from college is a joyous occasion and is followed by the sharp
determination to "get out there and do great things."
Well, in reality, employers
expect you to have experience before they will hire you. Then you ask
yourself, "How can I gain experience if no one will hire me?"
Preferably, you should try to complete an internship prior to graduation,
but if that door has already closed, don't fret. There are non-profit
organizations willing to accept your service and maybe provide a moderate
The important thing to
remember is that you are trying to gain experience and credentials. Of
course this won't put food on the table, but it could open up the cabinet
that holds goodies for the future. Working for non-profits enables you to
give back to your community, enhance your skills, network and gain
references all at the same time. It's a win-win situation. These
organizations are usually working with small budgets and limited staff
members. They can use all of the help they can get.
So, how do you approach a non-profit to market your services? First of
all, you need a dynamic, error-proof resume to compliment your personality
and desire to learn and contribute. Choose an organization that reflects
your personal values or philanthropy. I personally enjoy working with
programs that assist children from low-income families, but there are
always organizations working to inform the community about health issues,
educational, environmental and political matters.
Be respectful of the
director's time by calling and making an appointment, arriving on time and
being properly dressed. Sell yourself! If you're a graduate with a public
relations degree, you understand the importance of effective
communication. Deliver your message, engage in feedback and receive the
sender's feedback, whether verbal or non-verbal. If you're rejected, don't
take it personally. Thank them for their time and consideration and
continue on your journey.
Offer samples of your work so the director can see that you are serious
about the opportunity and are capable of portraying the organization in a
professional and positive light. Press releases, newsletters, print ads
and flyers are common public relations tools for non-profits and would
serve as great examples.
What do you have to lose? This is an easy way to gain experience, keep
your skills current, meet new people and make a contribution to your
community. Your profit from helping a non-profit organization can't
be measured in words.
Ferguson is a freelance Communications Specialist and
owner of PRism
Communications and Tammie
She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with
an emphasis in public relations and is currently pursuing
a Master of Science degree in Administration.
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