Archive for October, 2010

Secret to a successful CSR event: Believe!

Every now and again, I get to brag about my clients. It’s been a good month for doing community relations work that demonstrates that organizations with which I work have a conscience and like doing something for the community.

My big client, of course, is K. Hovnanian Homes. The company also is my employer. It has been working to strike the balance between pushing ahead with a popular community it’s building in Woodland Park, N.J., and protecting and preserving an important piece of history there. The company has entered an agreement with the New Jersey State Museum to identify and preserve dinosaur tracks and other items of geologic interest. You can read out it here: http://bit.ly/inhousepr1027101

Meanwhile, a few days after announcing the relationship with the museum and showing off the rock with the dinosaur track, the company sponsored the third Ride for a Child’s Hope in New Windsor, N.Y., to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, N.Y.

My favorite client – Jockey Hollow Dentistry (a.k.a. my wife’s dental practice) is also doing something good for the community.  She is taking part in Operation Gratitude, and buying back children’s Halloween candy. She’ll then take the candy, along with any donated candy and some dental supplies, pack it all up and send it to Operation Gratitude, which will then send it to our troops serving overseas. Read about it here: http://bit.ly/jhd-candy

And last, but far from least, are my brothers and sisters at the Flanders Fire Company and Rescue Squad. After some false starts, we finally got to show off our pink T-shirts and our membership in the Guardians of the Ribbon. (http://bit.ly/dCgHws )  Firehouses are pretty macho places, and getting guys to wear pink is supposed to be difficult. But our firefighters jumped to join this group. As part of the Guardian of the Ribbon program, the whole fire company has agreed to do what it can to show its support for local women with cancer. The night we took the photo that went the release, we were helping some Boy Scouts earn their fire safety merit badge. Lt. Melissa Widzemok talked to the boys, explaining our pink shirts. Later, one of the boys took Melissa aside and told her about a close relative who was suffering from cancer and had just been told that there was nothing else doctors could do. Money was an issue and the boy asked us for help.

 It doesn’t get any more real than that.

We talk a lot about corporate social responsibility and all the studies that show that given the choice, people would rather do business with an organization that supports causes they like. Many companies adopt a cause and make it a corporate mission and that works for them. But I’ve found that the best results come when the executive in charge of the project genuinely has a passion for the cause. That passion usually becomes contagious. Everybody buys into it and that results in more enthusiasm and better support. And from my vantage, it becomes a lot more fun to work on these projects.

October 28, 2010 at 11:10 pm

The Good Seminar: The Needle In the Haystack of Spam

Public relations people must be  (to put it politely) very much in need of further education.  A day doesn’t go by that I’m not being buried in offers for seminars on this, that or the other thing, mostly related to social media.  Well, maybe somebody just thinks I’m dumb and in need of educamation, but…

As an APR, I’m thoroughly committed to constantly improving my “skill set.” But I could spend my whole career doing nothing but attending seminars, webinars and workshops. And I’m not convinced I would know much more than I know now.

I counted: Between Sept. 27 and Oct. 1, I received at least 23 solicitations for educational opportunities. And that doesn’t include the ones buried in newsletters and blogs I read from places like the Public Relations Society of America, the Daily Dog, Ragan and HARO.  They fill my mailbox like weeds in a garden and cost me time just getting rid of them. If a good one comes, it probably gets deleted with the trash.

You can’t get enough education, especially with things changing as quickly as they are. What worries me is that I could teach most of the classes being pitched to me, even about social media. That’s not a comment on my great wisdom, but on the basic (and safe for the instructor) nature of the offerings. I have this strong suspicion that many of these instructors and educational services providers are coming from (a) practitioners who are out of work or (b) agencies that want me be impressed and hire them. Many are being aimed at unemployed PR people who are feeling a little desperate…and can least afford to spend money on mediocre programs.

If the free market in educational services is to work, we need some way of judging all these classes and the people who are teaching them. We need a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for these offerings.

How do you select programs? I, for one, gravitate toward PRSA-sponsored programs or other classes from other places I’ve grown to trust like Ragan and Bulldog. I’m curious what other people to do.

PRSA is meeting next week in Washington, D.C. Lots of interesting things on the Assembly’s agenda, including improving continuing education offerings since they generate a large sum of money and prestige for the organization. Wouldn’t it be interesting, though, if PRSA (I can’t think of a better-qualified organization) established some standards for classes and teachers and offered some sort of objective rating or approval system? Wouldn’t that make it easier to select classes? And it might run some of the poorer programs out of business.

Whaddya say, PRSA?

October 8, 2010 at 10:47 am 1 comment


Categories

Dougtheprguy

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.