Spark PR’s Experience in Service Learning With The ALS Association.

As seniors in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, Spark PR was given a unique service learning opportunity, which provided each member of our team an experience to remember. As a team, we have worked hard to provide The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter with the best campaign possible to strengthen the association between The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter, its programs and services while attracting future supporters to ensure the organization’s continued success.

The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to finding a cure for the ALS disease. This organization provides discounted or free programs and services to those with ALS. In the Louisiana and Mississippi areas, a Respite Care Program is available as well as home visits to assess patient needs. ALS, which is often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a terrible and 100 percent fatal disease that not only affect those diagnosed, but also their friends, families and caretakers.

In 2014, The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge became a worldwide campaign to raise money and awareness for The ALS Association. This viral campaign raised more than $15 million but once the Ice Bucket Challenge ended, many people assumed that enough money had been raised to help those with ALS. The funds raised were a huge step forward for this organization and The ALS Association was able to move one step closer to their goal: “To create a world without ALS”.

Our goal was to help promote the organization’s Red, White and Snow Gala, as well as other events, raise public awareness and assist with fundraising. Spark PR worked hard to increase awareness in Louisiana and Mississippi through social media, print media and television. We created a “Fast Facts” infographic, which provides the public with quick facts about Lou Gehrig’s disease, The ALS Association and how to get involved.IMG_4308

Spark PR assisted The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter in hosting an event at The Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We promoted the Red, White and Sneaux Gala through print, social and digital media. The event featured both live and silent auctions, a sit-down dinner, awards ceremony, live music and much more. The 2016 Red, White and Sneaux Gala raised more than $109,000, which is more than ever before. Spark PR is proud to have been part of such a successful event for a great organization.

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Although it is not over, Spark PR has learned so many new things while working with The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter. This experience was an eye-opener for the members of our team and we have certainly learned the importance of giving back to the community. This class taught us more than how to be successful in public relations; it also taught each one of us that working hard to help others really does make a difference. Spark PR began as a public relations school project but as we wrap up the semester, we realize that this experience will stay with us long after we graduate from LSU.

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To find out more about The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter:

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Lauren Scioneaux, Spark PR Design Director

Sources:

Here’s How the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Started. (August 2014). Retrieved April 27, 2016 from http://time.com/3136507/als-ice-bucket-challenge-started/

Patient & Family Services. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2016 from http://webla.alsa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=LA_8_patient_family_services

Harrington, M. (2014, April 7). 7 top tips for successful infographics. Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/7_top_tips_for_successful_infographics_16262.aspx

 

Spark PR Demonstrates Expertise in Our Field Through its Work With ALS

Written By: Anne Claire Aaron, account executive

As Manship students and soon-to-be public relations professionals, it is safe to say that we have become pretty familiar with PRSA members’ core values. According to the PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values, expertise is one of the six core values that should guide our behaviors as public relations professionals. Expertise refers to acquiring and responsibly using specialized knowledge and experience. Through continued professional development, research and education, we advance the profession. As public relations experts, we also build mutual understanding, credibility and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.

After completing the course learning outcomes listed in the MC 4005 syllabus, we should be able to establish and maintain positive client relationships and outcomes as part of a public relations team. This is just part of what it means to exhibit expertise in the public relations field. Though it is only the fifth week of the semester, we have already worked as a team to establish a relationship with our client, The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter, and we will continue to work to maintain this relationship.

The syllabus discusses four ways PR professionals demonstrate expertise: writing, thinking, research and deadline orientation/organization. Over the past five weeks, our team has demonstrated each of these, but recently we have specifically focused on research. Through our research, we want to find answers to the problems ALS is facing in order to serve our clients needs.

An article from Entrepreneur.com provides tips on demonstrating expertise in the public relations field. The first tip is, “understand the potential of public relations to manage perceptions.” In order to effectively serve the ALS Association’s needs, it is essential that we understand the public’s perception of the organization and work to ensure this is how the organization wants to be perceived.

The next piece of advice we are taking from Entrepreneur.com is, “be prepared for a crisis.” After meeting with our client, we realized that they do not have a crisis communication plan for their Annual Gala. Because ALS patients will be attending the event, it is crucial that our client knows how to properly handle any situations involving these patients illnesses.

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Image courtesy of MSLGROUP Global

As a new public relations firm, Spark PR realizes that we may not have all the answers to our client’s problems, but we do have the tools and resources to work as a team and solve these problems to the best of our ability.

To find out more about the ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter:

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Anne Claire Aaron, account executive

Sources:

Crafting Your Story: Public Relations Expertise For Your Business. (2015). Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244219

Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Member Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2016, from https://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/ethics/codeenglish/#.VrvQcjaodFI

Spark PR Adheres to Professional Values While Partaking in Service Learning with the ALS Association Louisiana Mississippi Chapter

Blog by: Alyssa Henke, Writing Director

Spark PR’s goal is to ignite a spark in our clients. This semester our firm hopes to bring forth innovation and creativity to the ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter. By working with ALS, our agency is participating in service learning, which means that we are involved in an educational experience that integrates community service. 

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While partaking in this experience, Spark PR hopes to advance our firm’s knowledge and meet the ALS association’s needs. This agency-client relationship involves hands-on experience that addresses our client’s concerns. This hands-on experience will include our efforts to improve and collaborate on the ALS association’s event, Red, White, & Sneaux, as well as in person meetings with our ALS contact person, Jamie Craig. Each member of our firm hopes to contribute his or her knowledge and skills to improve ALS. We consequently hope that each member of our agency can further develop his or her skills and knowledge by learning through this real world experience, and we endeavor to better understand social issues in our community and civic responsibility.

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As Spark PR strives to implement superior services in public relations for ALS, our firm will abide by the PRSA professional values to guide our actions. These professional values set the industry standard for public relations practitioners and are vital to the integrity of this profession as a whole. The six professional values are advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty and fairness. Spark PR first will act as a responsible advocate for ALS at all times. Spark PR will adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth while promoting the interests of ALS. Our firm hopes to advance the profession of public relations through the research, knowledge and experience we will gain and responsibly use. We will remain objective in our affairs with ALS and provide unbiased guidance. While serving the public interest, Spark PR will remain faithful to ALS. Lastly, our agency will deal fairly with the ALS association, competing nonprofit organizations, competing public relations firms, the media and the general public by respecting all opinions and supporting the right of free expression.

As Spark PR partners with ALS, each member of our firm aims to overcome obstacles and create opportunities in order to further his or her skills and ultimately be able to obtain the top 10 competencies employers look for according to the Korn Ferry/Lominger Model. Although each member of our group brings his or her own spark to our group as a whole, we hope that we can individually acquire all ten competencies by the end of this semester. The competencies employers want are for employers to be action oriented, know how to deal with ambiguity, be creative, have good decision quality, solve problems efficiently, motivate others, plan, prioritize, think strategically, and manage time. By providing ALS with creative and individualized solutions, we hope this nonprofit can give us insight to ourselves and teach us how to be the most efficient public relations practitioners.


Follow ALS Association Louisiana-Mississppi Chapter:
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Sources:
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Member Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from https://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/ethics/codeenglish/#.VrN_3Dbh-8p

Center for Community Engagement, Learning & Leadership. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from http://www.lsu.edu/academicaffairs/ccell/

Center for Community Engagement, Learning & Leadership. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from http://www.lsu.edu/academicaffairs/ccell/