By: Dominique Becnel

At Louisiana State University, the public relations professors stress to all mass communication students the importance of adhering to the PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values. This statement presents the core values by which all public relations professionals strive to adhere. These values include advocacy, honesty, independence, loyalty, fairness and expertise.

According to the Public Relations Society of America, expertise refers to the process of acquiring and responsibly using specialized knowledge and experience. In addition, expertise means advancing the profession through continued professional development, research and education. Lastly, expertise in the field includes building mutual understanding, credibility and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.

When dealing with any of our clients, Elevate follows some basic public relations advice from Entrepreneur: “understand the potential of public relations to manage perceptions, create your master narrative, focus on owned media, use social media–but use it wisely and be prepared for a crisis.”

As a new public relations firm with its first nonprofit client, Capital Area Special Olympics of Louisiana (CASOL), we realize that we do not have all the answers. However, we have the determination and tools to find all of the answers. By consulting with two women who are successful public relations professionals in the nonprofit sector, we were able to glean all of the information we need to be able to increase awareness, acceptance and action of and for the CASOL brand.

To learn more about what it takes to successfully fundraise for a local nonprofit  we consulted Chelsea Moreau, the event coordinator for The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter. By consulting Moreau, we learned how to differentiate between Capital Area Special Olympics of Louisiana and the national Special Olympics organization. To reach our fundraising goals, she advised us to stress to our audience that there is a need right here in the Capital Area. Most importantly, Moreau taught us that fundraising is “person to person.”

To gain insight on how to host a dynamic event, we consulted Chrissy Dupuy, public relations director for Cancer Services of Baton Rouge. Dupuy informed us of they key reasons why nonprofits put on events: to raise awareness, to engage key audiences and to raise funds. Her advice for event planning was simple but clear: sweat the small stuff, expect the unexpected and take risks but manage your expectations.

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In addition to the public relations professionals in our field, we are constantly inspired by the success of nonprofit organizations. A 2009 article by Entrepreneur featured Starfire Sports’ founder Christopher Slatt. Slatt utilized his expertise in the startup sector to build a successful nonprofit organization that provides a place for underprivileged youth to play soccer. One thing that Slatt learned was that to be successful, you have to be bold.

Though our company is new, all of the members of the Elevate team strive to be experts in the public relations field. To accomplish this, Mashable recommends staying up to date on all of the latest trends, ideas and industry news; sharing what you know with others and building on your expertise in order to convert your knowledge to sales and grow your personal brand.

At Elevate, we strive to be experts in our field. However, when we require knowledge we do not have on certain subjects or areas of public relations, we will not hesitate to find the answers to satisfy all of our clients’ needs.  

Works Cited:

John, Sunil. “Crafting Your Story: Public Relations Expertise For Your Business.” Public Relations. Entrepreneur.com, 22 March 2015. Web. <http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244219>.

Payton, Susan. “HOW TO: Become an Expert in Your Industry.” Social Media. Mashable.com, 27 October 2009. Web. <http://mashable.com/2009/10/27/industry-expert-how-to/#4DTeZZEHpskX>.
Tice, Carol. “Expertise in the Field.” Starting a Business. Entrepreneur.com, 7 October 2009. Web. <http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/203648>.

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