Wednesday July 4, 2012
Faye Lawson who is presently studying the Advanced Certificate with us has recently joined the Media Trust – a great charity that supports charities by helping them to develop their PR. One way they do this is by matching volunteers with charities. There are lots of benefits for the volunteer too.
It sounds a great scheme so we caught up with Faye to find out more……
Faye told us: Whether you are trying to break into PR or getting ready to take that next step in your career, it can be a challenge to meet those all-important person specification bullet points in your dream job description. One of the ways you can gain some extra experience is through volunteering. Warning: you will also gain a sense of accomplishment, help a small charity or group get their voice heard and have a more interesting answer than “going to the pub” when asked what you do in your spare time!
At Media Trust we run a number of services that encourage people with media, communications or digital media skills to 'get involved' and share their skills in a number of ways. Opportunities vary from taking 15 minutes out of your lunch break to answer a question on our online Hub from a charity in need of PR advice, to speaking at an event or supporting a charity or community organisation with a more specific - and more challenging - media or communications need.
We also run special speed-matching evenings, run a bit like speed-dating, to match those in need of communications advice with those who have the skills to offer on the spot tips or a longer term volunteering role (and they aren’t all in London!).
Tempted? Here are my five top tips for volunteering:
Tip 1 - Do something you love. Whether it’s for a cause you are passionate about or an area of media relations that you enjoy, to get the most out of volunteering it needs to be something that you are really get pleasure from doing.
Tip 2 - Don’t over (or under) sell your skills. If you are still in the early stages of your career it is unrealistic to write and deliver a year long PR strategy for a small charity. However if you have a particular skill or area of expertise that might benefit a charity make sure they know about it. Don’t oversell and under deliver-we are PR professionals after all.
Tip 3 - Be realistic about the time you can commit. There are an array of opportunities out there whether you can offer one-off support or a longer term commitment someone needs your help!
Tip 4 - Keep a record of what you do. Volunteering is a great way to improve your CV. If you’re looking for voluntary sector experience or to show diversity then choose something that will demonstrate how diverse your skills are.
Tip 5 - Share your experiences! As we all know effective PR is effective networking. Perhaps you are studying with other professionals, working within a sector you are interested in or know others with contacts in the area. You may be surprised who might be able to help you with your volunteering.
To check out volunteering opportunities via Media Trust go to: http://www.mediatrust.org/give-support/volunteer-with-us/
Thanks Faye - lets hope it encourages some of our PR Academy alumni to get involved. Ann.