And the Time Has Come to Take a Bow

Over the past five months, I have been working hard toward a goal that seemed out of reach. I have focused all of my energy on completing a successful campaign along with five other talented individuals at the Manship School of Mass Communication. I never thought the end would finally come to this amazing chapter of my life. The sun is setting on my collegiate career.

When looking back over the past few months, working with GaitWay Therapeutic Horsemanship has been a challenging yet fulfilling experience that I will carry with me the rest of my life. As the event  director, I encountered both trials and successes of many kinds. From putting together a magnificent grand opening event to learning how to deal with difficult personalities, each moment stands out in its own way. Although 6+ Solutions encountered some bumps along the way, we were able to come together during difficult times and work as a team to find a solution.

Since my last post, 6+ Solutions has organized and executed the rest of the GaitWay dinner fundraisers and has also come together to evaluate our successes. Overall, the dinner fundraisers were beneficial in raising money, but more importantly increase community awareness in the Greater Baton Rouge Area. The last two dinners were held at California Pizza Kitchen and Mestizo. The implementation and execution varied with each restaurant. The dinner at California Pizza Kitchen required all diners to present a flyer in order to contribute a portion of their check to GaitWay. Furthermore, no other advertisements except for social media was allowed to attract customers to attend the event. Mestizo, on the other hand, was very flexible in their decision-making and allowed us to design our own flyers, display a poster at the event and promote the event through any means necessary. Even though we are still waiting to receive the final number of proceeds, 6+ Solutions is confident in the success of the restaurant crawl.

This service learning course has given me a tremendous amount of real world experience that I hope to apply in my future career. I would like to thank everyone at Gaitway and 6+ Solutions who worked so hard to make this campaign an overwhelming success. The ribbon has been cut, the funds have been raised, the graduation announcements have been mailed, and the cap and gown have been purchased. The time has finally come, and I am waiting with anxious excitement to open a new chapter of my life.

If you would like to learn more about this campaign or hear other ideas I might have regarding public relations, follow me on Twitter and Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Advertisements

Just say “Gaitway!”

While in the process of running a non-profit, there comes a time when fundraisers have to be organized in order to promote the organization and increase revenue. Gaitway Therapeutic Horsemanship is not excluded from this notion and 6+ Solutions has helped organized three upcoming events.

After consulting with Shelley Rose, Director of Gaitway, we have come to decide that dinner fundraisers were the best way to quickly raise money and gain awareness throughout the Baton Rouge community. The concept behind these fundraisers is to partner with local restaurants who have agreed to contribute a certain percentage of their night’s profits to Gaitway. The only catch is that all dinner attendees must mention our organization to donate a percentage of their check.

Our first dinner fundraising event is scheduled to take place on April 4th at Reginelli’s Pizzeria. They have agreed to donate 10% of all proceeds from those that mention our organization throughout the entire day. During this current week, 6+ Solutions is working hard to spread the word and get people to commit to attend. Since the restaurant’s location is near the heart of Louisiana State University, we have decided to mainly target LSU students, faculty and staff. Our second tier target audience would consist of the board of directors and their friends.

The best ways to target these audiences is through the use of social media, flier handouts and e-mail blasts. Gaitway has not only created an event on Facebook for this dinner but is also promoting it through it’s profile and cover pictures. 6+ Solutions has teamed up to invite as many people as possible to this event. Our creative director has designed various collateral for us to use throughout these three events, one of which is an e-mail blast. This will be sent out to Gaitway’s e-mail list, which includes the board of directors, volunteers, and family’s that participate in the program.

Gaitway's email blast

While social media and e-mail is a great way to contact all of these groups, a large amount of people that participate in this event won’t hear about it until the day of. We have decided that face-to-face contact and flier handouts on the day of event is one of the best ways to target this demographic. A flier, which has been provided by Reginelli’s will be dispersed on campus and will also be posted in strategic areas around LSU. We hope that this will catch people’s eyes on the day of the event and convince them to eat out for a good cause.

If you would like to learn more about this campaign or hear other ideas I might have regarding public relations, follow me on Twitter and Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn.

 

The Importance of Communication

As a student at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, I have learned how important it is to have good communication with both your client and your team throughout a PR campaign. This week, I have learned how important it really is, and our team, 6+ Solutions, has unfortunately had to learn how to deal with others that are not as proficient in this quality.

Over the past couple of months, 6+ Solutions has been working on planning and implementing a successful campaign for a non-profit organization. We have conducted research, implemented a social media strategy, held a grand opening event and created various visuals for these aforementioned actions. Much effort has been put into all of this work, and our team continues to strive for a successful event that will, in the end, create awareness throughout the Baton Rouge community.

Last week, our client contacted us asking if we could create copy for their website, which is currently in renovation. The only problem was that they wanted it done that same day. Since we are all full-time students, have jobs and are working with a client to implement a successful campaign, it is hard to be readily available to sit down for a long period of time to work on something without any future notice. We were unfortunately unable to accommodate her (fairly unreasonable) request.

Through this, we have learned that communication is key when trying to balance many various roles. We decided as group, to ask our client to give us a 72-hour notice for anything that she needs accomplished in the future. This will hopefully lessen the frustration from 6+ Solutions and our client and will also give us workable deadlines. The goal of having a clear line of communication is obtainable as long as each party is diligent in striving for the same goal and working together to create a successful campaign.

6+ Solutions and our client continue to work and grow as a team while maintaing optimism in the face of adversity. I look forward to the future actions our campaign may take to progress the awareness through the community.

If you would like to learn more about this campaign or hear other ideas I might have regarding public relations, follow me on Twitter or Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn.

A Bumpy Road

On the path to many great PR campaigns, there are always obstacles that one must overcome to achieve success. While the process may be tiring, the effort and perseverance of oneself and their team can produce an excellent product in the end.

Recently, I met with the rest of my team, 6+ Solutions, to continue organizing the upcoming grand opening ceremony for Gaitway Therapeutic Horsemanship, which is scheduled to occur on March 7th. Although plans for this event have run fairly smoothly, I have run into the problem of obtaining scissors for the ribbon cutting ceremony that we plan to have at the grand opening event. After calling numerous governmental offices, such as the Department of Public Works and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, I am still in the process of locating ribbon cutting scissors. All other aspects of the event have been organized, and I believe that this event will be very  successful. One of the team members has put together a media list that will be greatly useful when dispersing the press release in the next couple of days. We will follow-up with the media a day after the issued press release to ensure that they are aware of the upcoming event. Our design director is in the process of creating the e-mail blast invitations that will also be sent out in the next few days. I am looking forward to this event and am excited to evaluate our efforts. A team member has also designed and implemented a Twitter page to continue to create awareness in the Baton Rouge community and provide up-to-date statuses of our progress.

Unfortunately, we have hit another bump in the road in regards to the largest event that was scheduled to occur on May 20th. The Board of Directors has come to the agreement that the desired event is unattainable and has decided to change the event entirely to make it more manageable. The proposed idea from the Board of Directors is to host a skeet shooting event as a way to increase fundraising efforts. After talking about this proposed idea with 6+ Solutions, we have decided that since the event will be occurring after our contract has ended that we will provide suggestions and feedback, but will not be able to aide in execution.

There are always obstacles in campaign efforts, but I believe that our team is taking the necessary steps to predict and avoid any future problems that may arise.

If you would like to learn more about this campaign or hear other ideas I might have regarding public relations, follow me on Twitter or Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Building the Foundation

The past few weeks have been very busy in gaining and analyzing research, as well as beginning to coordinate the future events that are nearing. Since I am the event director for Gaitway Therapeutic Horsemanship, planning and implementing the upcoming events have become my primary focus. The first event that is in the near future is the Grand Opening of Gaitway’s new location, which is scheduled to occur on March 7. For this event, I have met numerous times with not only the Director, Shelley Rose, but also members of the Board. My previous worries about coordinating this event have weakened, since we have finally begun organizing the necessities for the event.

A guest list has been created, and since we have relatively no budget, 6+ Solutions has decided to send out invitations through the use of e-mail blasts. This is a great way to reach your audience without breaking the bank, and can also be more effective in the long-run. The food and refreshments have also been organized. A friend of one of the member’s of 6+ Solutions has graciously donated the food and will be serving it at the event.

Our main focus for this upcoming event is to gain more awareness throughout the Baton Rouge community. It is not necessarily about the amount of people that show up, but more about capturing the event and spreading the word and mission of such a great organization. Our goal is to have between 20 and 40 people in attendance, and we have already communicated with several key figures in the community, such as Mayor Kip Holden, Rep. Franklin Foil and Congressman Bill Cassidy. We are hoping that their attendance will help us gain more media attention, as well as greater credibility.

When considering the media, 6+ Solutions along with the board members have begun to communicate with various media outlets, which include The Advocate, The Daily Reveille, City Social Magazine, WAFB Channel 9, WBRZ Channel 2 and Around Town. It is unsure of who will be able to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, however; I plan on taking pictures throughout the event to send to various media that are not able to attend.

Although there is still much work to be done, I am confident that this grand opening will be a great way to kick off the campaign and bring awareness to the Baton Rouge community.

If you would like to learn more about this campaign or hear other ideas I might have regarding public relations, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

A PR Introduction

Over the past week, my campaign group and I have started to develop a new relationship with a client that is looking for proper guidance in regards to fundraising and outreach for their non-profit organization. The organization, Gaitway Therapeutic Horsemanship, is devoted to helping the special-needs community and provides professional therapy to very diverse audiences through the use of riding and interacting with horses. Ms. Shelley Rose, the founder of this organization, recently sat down with our team to express her concern and appreciation for those with special needs and how, in working with her, we can help make a difference.

After meeting with Ms. Rose, my group and I decided to brainstorm and begin to organize our ideas for coordinating events, fundraising and increasing awareness. Of course, there was one other issue that we needed to address before delving into the campaign. We needed to establish and identify the brand of our team. After an hour of consideration, we settled on 6+ Solutions, because we all felt that the six of us can contribute an infinite number of solutions.

For the campaign, I was recently given the task of formulating and executing the future events that this organization wishes to host. The first of these events, is a Grand Opening of their new facility which will become their main center of operation for therapy classes. The client has expressed a desire to invite key political figures in the Baton Rouge area, one of which is Mayor Kip Holden. A group concern that arose was the issue of creating enough media outreach to entice the mayor to accept the invitation. Since Gaitway Therapeutic Horsemanship is not widely known in the community of Baton Rouge, it would be hard-pressed to expect a large media presence. As a result, our group suggested that instead of focusing on media attention, the main focus of the event should be the families and current participants of the program.

The second event that Ms. Rose has expressed interest in doing is a fundraiser that partners with local restaurants to contribute a percentage of their profits of one day to their organization. Our group thought that this was a great way to generate awareness as well as raise money. Our plan is to utilize social media, personal contacts and blast e-mails to reach out to individuals to participate on the day of the fundraiser. One of our top restaurant choices is California Pizza Kitchen because they have an established history of helping schools and nonprofits generate funds through donations.

The final event, which is also the largest event, focuses on fundraising and outreach to gain support throughout the Baton Rouge community. Gerry Lane Cadillac’s location has already been offered for the event and Ms. Rose has begun to brainstorm possible activities and concessions to provide. There is still much more research and investigation that I must do for this event before further details can be given.

Although this is only the first week of the beginning of our campaign process, I am already excited and optimistic about our group’s drive and ability to perform and provide success for Gaitway Therapeutic Horsemanship.