Seven students enrolled in the PR Tactics class at University Wisconsin Whitewater have teamed up to help a local nonprofit organization with its public relations and marketing efforts particularly surrounding the use of social media.
Tomorrow’s Hope is a Jefferson-based nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering health related research, education and support for other organizations that have a direct impact on people in southeastern Wisconsin affected by Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other life-limiting illnesses.
Barb Endl, president of Tomorrow’s Hope is the only paid employee of the organization.
“I had been a volunteer for this organization for 12 years before the board of directors decided to make it a full time responsibility,” Endl said. “The board and I have been planning these events for a long time, but it’s the marketing side that we need help with. These students have introduced me to a whole new world, and the assistance and help they’ve given me is truly invaluable.”
The students started working with Endl in February, said Ann Knabe, instructor of UW-Whitewater’s PR Tactics class.
The students designed a social media strategy for Tomorrow’s Hope that utilizes different aspects of social media including, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr to promote organizational events and engage Tomorrow’s Hope benefactors and supporters, Knabe said.
“The experience we’ve gained by working with Tomorrow’s Hope has been amazing,” said Jessica Loizzo, a sophomore public relations student. “I feel like we are learning so much, and working with this organization gives us an opportunity to actually apply what we’ve been learning in the classroom.”
Anna Fagerli, a junior international studies major, agreed saying it was a great feeling to work with an organization like Tomorrow’s Hope.
“Not only are we applying the public relations techniques we’ve learned in class, it’s also a great volunteering opportunity,” Fagerli said. “We’re gaining tangible experiences and it’s great doing things for such a great organization.”
According to Ann Knabe, at least one student will intern with Tomorrow’s Present for credit this summer.
“It’s a win win situation for the students and for Tomorrow’s Hope,” Knabe said. “The students are applying what they’ve been learning in the classroom to real world experiences they can use as resume builders and work experience.”
Tomorrow’s Hope hosts the Ride with a Buddy event as well as Walk Fest in July. The students at UW-Whitewater have developed Facebook pages for each of the events and plan to engage riders, and walking teams with photos and video leading up to the event. They have discussed the possibility of producing a blog for the organization, possibly a video blog, with individuals who have participated in Tomorrow’s Hope events.
“Everything is still in the early stages, but the students are going to help me get the word out about all of our social media and new marketing activity,” Endl said. “I’m learning as much from these students as they are learning from the experiences. I’m grateful for Ann’s leadership and follow through in getting the students to dive into this effort whole-heartedly. I’m looking forward to seeing where these efforts will take us.”
To learn more about Tomorrow’s Hope or see the organization’s new social media presence visit www.tomorrowshope.org.