Musings of a PR Professional

Finally finished!

We just finished editing our video for Safe Harbor! It’s about three minutes in length, and looks good! It’s not the most complex video in the world, but I think that any more editing or effects would have taken away from the woman’s story and thus the point of the video. I really like our final product. I think it is perfectly moving so that the audience will really appreciate her story, but it also sheds light on how much Safe Harbor can do for a person. I’m glad that we were able to get the point across that Safe Harbor is a very important organization that has the ability to change a person’s life for the better, and I hope that it motivates people to call the organization if they, or someone they love is a victim of domestic violence.

It took a little while to figure out what we were doing with the editing program, but once we got the hang of it we were able to get the editing done relatively quickly. It looks really professional, and I am excited about being able to share it with our class on Thursday. I also hope that Safe Harbor likes the video, and that they will find it useful.

Looking back over the entire semester, what really sticks out in my mind regarding this project is how lucky we were to be able to actually go to Safe Harbor and speak to a domestic violence survivor. By being able to do so, I felt I became much more connected to the organization which ultimately motivated me to really take this video seriously. I wanted to give them a final product that speaks to the genuineness of the organization. It is unfortunate that we were not able to stick more closely to our project proposal and do two videos (one for raising awareness and one for fundraising). But, I think it is almost better that we were able to focus all of our effort and make one really good video.

Overall, working with a nonprofit was actually a lot more rewarding than I thought it would be. For me, doing this project was more than just a grade. I felt like I was really contributing to something bigger and more important than myself, which was an awesome opportunity that this class afforded me. Despite all of the challenges that we faced, everything was well worth it in the end.

Safe Harbor Update

Looks like it’s time for another Safe Harbor update! As a class, ee have a number of things in the works at the moment for this organization, and I am involved in two of them. The first is the Pepsi Refresh grant that I blogged about a few weeks ago.

We are working together as a class on winning the $25,000 grant. Last week in class we worked together to create a list of audiences that we will reach out to in order to gain votes for our cause throughout November. We also determined what media channels we would use to reach these different audiences. We decided to use:

  • Email list-servs that we have access to
  • Safe Harbor’s list of emails that they have access to
  • Our own and Safe Harbor’s Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • Our own personal contacts that we can communicate with in person and online
  • News publications in the upstate
  • Clemson’s newspaper The Tiger
  • The website

Knowing this, we determined what type of press materials we would need to best reach each audience. So, yesterday in class we split up into groups and actually wrote these press materials and are now just waiting until November to tweak these and start sending them out!

The second thing that myself and two other women in my class are working on for Safe Harbor, something I mentioned briefly in a previous post, are two videos for the organization. One video will aim to raise funds for Safe Harbor and the other will attempt to raise awareness about the organization.

We developed a project proposal to outline what we plan to include in each video. The fundraising video will most likely include people talking about how easy and rewarding donating in as well as what different dollar amounts could mean for Safe Harbor. The awareness video will focus on testimony from a victim of domestic violence that has been saved by Safe Harbor. In the proposal we also included how we will dispense these videos to the public. We plan to put the videos on YouTube and market them through Safe Harbor’s blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.

Now, we are just waiting to hear Safe Harbor’s feedback and beginning to get started on outlining story boards so we know exactly what footage and materials we will need for the videos.

So- here we go!

The Beginning: Working to improve Safe Harbor’s communication

Safe Harbor is a domestic violence shelter that serves Greenville, Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee counties. In addition to their shelters, Safe Harbor has a 24 hour crisis line and provides counseling, legal advocacy and transitional living arrangements for women starting a new life. And all of these resources are free.

This semester our public relations class is teaming up with Safe Harbor to help improve their communication strategies. In order to get a better understanding of Safe Harbor and what we would be able to help them with, Samantha Tucker, Director of Development and Julie Meredith, Director of Volunteers and Communication came and spoke with our class.

If asked, I’m sure people would overwhelmingly support the cause to end domestic violence and offer shelter to those who have fallen victim to it. However, after listening to Samantha and Julie, it is clear that the social stigma surrounding domestic violence is a huge obstacle that Safe Harbor faces every day. It is hard to rally the public around an issue that is rooted in shame, so they need help raising awareness and raising funds for their organization (and clearly these two needs go hand in hand).

So, keeping these goals in mind we were given the opportunity to ask Samantha and Julie questions about Safe Harbor, their communication strategies now, and how they could be improved. After this discussion and armed with information, our class has come up with 3 ways that we will be able to help Safe Harbor increase awareness about domestic violence and their organization and raise funds. These three projects are:

  • Two videos. One will have the goal of raising awareness about Safe Harbor and will target potential clients of the shelter. The other will have the goal of fundraising for the organization and will target potential donors.
  • A plan for improving their social media practices and Safe Harbor’s website.
  • A PR/marketing plan for how to spread the word about a charitable fashion show being help for Safe Harbor in February. Designing useable marketing materials, such as fliers and invitations, will also be included in this project.

I, with two other women, will be working on the video project. It is my sincerest hope and intention to give Safe Harbor, at the end of this semester, a meaningful, well thought out, and professional quality video. I think it will be challenging, but if working to prevent domestic violence isn’t a challenge worth facing, I don’t know what is.