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I’ve been volunteering regularly since college, most recently on the Puget Sound PRSA Holiday Gala and Jumpstart committees. In hopes that I inspire others, I’d like to highlight some of the ways that my volunteer efforts and work as an early career public relations professional have complemented each other. I created the following insights with professional development organizations like PRSA in mind, but you can apply these more broadly, as well.

Targeted Pitching Skills:
Public relations professionals understand how to compile an effective target list and make a tailored ask. This skill applies most obviously to publicizing events, but is also beneficial when obtaining sponsorship or donations.

Networking:
You can tap your agency’s network of employees for programming, sponsorship, and event promotion. Weber Shandwick employees participate in PRSA Jumpstart for Students every year, and we host PRSA events such as the upcoming volunteer social. We frequently use our all-office meetings and e-mails to draw attention to worthwhile events and causes. Outside your office, volunteering also introduces you to contacts beneficial to your employer such as potential vendors and clients.

Management Skills:
You can apply what you’ve learned at an agency about time management, efficient computer use, and communicating effectively with team members to success in volunteer positions. The best run volunteer committee meetings I’ve participated in have resembled Weber Shandwick weekly team meetings.

Adaptable Skills Set:
If your volunteer position involves helping students, your status as an early career professional is an advantage in deciding programming and providing others with advice. Conversely, volunteering  also provides excellent insight into completing a variety of junior-level tasks within the quickly evolving public relations profession.

Have you used your public relations expertise in volunteering? What else can early career public relations professionals bring to volunteer positions?

Beth Evans is currently an intern at Weber Shandwick Seattle. You can follow her on Twitter at @bethevans.

Image courtesy of buddawiggi.

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