The Inspire Foundation

Communications Intern

The Inspire Foundation is the charitable arm of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. Their mission is to develop the leadership potential of Salem area students and business professionals. They do this by providing business-focused educational programs and events in the areas of leadership, education and workforce development

 

Knowledge, Abilities, & Programs

 

Writing

  • Learned and mimicked the voice of the organization and their in-house writing style guidelines

  • Wrote emails to clarify and coordinate details regarding events

  • Wrote emails to request written content and quotes for various creative projects

  • Wrote concise captions and descriptions for Instagram and Facebook posts, a newsletter, and a featured article for a magazine

  • Researched event speakers and event venues in order to write descriptions of them for our Facebook event promotions

  • Consolidated already written content into shorter paragraphs

Websites & Digital Programs

  • Wordpress: Edited and updated TIF's website

  • Facebook: Promoted events, created events, engaged with public, created a promoted ad 

  • Instagram: Posted to newsfeed and story, engaged with public

  • RegFox: Collected data about event registrants to send email confirmations to appropriate people and to verify number of attendees

  • Canva: Designed flyer, 15 Instagram posts, and several Instagram stories

  • Constant Contact: Sent event reminder emails, follow-up emails, and created an email newsletter

Nonprofit Knowledge

  • Learned about how to build rapport and connect with other organizations for mutual benefit 

  • Leaned about sponsors, donors, and partnerships

  • Learned about ways to do PR and marketing for a nonprofit organization 

  • Sat in on a pitch meeting with a potential sponsor 

  • Observed business professionals from multiple kinds of organizations, within one community, interact with one another and leverage their relationships with one-another

Events

  • Participated in planning meetings for big annual event

  • Promoted event for 3 months on Facebook, Instagram, and email

  • Coordinated and communicated with various people about event details 

  • Gave announcements and verbally opened and closed one event

  • Networked 

  • Set up event spaces 

Photography & Video

  • Took photos using a Canon DSLR during events 

  • Selected best photos and edited photos 

  • Recorded footage during events to use on Instagram story

  • Requested headshots and other photos from people to use for newsletter and Instagram

  • Chose best photos from hard drive to use for some Instagram content

 

Instagram Account & Strategy

 

Instagram Account Details

Background 


Before I started this internship, a group of marketing students from a local college had  conducted a SWOT analysis of the Inspire Foundation (TIF) and formed a written report. During my first week at TIF, I studied the report to learn how I could best serve TIF. From the report, I learned: 

  • TIF was lacking in social media presence (no Instagram or Twitter) 

  • TIF was lacking in personal elements of online presence (video marketing material for events, video testimonials, written testimonials, engaging graphics, pictures)

  • TIF suffered from low awareness in the greater community 

 During my first week at TIF, the communication team said they’d like me to help them: 

  • Build their personal brand 

  • Figure out how to create awareness of TIF

  • Generate the public’s interest in TIF 

  • Find ways to educate the public about who TIF is, what it does, and who it exists to serve 

One of my ideas, based on the report and my supervisor’s goals, was to create an Instagram account. In today’s digital age, many people use social media to engage with and receive updates from organizations of interest to them. I thought Instagram would be a valuable tool for reaching and connecting with the public. Instagram’s various functions are also conducive to creating the personal presence TIF was lacking. I was hopeful that an Instagram account would eventually become a place for TIF to attract new program members, promote events, create a more personal identity for TIF, engage with the public, and educate the public about what TIF has to offer.  

The team approved my idea and said that they could foresee themselves maintaining the account when my internship was over. They gave me permission to take control of every aspect of the account during the internship. 

My Role

In just two months, I did the following: 


  • Created the account

  • Decided what language to use in the bio 

  • Thoughtfully considered what kind of posts would be most effective to post during my limited time at TIF

  • Strategically planned what I would post as stories and what I would post in the newsfeed

  • Looked ahead and made a strategic social media calendar 

  • Designed ten posts on Canva 

  • Collected photos to use in the posts (from TIF’s Facebook accounts, photo drives, and a camera that I used to capture some photos) 

  • Promoted the new Instagram account to TIF’s followers on Facebook 

  • Made efforts to get followers

  • Wrote descriptive captions for all of the posts 

  • Reached out to highly involved members of TIF with interview questions, in order to to draw quotable material for future posts 

  • Designed a template and five posts for a future series of posts that my supervisor can utilize

  • Wrote a list of post recommendations for my supervisor to draw from when the internship was over

My goal for the first ten posts was to use them to educate the public on exactly who TIF is and what it does. This way, when someone follows the account in the future, they can scroll down and find those ten posts with detailed descriptions of TIF’s services. I thought this would be a sufficient way for the account to contain detailed information about all the programs we offer, without writing captions that were too long. 


Challenges

Many Instagram users are not interested in reading extensive captions. Thus, I needed to make them informative, concise, and not too dry. For many of them I drew from written material that was already published on TIF’s website and Facebook. However, a lot of the material I drew from was quite wordy. I wanted to make these captions concise, readable, and interesting. I believe I achieved this goal by whittling down the captions as much as possible.


Positive Personal Outcome

The responsibility I was given for this project was quite large, and I had to consider every small detail. Nevertheless, I’m grateful that I got to practice aspects of PR, marketing, and journalism throughout it. Being challenged to make a strategically planned social media calendar was beneficial too, since I was not used to scheduling posts on certain dates. I also appreciate the practice in writing concise captions for Instagram. Knowing how to write for different media is important in PR.

 

Event Services

 

Event Services Details 

Background


The Inspire Foundation exists to help develop the leadership potential of Salem’s professionals and students. One of the main ways TIF achieves this is by organizing bi-monthly networking events. At these events, professionals come together to connect, develop relationships, share resources, and sometimes learn from leaders in the community. I assisted my supervisor in the planning and execution of these events. 

My Role 

Before events, I used an email marketing website called Constant Contact to write and send “upcoming event” reminders to members on our email list. I also posted reminders on the Facebook page. For the events in which guests had to register before a certain deadline, I used the registered guest list to make personalized name tents for every guest. I always arrived early and helped set up the event spaces

While my supervisor was on his honeymoon, I got to take more responsibility for one of the events. Before the event, I communicated by email and phone about important details with the caterer, speaker, and venue host. I emailed all registered attendees about the event details, set up the event on my own, welcomed attendees, made all the announcements, and closed the event, thanking the speaker and caterer

During most events, I did a few different tasks. I welcomed attendees, helped them sign in, networked, and occasionally made announcements. I assisted my supervisor with anything small that came up. I also used a Canon DSLR camera to take photos

After events, I sent follow-up emails to thank event attendees for coming and to invite them to the next event. When an event had a guest speaker, I summarized the speaker’s talk in a few bullet points to remind attendees what was shared, and I included a call to action. In some cases, I researched websites with resources that could aid our attendees in following through with that call to action, and I provided the links to those websites in the email. 

The day after events, I selected the best photos, edited them, and posted them on Facebook and Instagram with a “thank you for coming” and “join us next time” caption.


Challenges

For “upcoming event” emails, it was bit difficult to choose the best words, because I wanted to be concise, grab the readers’ attention, and intrigue them. With all the details that needed to be included in those emails, it was difficult not to make the body of the email too lengthy. I also did not want the dry details about the events (date, time, venue, etc.) to lose the readers’ attention. But with the advice of my supervisor, I ended up with some well-worded final drafts! 

Standing in front of well established professionals to make announcements at events, and networking, was intimidating for me at first. Over time though, I became incredibly comfortable and confident interacting with everyone I met. 

Positive Personal Outcome

Perhaps the most beneficial part of my experience with events was getting a comprehensive look at all that is involved in them. I got to see several elements and processes that are required and involved in planning and executive a successful event. I got to think strategically about when to send emails and make posts before and after an event. Networking also pushed me to become a better speaker, question-asker, conversationalist, and to grow in self-confidence. Additionally, getting to hear from some of my city’s leaders gave me a lot of insight about leadership

 

Newsletter

(Email me if you would like to view the newsletter)

 

Newsletter Details

Background


I was asked to design and create a template and first edition of an e-newsletter. The Inspire team planned on using my template for their future editions of monthly newsletters. My supervisor asked me to use Constant Contact – an email marketing website – to create the design.


My Role 


My role in this project was: 


  • Start from a blank slate (within Constant Contact) and create a template

  • Brainstorm about what elements should be included in a newsletter 

  • Email people (with questions and a submission deadline), requesting their written content and photos

  • Read through testimonials and choose what quote-worthy sentences to insert in the newsletter 

  • Write the text for the headlines, “What’s New and Upcoming,” “Upcoming Events,” and “Thank You” sections

  • Write personal Q&A feature story (per my supervisor’s request)

  • Choose colors 

  • Choose fonts and font sizes

  • Decide what words should be bolded and italicized

  • Search for a leadership quote 

  • Find and insert links to outside content 

  • Edit content according to my supervisor’s requests 

Challenges 

Starting from a blank slate and designing the newsletter was perhaps the biggest challenge. I wanted to make a newsletter that was pleasing to the eyes, attention-grabbing, easy to understand, and not too heavy with text and information. Deciding how much space to put between sections and elements, figuring out how to create clearly distinct sections, and editing the written material I received, were all a part of the process. Even choosing colors and fonts that would match the tone of Inspire was challenging because of the limited options within Constant Contact. I did my best utilizing my resources though, and my supervisors were ultimately pleased! 


Positive Personal Outcome


This project was valuable in that it gave me an opportunity to practice designing, coordinating with others, and writing and editing text. Also, a major goal for the newsletter was to make it a place for Inspire to tell the stories of people who are involved and have been impacted by Inspire’s programs. My supervisor asked me what stories he thought we should tell and how we should tell them. Story-telling is one of my favorite elements of PR, so I enjoyed participating in a project with that goal.