR and I’m glad Lorraine has trusted me with our clients, but it didn’t come easy. I had to work at it and find sources outside of the classroom and internship to perfect my strategy.
EK: You’ve hit on a very good point for students to realize when looking for internships. Knowledge doesn’t stop there. Look to other things in your area to expand your excitement for what you’re studying. Webinars, networking events, listening in on panels of experts in your field.
MB: It takes a lot to bring on a young professional for an intern, but it is one of the best experiences I’ve had in my early twenties and I wouldn’t trade any of them. They all varied based on what was asked of me and I thank everyone who believed in me as a young college student to come in and help.
EK: I couldn’t have said it any better. Internships are so important for young professionals today and I encourage everyone to take part in a few before they start applying for jobs.
Ever since I was a young girl, I knew I was a little different than my peers. Recess in 1997 generally consisted of my group of girlfriends getting together near the swings to dream up their future weddings to Jonathon Taylor Thomas or Leonardo DiCaprio. (We were all still reeling from the loss of Jack. There was enough room on that door, Rose.)
And then there was me. I would often tune-out their romantic banter to dream of the business world. I imagined myself strutting down the streets of New York City. A coffee with eight sugars in one hand, a Lisa Frank briefcase in the other. I’d get my to swanky corner office where all five of my assistants, the Backstreet Boys, would greet me with a smile and I’d type away on my purple Apple computer and talk to important people all day.
My mother’s favorite stories to tell of me often involve the way I used to sit, poised and professional, having a faux conversation with myself in front of a mirror or any window that would grant me a reflection. “Hello,” I would start, “My name is Maggie. What is your name? Would you like to have a meeting? Would you like to meet my mom?” Although this story is simple, it is also significant.
During my early childhood, I admittedly had no idea that I would find my passion for public relations some years down the road. I firmly believe that public relations found me.
It wasn’t until my college years that I truly knew that public relations was the best choice for my career path. And that path to PR has graciously landed me here at Prosper for Purpose. Professor Feldt, you were right – find somewhere you spend time doing what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
As the Account Coordinator for Prosper, I have been given the duty of handling all of our social media accounts for a number of our clients, as well as maintaining a great image of who we are on all platforms. All of those hours finding beautiful glitter graphics and crafting the perfect “About Me” section on MySpace in high school is paying off!
I am so thankful to be given such a great opportunity in an honest, considerate and growing company right out of college. I look forward to working alongside this team of brilliant individuals and I’m eager to see my personal growth with Prosper for Purpose with their help.
So, I’d like to dedicate my first ever blog post to my six-year-old self with big dreams and high hopes. Although you have traded Lisa Frank for Louboutins, you’re on your way gal. Congratulations and good luck!
*Side note: Backstreet Boys, if you’re reading this, I’m still accepting applications.