Hi, I’m Meg! As the newest member of #TeamProsper, I’d like to officially introduce myself. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before heading to St. Louis for boarding school and college. I officially moved to Cleveland in May 2017 and I’ve been enjoying getting to know the area over the last six months.
My passion for purpose-driven business began towards the beginning of high school when I was a member of the National Leadership Council, a program that accepts 20 students each year to study and practice servant leadership both at home and on service trips. One of the most memorable experiences from the program was our service trip to Peru. We taught classes in Spanish in a rural mountain school and helped the community with building projects, including the construction of a community greenhouse.
Those few weeks in Peru completely transformed the way I saw the world and I came home convinced that I would work for nonprofits. During my freshman year at Principia College, I took a few introductory business courses and decided to blend my interests by studying the way business can have a positive impact. One of my favorite initiatives in college was founding the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where students can collaborate on projects and budding ideas with the support of faculty and educational resources.
Over the last few years, my professional experience has included social media management, communications, marketing, design, photography, and writing — all of which come into play in the agency environment. One of my favorite internships was serving as the communications manager for San Francisco-based B Corp, Bixbee, which provides a backpack full of school supplies to a student in need for every backpack they sell.
When I arrived in Cleveland, one of the first things I did was search for B Corps in the area. I was delighted to learn about Prosper for Purpose and even more thrilled to officially join the team in September 2017 as the production coordinator for brand and operations! In just a few months, I’ve had the privilege of working on several interesting projects in a variety of roles, giving me more exposure to the many facets of agency life. Most importantly, I appreciate being part of a company where our mission is at the core of everything we do.
Whether I’m planning an event, creating graphics, or covering ground across Cleveland to implement our strategies, I love knowing that each project enables our clients to maximize their positive impact. It’s so rewarding to turn creative ideas into tangible results, and I’m excited to be part of it.
Our 12 Months of Giving program allowed us the opportunity to work with three Cleveland-area nonprofits during the third quarter of 2017.
In July, we had the pleasure of assisting the Malachi House, a home that serves those who are terminally ill and provides them with a comfortable place to spend their final days. The Malachi House has a full-service kitchen, family dining room, living room, chapel, atrium, and incredible volunteers who help provide care to their residents in a comfortable and compassionate environment.
Our August pro bono client, Slavic Village, is a community located in the heart of Cleveland. Its rich history draws in people from all walks of life. People of all ages go to Slavic Village to experience all that it has to offer. From recreational activities to an abundant amount of housing opportunities and top-notch educational offerings, there’s something about Slavic Village that encourages people to stay once they’ve planted their roots.
In September, we worked with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Since 1994, the Conservancy has been doing wonderful work to help protect our beloved national park. Through their youth programs, volunteer opportunities and more, they truly live their vision — “Connecting you to your national park. Preserving it for future generations.”
We thoroughly enjoyed supporting each of these amazing organizations. They are doing tremendous things and we can’t wait to watch them continue to make a difference.
Amanda Gorman, the first U.S. youth poet laureate, opened the 2017 Social Good Summit with a powerful poem that included an inspiring message: “Here, in this great gathering, we do good so that the world might be great.”
Her quote perfectly sums up the mission of the Social Good Summit, an annual event held in New York City during the United Nations General Assembly week. The summit brings global and community leaders together to create innovative solutions to world problems. Passionate activists foster vital conversations to unlock fresh ideas on how to combine new media and technology to improve the lives of people around the world.
I had the opportunity to attend the Summit this year and hear world leaders discuss the progress being made to solve pressing issues, including global warming, education, refugees, violence and healthcare. Global citizens and activists focused conversations on the advancements needed to make the world a better place by 2030. Being a social activist, I was excited to engage in such powerful conversations with passionate individuals who are making a large scale impact.
One of the most inspirational speeches I heard was from two volunteers of the Syrian White Helmets, Khaled Khatib and Mounir Mustafa. The White Helmets consists of nearly 3,000 volunteers, both men, and women, who risk their lives every day to save citizens affected by barrel bombs in the war-torn nation of Syria. The organization has lost 200 volunteers since 2013 amid rescue attempts but has saved nearly 99,000 Syrian civilians. The White Helmets released an Oscar-winning documentary on Netflix last year, which provides an inside look at the devastating reality of Syria. You can watch the moving trailer for the film on YouTube.
I also had the opportunity to meet Yulu PR Founder Melissa Orozco, who Team Prosper has been working with to promote Impact Relations, the newest sector of PR based on sharing stories to help organizations create positive social or environmental impact.
Overall, the Social Good Summit ignited a passion inside everyone who attended to follow the Global Goals to make #2030NOW. Now is the time for organizations and activists to create purpose-driven dialogue to solve international problems. Feeling inspired? Check out the recorded conversations from this year’s Summit to learn more about joining the world together.
We’re finally able to wrap our heads around the wealth information we obtained from the always amazing Content Marketing World conference, which was conveniently held in our hometown in September. Immersed in a sea of orange, top content marketing minds from around the world shared with us the latest trends for delivering valuable content – from sales to social media to metrics to messaging and more.
We learned more than we could properly process during the two-day conference, but with time to reflect we now bring to you our top five takeaways from Content Marketing World 2016.
- Document your content marketing strategy. One thing that was reiterated throughout the conference was the importance of documenting your content marketing strategy. Your content strategy should be accessible, detailed and easy enough to understand by anyone. When documenting your strategy, include the architecture of your content (like website navigation or pages), the end goal of the content and how your strategy will be governed. And don’t forget about measurement! Set specific goals that can be measured to determine your ROI.
- Emotive messaging connects your brand to the consumer. Developing content that speaks to consumers on an emotional level can create a special connection with your brand and your customers, differentiating you from your peers. When creating or searching for content, put the customer at the center of everything you do. Make your customers feel good about your brand, and they’ll want to share your content.
- Thought leadership takes content to another level. A buzzword desired by most but understood by few, we learned the true meaning of thought leadership. Thought leadership is the product of your brand’s chief storytellers or evangelists, who bring your content to life. Thought leadership goes beyond the status quo to provide consumers with content that identifies new opportunities or shares exclusive insights that relate to a pain or solution.
- Hug your haters. Haters are not the problem – ignoring them is. Instead of ignoring criticism and complaints from consumers, embrace the negative comments. Good customer service is rare and memorable. By being honest and providing answers to your customers, you are increasing transparency and ultimately building trust that will differentiate your brand from others.
- Find your why. Day two of the conference kicked off with a hilarious address from comedian Michael Jr. But behind the laughs and lightheartedness was a serious message any content marketer needs to hear: find your why. Michael Jr. expressed the importance of knowing your purpose and explained that knowing your “why” will help develop your “what” in content creation.
These words of wisdom only scratch the surface of what we learned at #CMWorld 2016. Thanks to the Content Marketing Institute, who puts together the largest content marketing event on the planet, we are armed and ready to create content that matters in 2017.
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.
Top Public Relations Take-A-Ways from Cleveland Hosting the Republican National Convention
Two years ago, the city of Cleveland was anxiously awaiting the results of a bid placed to host the Republican National Convention (RNC). After being notoriously known for our failing sports teams, burning river and dubbed the ‘Mistake on the Lake’, city officials and residents were eager to redeem Cleveland’s reputation by hosting a national event.
On July 8, 2014, the city was thrilled to receive the announcement it had been waiting for: Cleveland was selected to host the 2016 Republican National Convention! Two years of detailed planning ensued and two years later, during the week of July 18, 2016, Cleveland eagerly welcomed visitors from across the country. Cleveland was still buzzing from our beloved Cavaliers winning the NBA Championship, construction projects were wrapping up and the city had never felt safer, it was a great time to be in the city!
Cleveland was the focus of the nation for a week straight. As an aspiring PR professional, my attention was focused on the PR lessons learned from my home city hosting the RNC. Here are my top takeaways:
Plan for anything and everything
According to the RNC host committee website, the city had 1,200 events planned for 50,000 visitors during the four day convention period. To ease concerns from local residents, the city planned for everything: bringing in approximately 2,500 police officers from out-of-state, releasing maps of revised traffic patterns and road closings, opening the city’s court for 20 hours a day (yep, you read that right! The court remained open from 5:00 am – 1:00 am during the Convention) and posting the RNC tipline on all highways going into the city for residents to report any concerning activity. The city even had crisis plans in place for weather emergencies, power failures and had all area hospitals on special rotation schedules. Luckily, none of these plans had to be put into action!
Use social media to communicate to the masses
According to Politico, Cleveland’s population temporarily increased by 13 percent in just four days. Local residents, business owners, delegates and visitors alike all wanted to be kept updated on any RNC happenings and the city did a great job of making sure they got all updates in a timely manner. The City of Cleveland used Twitter to keep residents informed of media releases, events and all things RNC related. The host committee created and managed the @2016CLE handle specifically created for the event. The Cleveland Police Department used Twitter to update attendees of any concerning behavior, arrests and to confirm or deny reports being made by media. According to TweetReach.com, the #RNCinCle hashtag made approximately 415,000 impressions.
Social media was used effectively to spread RNC related news and positive stories throughout the week. Images of police officers playing ping pong with attendees and dancing in fountains with children were posted alongside RNC-related coverage. Visitors went to social to pro
claim their newfound love for the city – often commenting on how kind our residents are. Social media prevailed during the RNC.
Transparency is key
During the Convention, the City of Cleveland remained very transparent about all activities occurring downtown. Whether it was confirming media reports of an arrest, suggesting lunch spots for visiting delegates or sharing information about parking – the City was sure to keep everyone in the loop.
The city hosted daily media briefings, reviewing the day’s safety report and general activity around the city. These reports were also streamed via Periscope, allowing viewers who may not have had TV access the chance to view the press conferences.
Overall, I couldn’t be more proud to be from Cleveland. Seeing delegates and visiting media post about their approval of the city proved that the city’s efforts and planning truly paid off. The rest of the nation can now view Cleveland the way locals have and understand why we hold the city so dearly in our hearts.
In today’s business world, employee volunteer programs are as commonplace as meetings, business trips and conference calls. Some of the most notable organizations have taken strides to increase their philanthropic efforts and create robust employee volunteer programs. Yet, some still question the value of volunteering.
To some, volunteering is a one-sided equation offering benefits only to the recipient of the deed. But in actuality, volunteering is just as valuable to an organization and its employees. Here’s how:
Employees who volunteer report more job satisfaction and improved morale
When someone volunteers, several things happen. They feel good about themselves for helping others. They form connections. They witness the impact of their actions, however small. When people volunteer, they not only improve the lives of the recipient, they are also improving their own lives. And when employees volunteer through their organization, they experience the same positive benefits, but with an added bonus: they feel good about where they work.
When an organization actively gives back to the community, employees feel they are working for an employer that is truly concerned with the betterment of others, and they are proud to be a part of it. They believe they aren’t just working for a paycheck; they are working for a purpose.
Volunteer programs serve as a recruitment tool for up-and-coming talent
Recent studies show that when job searching, nearly half of all millennials are more likely to apply to organizations they feel are working toward a better tomorrow. They want to work for a company with values similar to their own and have the flexibility to allow them to support those values.
With one-third of today’s workforce comprised of millennials, companies increase their chance of hiring top talent when they support employee volunteering. Not only does the company widen its talent pool, but it is also more likely to attract individuals who share the company’s values. Many times, employees serve as the ambassadors of the brand, and having employees who exhibit the company’s beliefs can have immense value with customers.
Getting involved in the community drives brand recognition
When employees enter the community on behalf of their organization, they are promoting the organization’s brand to the public. They’re showing people firsthand the company’s beliefs and values.
Additionally, employees are interacting with individuals on a personal level, and this face-to-face, human interaction leaves people with a positive impression of the brand that is more valuable than any advertisement. Individuals appreciate the organization’s efforts to enhance the community, and they are reminded that there are real people behind the brand.
While many larger companies have robust employee volunteer programs, there are simpler ways for your organization to give back. Here are a few easy ways you can make a positive presence in your community:
1. Offer skills-based volunteering, which is a great way for employees to lend their talents to those in need. Through skills-based volunteering programs, employees are matched by their specialized skills and talents with nonprofit organizations needing the help of these individuals to build and sustain their infrastructures. Examples of service may include assisting with bookkeeping, providing PR support or serving on a board.
2. Consider a company-wide, single-day volunteer initiative to encourage employees to become more involved. Employees will feel more motivated to take time off if they know everyone is involved. Plan a day to visit a food bank, homeless shelter or other organization where you can work together as a team. You’ll help an organization and individuals in need, and you’ll form stronger relationships among team members.
3. Ditch the holiday party and arrange a collection drive. Take the money you typically spend on a holiday party and use it to purchase donation items for an organization you support. Or consider encouraging employees to make a monetary donation in a coworker’s name instead of purchasing gifts.