“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
The thought of waking up at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday to schlep myself over to Santa Monica would normally have been a nightmare for me, but October 2 was different. This was my yearly opportunity to use my PR mind for good outside of the daily office setting.
Every year since 2004, PRSA-LA has put on its “Quality Time with PR Minds” event at which PR professionals come together to help non-profits tackle their communications challenges. More than 200 non-profits have benefitted since this program started, and we helped 20 of them in 2010. This year was also a particularly unique one for me, as I was able to participate in the event on both sides of the table—brainstorming as a PR professional during three sessions and attending one as a representative of my non-profit group, the Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter.
The feeling you get, knowing you have put everything you’ve learned on-the-job and in the classroom to good use helping non-profits with their communications or organizational issues, is indescribable. They are all unique organizations with important missions and enthusiastic staff, but they’re missing the PR expertise that only a professional like you can provide.
I encourage each of you young professionals to look into taking on a pro bono project every once in a while. Whether it’s volunteering at next year’s Quality Time event, lending your website skills to another non-profit or writing a press release for a friend’s start-up company, you’ll get real-world PR experience, items to add to your resume and an incredible feeling of satisfaction. It’s a win-win.
A special thanks to our very own VP Kristin Wood for taking the time to write about her experience at the PRSA Quality Time event. I can attest to it being a great event, as I volunteered last year. Please leave a comment or contact us for more information on Quality Time and the numerous volunteer opportunities available to you right here in the LA area.