By Carly Owens
“By attending PR Gives Back, you meet communications professionals that help you think outside the box when it comes to creative and useful tools and resources to incorporate in your communication strategy.” ––Aileen Capelle, marketing manager at Thomas House
Have you ever wondered what actually happens at PR Gives Back, and if it is truly beneficial for nonprofits? I sat down with Aileen Capelle, marketing manager at Thomas House, who has attended a few of the events, to get her perspective.
Tell us about Thomas House. What is your mission?
Thomas House Family Shelter is focused on providing a safe, supportive environment for homeless and at-risk families, while empowering them to be independent and self-sufficient. We’ve been around for more than 30 years, and currently have 24 apartments for families that range in size. We see family as a broad term, whether that’s a single parent with kids, or a multigenerational family.
It’s a pretty strict program, but we have a 90% success rate. When they graduate, it’s with permanent housing, so they beat the cycle of homelessness.
How did you hear about PR Gives Back?
I heard about it a few years ago. My executive director had attended a few, so when I came aboard, she passed it on to me. I’m always looking forward to the next one.
What was one of your biggest takeaways from the events you’ve attended?
When I first started at Thomas House, my networking skills weren’t great. Coming to PR Gives Back, all the attendees—both nonprofits and PR professionals—are very welcoming and not intimidating. They’re truly there to help provide support or feedback that will be used by the nonprofit professional and creating those connections is really beneficial.
How has what you learned through PR Gives Back helped your work?
I’ve learned so much! I’ve learned a lot more about public relations and how to incorporate it into Thomas House’s marketing strategy. Our marketing strategy didn’t incorporate public relations tactics not too long ago but coming to PR Gives Back has helped me change that. We have a better understanding of how to use press releases, timing for campaigns , and are generally much more comfortable with the content that we’re sending out.
We’ve also improved our social media strategy though recommendations and ideas from the events. We had been looking for new ways to recognize staff, and one of the ideas from the event was a series of “Day in the Life” social posts. The posts highlight an employee and give an overview of what they do each day. They’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from our audience and board.
Would you recommend attending the event to nonprofits? If so, why?
Yes, a million times yes! By attending PR Gives Back as a nonprofit professional, you meet communications professionals that help you think outside the box when it comes to creative and useful tools and resources to incorporate in your communication strategy.
I’ve also stayed in touch with the PR pros I’ve been paired with and bounced ideas off of them. Having resources like that will help you continue to improve your strategies. Whether in-person or virtual, the events will deliver great ideas and new strategies.
Last question: If someone is interested in volunteering with Thomas House, how do they get involved?
We have several opportunities, such as bringing a cake for one of our resident’s birthdays. We also have several drives throughout the year, and right now we’re in the midst of our spring-cleaning drive, collecting cleaning sprays, Swiffer supplies, really anything that will help our families keep their apartments clean.
PR Gives Back is on April 15, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Click here for more information and to register.
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