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Archive for March, 2011

UO athletes hang up their jerseys for community involvement

In the last three months, University of Oregon athletes reached out to the surrounding communities and connected with local schools for their non-profit organization called O Heroes. The players put their competitiveness aside in order to help with fundraising events and volunteer at various elementary schools.

In January of this year the athletes participated in a fundraiser called Dance Marathon, in which they danced for 12 hours to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. The fundraiser was a campus-wide event and proceeds went to the children and infants unit at Sacred Heart Hospital.

The “Polar Plunge” was another fundraising event for the O Heroes, which took place in February. Athletes from the football and women’s lacrosse team participated in the event by handing out soup and hot chocolate to the brave plungers. Proceeds from the event went to Oregon’s Special Olympics.

On Mar. 2, Jamesha Youngblood, track and field star, developed a program called “Are you Smarter” during Read Across America Week that allowed fourth graders to compete in a trivia game with athletes from the O Heroes program. Before the game took place, the athletes traveled to eight elementary schools across Eugene and Springfield and participated in reading programs throughout the day. The last elementary school, Adams Elementary, was where the trivia game occurred.

The UO athletes have made tremendous efforts fundraising and volunteering in the community, which sets a bar for the new athletes to come. Participants of the O Heroes program are setting a great example for the kids in the community and are teaching them to make a difference. I am interested to see what other events they will create in support of other non-profit organizations.


Image provided by Google Images.




Blazers get involved in fundraiser

I came across an article that discussed the efforts the Portland Trail Blazers are making to help raise money that goes towards aiding Australia. The country was affected by massive floods and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Patty Mills, currently a player for the Blazers, is from Australia which is why he decided to get together with his team to start a fundraiser and raise awareness of the devastating event.

Mills has been involved in many events to support the fundraiser such as going to various businesses across Portland to take pictures with fans and sign autographs. He also made an appearance at a woman’s basketball game at the University of Oregon with LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum to promote the t-shirts he created specifically for the cause.

The Blazer is not only making a great effort to raise money for the cause for his country, but he’s also connecting with his local communities and raising awareness about an important issue. Mills is also gaining positive publicity for himself and for the Blazer team as a whole. He has gotten other Blazer players involved, which helps when promoting the shirts and running events to raise more money.

When celebrities or professional sports players involve themselves in some sort of charity or fundraiser, it seems as if more people are willing to donate and support the cause. If the Blazers can use their fame in order to gain more support and raise more money for Australia, they should definitely take advantage of the opportunity.

A small look into sports PR

I came across a blog by Mike Tokito and other numerous articles about the Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gaining a large amount of negative publicity because the team isn’t doing as well as it has been in its previous seasons.

The media seems to highly criticize Spoelstra as if he is the only one to blame for the losses. Aren’t the players the individuals that are supposed to win the game? The coach can only do so much, such as think of a few plays, so the rest is up to the players to implement the tactics to win the game.

With the amount of publicity coaches in the NBA receive, it would be hard to keep up with all of the criticisms and accusations that the media generates. Some can handle the spotlight and others can’t, but it seems Spoelstra can handle himself pretty well when it comes to interviews about the consecutive losses.

Coming from a public relations perspective, Spoelstra should continue with taking any sort of criticism and using it to his advantage by using the criticisms as motivation. He should accept the fact that his team has been on a losing streak, but to move forward and keep working hard to get back to winning again. In any sort of interviews he should avoid seeming frustrated with his team to prevent more negative coverage. All the coach can do is generate ideas about how he can improve his team in the future and relay his thoughts to the media whenever they are addressed.

Fundraising for Junior Achievement

In April 2010 I helped with a fundraising event that was partially sponsored by Pacificorp, which is a power company with one office located in Portland. The event helped raise money for the organization called Junior Achievement.

The event took place at a bowling alley called Hollywood Bowl, located in Portland, where numerous companies bowled and donated money. Each company had a specified time slot in which they were to bowl and bring their donations. For Pacificorp, at the end of the bowling event, various awards were given out to bowling participants.

Some of my duties in the event included checking in bowling participants, collecting donation money, generating different ideas for award titles, handing out awards and handing out free prizes. Overall the event was successful and Pacificorp managed to raise over $3,000 for Junior Achievement. The company also matched the donations given by the employees, so the total amount the JA organization received was over $6,000.

If I was involved in the process of generating the event, I would not only give participants the opportunity to donate and bowl, but in order to raise more money I would create a silent auction. I would ask various types of companies across Portland to donate items or services to the auction where participants could bid money in order to purchase the items. The items would include a voucher for a hotel in downtown Portland or a coupon for dinner for two at a five-star restaurant. All of the proceeds from the auction would go to the JA fund.

I haven’t had much experience in fundraising or working in event planning, but with the little experience and knowledge that I do have, it has allowed me to generate ideas to contribute to fundraising events that could possibly be used in the future.


What to do during a social media crisis

I read this interesting blog post by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund that provides eight steps to take when dealing with a social media crisis.The internet can be tricky so when a crisis arises, it’s good to know the correct actions to take in order to diffuse the situation.


The eight steps include:

  1. Recognize the issue.
  2. The website where the crisis took place should be where the company responds.
  3. Take responsibility.
  4. Create a FAQ sheet.
  5. Create a discussion forum or place for people to comment.
  6. Communicate with concerned individuals offline.
  7. Inform your team.
  8. Learn from your mistakes.

Each of these steps is important when dealing with a social media crisis, but understanding how to implement them is even more imperative. If I were to ever become a social media intern, I would not only have the knowledge of how to use social media to benefit an organization,  butI would also keep in mind the steps to implement when social media goes wrong.

Some companies make the mistake by missing a few of the steps, such as taking fault for the issue because they are worried about ruining their image. I feel if a company can take fault for any errors it makes, I can trust that company more than one that denies any blame. During a crisis a company’s image may be tarnished, but can always be rebuilt if it leaves room for improvement and communication with its key publics.


Image provided by Google Images.




Non-profit PR

One of my career interests is non-profit public relations and reading a blog post by a woman named Windy Hovey, allowed me to gain some insight on what nonprofit PR involves.

It is useful to read experiences from people who were once in a similar position as I am right now, a soon-to-be college graduate seeking an opportunity to work in the PR field. One of the things Hovey mentions in her post are the relationships you build with people  in order to gain more support for the organization in which you are working for. She emphasizes the importance of those relationships because they are significant in making an organization successful.

I have very little experience working with a non-profit organization, so it is very helpful to read Hovey’s experiences and learn the types of projects and tasks that I can expect if I work for a nonprofit organization in the future.

My interest for nonproft PR only grows when I read other people’s experiences in the field and read about how they have been successful in improving the world. The satisfaction that can come from enhancing communities across the globe would be unimaginable.

Reading Hovey’s post allowed me to learn what is important when working in nonprofit PR, such as building relationships with clients, sponsors, professionals and donors. Also, I learned some of the many tasks involved in projects such as organizing fundraising events, creating PR campaigns for events and incorporating social media in order to make an organization visible online. I’m sure working in nonprofit PR is difficult and a lot of time goes into projects and campaigns, but to see how the end result changes the world would be well worth the effort.


Image provided by Google Images.

Success in a PR campaign

In order to prepare myself for a future public relations career, I have been reading lists of tips from PR professionals about how to be successful and obtaining knowledge from my college courses. So far I gained a good amount of insight and a little bit of practice in generating public relations campaigns. Being a rookie, I can always use more tips and advice so it was helpful to come across a blog post by Ford Kanzler that gives tips about how to be successful when creating a public relations campaign.

Problems are always going arise in the process of building a campaign and the post gives great advice on how to deal with the issues when working with team members and clients. Kanzler lists seven keys to success to help PR practitioners communicate with team members in order to produce a strong campaign.

With each tip, Kanzler breaks down different areas of a campaign where communication could be lacking and gives great advice on how to involve different people every step of the way. The tips are very useful to know for individuals starting out in the PR world and it’s good to know communication and organizational skills. Knowing these skills will allow for better relationships between people working on the campaign and when working with clients.

I have learned that team work is essential when working in the PR world and with a team comes working with different types of people, so it’s important to learn how to handle working with various types of personalities in order to accomplish the end goal.

Image provided by Google Images.

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