About This Course
» Topics · » Mission · » Impact · » Other
- The Nonprofit Business Model and its Role in the Marketplace
- Trends in Nonprofit Causes
- Top Nonprofit Challenges
- Nonprofit Governance and Human Resources
Mission & Vision
- Finding and Developing Nonprofit Stories
- Creative Fundraising Strategies
- Evaluation and Reporting Results to Stakeholders
- Resources for Aspiring Nonprofit Professionals
"Cause Communications: Public Relations Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations," and its service-learning component are focused on raising awareness of local societal needs and issues and building effective communication strategy, in the classroom and in the field, for addressing community concerns and causes. It aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of public relations in the nonprofit realm and to offer students a meaningful service-learning experience through which they can demonstrate and share the course concepts with community partners. The course introduces students to the essential skills and core responsibilities of practicing public relations for the public good, and simultaneously equips them to provide practical help to local nonprofit organizations in a culminating, student- coordinated, community educational event.
It is important to mention how this course differs from MEJO 332 Public Relations Writing, in which the students are only introduced to the nonprofit sector. I believe that my experience of directing a national nonprofit organization and teaching MEJO 332 many times qualify me to state that MEJO 332 barely addresses the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the specialized needs of nonprofit public relations. In order to prepare our students more adequately, this course tackles a broader spectrum of topics, such as the role of communication in donor relations, media relations/coaching, cause promotion, corporate and community partnerships, board development, and recruitment and management of volunteers.
It is important to mention how this proposed course differs from MEJO 232 Public Relations Writing, in which the students are only introduced to the nonprofit sector. I believe that my experience of directing a national nonprofit organization and teaching eight sections of MEJO 232 qualifies me to state that MEJO 232 barely addresses the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the specialized needs of nonprofit public relations. In order to prepare our students more adequately, a broader spectrum of topics should be examined and tackled, such as the role of communication in donor relations, media relations/coaching, cause promotion, corporate and community partnerships, board development, and recruitment and management of volunteers.
You, and your course, inspired me so much and made me realize that I want to work for a nonprofit or at least for a company whose cause I align with.
Storytelling and enacting change in the community is something that I have always been passionate about, but this class gave me the push that I needed to realize that doing something I love and care about is more important than money or status. What matters is your status within yourself and how you feel about the work that you are doing.
"Cause Communications Course Takes the Classroom to the Community"
"[T]he MEJO 432 course that paired students from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media with Carrboro nonprofit CommunityWorx mimics the real-world conditions she thinks she’ll face as a media professional.""
Read the full UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media article here.
CAROLINA CULTIVATES: A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN COMMUNITYWORX AND UNC-CHAPEL HILL STUDENTS
At CommunityWorx, we’re passionate about building collaborative partnerships that serve as catalysts for equity, innovation and empowerment in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. That’s why we partnered with students enrolled in MEJO 432: Cause Communications at UNC Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media this semester.
Cause Communications is a service-learning course at the Hussman School in which students learn the importance of nonprofit communications through classroom instruction, guest lectures and hands-on community partnerships. The course was created and is taught by Marshéle Carter, an adjunct professor with over 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. This semester’s cohort included 35 students from across various majors and with an assortment of nonprofit-related experiences. The Fall 2019 edition of Cause Communications marked the second time in which the course was offered and the second time in which CommunityWorx was a partner for the course’s service-learning component.
In August, CommunityWorx Chief Operating Officer Erik Valera visited the class to educate students about the opportunity and achievement gaps in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community and to present their service-learning assignment for the semester. Valera tasked the students with developing public relations strategies for local nonprofits to engage with “grass-top” stakeholders. He explained that since these stakeholders have high professional and/or political profiles, they are the best potential partners for nonprofits fighting opportunity gaps in our community. As a result, Valera asked the students to research multiple “grass-top” groups and prepare communications recommendations based on their findings to share with local nonprofit leaders.
Over the next few months, the students conducted demographic and psychographic research on seven key “grass-top” groups, including local business partners, elected government officials, non-elected officials, philanthropists, real estate investors, UNC-CH faculty members and UNC-CH healthcare administrators. The students also examined external case studies to identify effective strategies involving “grass-top” groups in other areas across the country dealing with substantial opportunity and achievement gaps. Using their research findings, the students then developed high-level communications recommendations for nonprofits seeking to reach any, or all, of the aforementioned “grass-top” groups.
As a culmination of their research, the students planned an event to share their findings and engage in round-table discussions with local nonprofit leaders. Since the event was aimed at cultivating dialogue between the students, nonprofits and “grass-top” groups, the students named the event “Carolina Cultivates.” “Carolina Cultivates” was held on November 21 at YouthWorx on Main in Carrboro and was attended by nonprofit leaders from various organizations across the community. Former Chapel Hill Mayor Howard N. Lee was also in attendance and served as the event’s keynote speaker. The students then led discussions focusing on their assigned “grass-top” groups and allowed attendees to interact with their research. Each attendee received a “resource folder” with handouts detailing the students’ research findings and recommendations for communicating with potential “grass-top” collaborators.
While “Carolina Cultivates” served as the conclusion of the students’ service-learning project, their research findings and communications recommendations present an opportunity for local nonprofits to reach new “grass-top” collaborators or to strengthen existing partnerships. Their research and recommendations will undoubtedly be assets in the fight against opportunity and achievement gaps in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, and CommunityWorx is extremely grateful to Marshéle Carter and her students for their hard work this semester.
About Howard N. Lee
Howard N. Lee served as mayor of Chapel Hill from 1969 to 1975, making him the first African-American mayor of the town. He was also the first African-American mayor of a predominantly white city in the South. Since retirement from public service, Lee has established several nonprofit organizations in the Chapel Hill area, including the Howard N. Lee Institute, which focuses on providing adequate resources for students and educators. Lee’s work at the Institute has introduced him to countless at-risk middle and high school students within the local region, making him an advocate for closing achievement and opportunity gaps in the school system. For more information about Lee and his service to the Chapel Hill area, visit www.howardleeinstitute.org.
For nearly 70 years, the PTA Thrift Shop has been a nonprofit fixture in the heart of Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Focused on enriching the lives of youth, our goal has always been to build a collaborative community that’s a catalyst for equity, innovation and empowerment. We’re excited for this new season and invite you to join us in showing just how well community works when we’re all working together! For more information about CommunityWorx, visit www.communityworxnc.org.