The Perks of Interning with a Non-Profit

This semester I had the opportunity to intern with one of the largest non-profits in the United States, Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of kids with life-threatening medical conditions and they are awesome at it, granting a wish every 38 minutes. Non-profit organizations are something that I have always been passionate about but never really got to see how one operates until interning there this past fall. Internships with non-profit organizations may not be paid like others but it has invaluable benefits.

 Great working environment

Many people have say that you do not make a lot of money working for non-profit organizations and it is true. According to PR News, most public relations professionals that work for non-profit organizations make from $30,000 to $69,000. The starting salary for a PR professional in the non-profit industry is in the bottom 10 percent of PR professionals’ salaries.

It’s the employee’s passion for their organization that really keeps them motivated. At Make-A-Wish, everyone is like family. They are always happy and very supportive of one another. If you ask anyone in the office how they feel about their job, they will not hesitate to tell you that they love what they do.

 Volunteer Opportunities

Non-profits always need volunteers and they love when you take the initiative to volunteer for an event. You can discuss volunteer hours counting towards your required internship hours. Earlier this semester, I volunteered as a scorekeeper at a corn hole tournament. I not only learned how to play corn hole, but I connected with people who were really dedicated to the organization. I even met a few PR and marketing professionals. I enjoyed myself so much that I plan on volunteering next year. Volunteer opportunities are also a great addition to your resume!

 Gain useful skills

Although you may not always be working on a big campaign, you get the opportunity to learn small skills that can be very helpful once you get a job. I knew nothing about where the best places to get things printed or the best sites to order marketing materials before this internship. Both are things that can be very useful once I launch my own career or take on future internships. Small skills such as these may not seem like a big deal now, but down the road they could end up making all the difference.

Networking opportunities

You never know whom you will meet when interning with a non-profit. Volunteers range from recipients of services to celebrities. Make-A-Wish works with celebrities all the time because a lot of wish kids want to meet them.

You are appreciated

Non-profits thrive off of dedicated volunteers and donors. Although you may be receiving credit for the internship you are still looked at as a volunteer because you do not have to be there to help. I cannot count the times I have been thanked for helping out and it means a lot. It always feels good to be appreciated, and it feels even better to give back.


Chloe Bio PicChloe Watson, Spring 2015 Account Coordinator

Chloe Watson is a senior and will be graduating in May. Her major is Communication Studies with a concentration in public relations and a minor in journalism.​ Her PR experience includes internships at the Thomasville Times, J. Murrey Atkins Library, Relate PR, Make-A-Wish, and currently AmWins Inc. She is also treasurer for our PRSSA chapter and has been an active member for two years. Upon graduation, she would like to work for a branding agency.


Snapchat’s “Discover” Feature: A Social Media Goldmine for Companies

​Snapchat, an application (app) used for quick and simple photo/video messaging, unveiled its largest update to users a couple of days ago with the addition of “Discover”.

On January 27, Snapchat’s blog ( was updated to showcase the perks of “Discover”. This new feature allows companies to advertise in a fun, innovative way to Snapchat’s primary public… high school and college students. CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Yahoo! News and Warner Music Group are all current advertisers.
 Not only is this a goldmine for the companies involved, but also for the free app. Discover is one of the few sources of income for Snapchat and a profitable one at that.
Discover is much more than boring news articles that viewer’s eyes skim over daily. The feature offers a seamless and beautiful effect of picture, video, sound and text in an engaging fashion.
As a college student, I have found myself enjoying Discover much more than I had expected to. The brands involved produce both news and entertainment in a way that captures the viewer’s attention. Snapchat has also found a way to tuck this content in a designated tab for users to intentionally pull up, which gives control over the feature. Many free apps turn users away with their annoying pop up advertisements, like the popular app, Trivia Crack, which flashes ads after each game played.
Snapchat was in dire need of an exciting update after the negative press that seemed to plague the app for years. From changes in policy, to hacks endangering security and privacy, Snapchat has seen its days of bad PR. I hope (and I’m sure Snapchat is crossing its fingers too) that these new features will allow the app to thrive. After being named “most unreliable” and only receiving one star for customer privacy policies by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, it is imperative for Snapchat to do some serious image repair for its brand.
However, as PR professionals (and pre-professionals) we must consider if this update is relevant to the app. Snapchat was created primarily for sending private “snaps” and posting “stories”. Was this media deal too unrelated to the app’s purpose or does it fit nicely with its forward thinking?
SarahSarah Cain, Spring 2015 Account Manager

Sarah Cain is a senior, graduating this May – something that she is both proud and excited about. Sarah currently holds the leadership position of Vice President for the UNC Charlotte PRSSA chapter. She hopes to land a job in agency or corporate PR in the wonderful city of Charlotte. Sarah’s interests lie in social media, some graphic design and writing in general. Connect with her @sarahhhcain on Twitter or Instagram.

Tips for Pitching a Public Relations Campaign

Too often, students are surprised by the assignment of pitching a campaign to a client. Suddenly, nerves set in, palms become sweaty and a panic attack sets in. Being prepared and knowing the strategies to use while giving a presentation can prevent all of these symptoms from occurring.

Carl Kwan is well known for his popular YouTube videos, which suggest tips for delivering a wonderful and effective presentation. Kwan has a variety of tips to help anyone become an above average presenter. In the public relations field, professionals will constantly be pitching campaigns to clients. The end of a presentation is the last thing a client will hear about a campaign pitch, and it’s the part that you want to be the most powerful and memorable. It is important to know the formula to wrapping up a presentation in an engaging way. The following tips will ensure a successful end to any campaigns presentation and hopefully the desired result of client approval of your campaign.
The end of your presentation should always connect to the beginning and main content of the presentation. Doing this ensures that the audience is reminded of what they just heard. Carl Kwan used this outline strategy for concluding a presentation:
  • Reintroduce your topic and say “And that is…(Your subject)”
  • What I talked about was (Summarize your key points of the presentation)
  • State, “the first thing I want you to do when you leave here today is…” (Call to action)
  • Say thank you
  • Ask if there are there any questions
Having this basic outline as a formula to successfully close a campaign pitch is useful because it is engaging to the audience. Stating the topic of your presentation again, reiterating key points and finally giving the audience a tasks (call to action) is the formula for a solid conclusion. A call to action is important because the audience needs directions or guidance.  Including the call to action in your conclusion is highly recommended because the audience needs to make reality out of the information you just gave them. Kwan uses his formula for an excellent conclusion in the following example.
  • “And that is cross-cultural awareness “
  • “What I talked about was the importance and influence of culture, my own cross-cultural experience, and I gave you a cross-cultural awareness framework.”
  • “The first thing I want you to do when you leave here today is to implement the first step in the framework and write down your motivation for improving your own cross-cultural awareness.”
  • “Thank you”
  • “Are there any questions?”
While the previous outline by Kwan was just an example, you can always have variations of this closing technique. Including a little more information relevant to your campaign or closing with some kind of activity/interaction between you and your client would be a great idea! For more tips on presentations or to check out the video on presentation conclusions, check out Carl Kwan at

GoDaddy or #NoDaddy?

Every year millions of Americans look forward to the Super Bowl – game-day food, Puppy Bowl favorites, hilarious commercials… oh, and some kind of game with men in overly tight pants. (Kidding! Obviously, the pants can never be too tight.) For those who don’t exactly put the “game” in game-day, the notorious 60-second ad spots usually garner the most attention. This year, some companies are ramping up their pre-Super Bowl excitement by taking to social media, but not every brand is getting the kind of attention they’d hoped for.
GoDaddy tried to engage consumers with their online debut of a new personality Buddy, an adorable Lab puppy who would be replacing the web host’s usual cast of barely-clad women, but the campaign took an abrupt turn for the worse. Although the ad was an apparent parody of Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” commercials, it was quickly evident that American consumers don’t play around when it comes to our fury friends.
Animal Rights activists and dog lovers everywhere became outraged after GoDaddy previewed the commercial, revealing that the precious pup finds his way home only to be sold by his owner through a website created by GoDaddy. The reaction wasn’t quite what they web hosting company anticipated. It seemed that GoDaddy didn’t consider that most dogs sold online go to puppy mills. So, rather than scoring some laughs, they scored a petition. collected over 40,000 online signatures in favor of banning the commercial within a matter of hours.  Helena Yurcho of writes
“Whether or not this was meant to be satirical, it’s offensive. Essentially, GoDaddy is encouraging private breeding/puppy mills while shelter animals wait patiently for their forever homes, or worse – to be euthanized. They are also encouraging purchasing an animal online; the animal could be sold to someone who runs a fighting ring, someone who abuses animals or someone who cannot adequately care for the animal.”
Twitter was also flooded with backlash using the hash tag, #GoDaddyPuppy.
GoDaddy’s efforts for pregame publicity instantly became a crisis situation. Instead of digging a deeper whole at the risk of bruising their ego, the company made the wise decision to pull the commercial. GoDaddy admitted their mistake, issuing this statement on their website:
“This morning we previewed GoDaddy’s Super Bowl spot on a popular talk show, and shortly after a controversy started to swirl about Buddy, our puppy, being sold online. The responses were emotional and direct. Many people urged us not to run the ad…. the net result? We are pulling the ad from the Super Bowl. You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh. Finally, rest assured, Buddy came to us from a reputable and loving breeder in California. He’s now part of the GoDaddy family as our Chief Companion Officer and he’s been adopted permanently by one of our longtime employees.”
So is bad publicity really better than no publicity for the web hosting company? My vote is no. While GoDaddy did a great job of responding to the uproar, their brand equity will likely take a hit. It was a great attempt at targeting larger audiences (because who doesn’t love puppies, right?), but in their attempt to gain attention they overlooked the power of social media and instant communication.
Wives and girlfriends everywhere were probably looking forward to not slapping their husbands during GoDaddy’s 60-second spot this year, but on the bright side, they will have the adorable (and safe) Lost Dog of the Budweiser ads to look forward to.
Budweiser: 1, GoDaddy: 0

Samantha Kirby, Spring 2015 Account Coordinator

Samantha (Sammy) Kirby is an account coordinator for NinerNation Relations. She currently serves as Global Marketing Communications Intern for Momentive Performance Materials Inc. Prior to Momentive, Sammy completed a Communications Internship with Facilities Management at UNC Charlotte. Her other public relations experience includes PRSSA leadership, Outreach Committee member with the UNC Charlotte Writing Resources Center and Newsletter Committee member for the University Honors Program. Her skills include copywriting, editing, media relations and event planning.

NNR at the Georgia Real World Conference

NinerNation Relations was front and center at the Georgia Real World Conference in Atlanta this past Friday.  We were in company of our fellow PRSSA members who not only attended the conference but were active participants. We began our day with a delightful breakfast while PRSA Georgia President, Stephen Brown spoke to us about creating our personal brand and how to network a room. With an alarming (pun intended) end to our opening session our members were off to explore three breakout sessions from experts in the PR field from Edelman, Carvel, Porter Novelli and more.

We took on the PR Real World Conference as young professionals preparing to enter the field. After the last breakout session we gathered in the grand ballroom to eat a delicious lunch while listening to the amazing and inspirational story of Cinnabon’s President, Kat Cole. Her words were incredibly motivational and that was a perfect way to end the sessions.
Conferences are a wonderful way to get to know other members in the field from all across the country. As public relations practitioners, our job is to create and maintain relationships and what better way than taking one of the first steps: registering for a conference. And for our UNC Charlotte members, the Real World Conference is an easy 3 hour drive, so there should be no excuse.

Atlanta will also house the 2015 PRSSA National Conference, as well as the PRSA International Conference. PRSSA members are encouraged to attend this amazing opportunity and for those graduating in May, the International Conference will be right around the corner. More information can be found at the following National PRSSA or National PRSA websites:

NNR is Back in Full Swing

UNC Charlotte’s NinerNation Relations is proud to say we are well underway into our second semester of our student-run PR firm. This project began in May of 2014 and was spearheaded by Dr. Alan Freitag, APR, PRSA Fellow and also by UNCC Alumn Katherine Faulk.
We begin this new semester with a new CEO, Kathleen Duckworth and a new faculty advisor, Stephen Ward. Included in the team are nine additional team members: Seniors, Sarah Cain and Natalia Schiappacasse are Account Managers. Each Account Manager works directly with Account Coordinators Chloe Watson, Natalie McNeil, Jade Hudson, Wyatt Goodwin, Cady Ray, Dominique Yost and Samantha Kirby. The firm is split into two teams for the current projects we are working on which are for the University Research Conference and University City Partners.The team is excited to continue the fantastic work of the previous team and is hopeful in setting new goals for the future of the firm.
You can reach the team at and someone will get back to you within 24 hours. If you have any questions about the services offered by the NinerNation Relations or would like to request a proposal, please send us an email or contact us through the “Contact NNR” page on this blog.
We cannot wait to begin working with you!
– Kathleen Duckworth, CEO

Kathleen Duckworth, Spring 2015 CEO Kathleen Duckworth is the current CEO of NinerNation Relations and a previous account coordinator for the firm last year. This semester she has an internship with the Charlotte Museum of History as the Marketing and PR intern. Previous public relations experience includes public relations chair for her sorority and social media representative for Rent The Runway. Her skills include event planning, social media management and community outreach.

Kathleen Duckworth, Spring 2015 CEO

Kathleen Duckworth is the current CEO of NinerNation Relations and a previous account coordinator for the firm last year. This semester she has an internship with the Charlotte Museum of History as the Marketing and PR intern. Previous public relations experience includes public relations chair for her sorority and social media representative for Rent The Runway. Her skills include event planning, social media management and community outreach. 

My Experience at NinerNation Relations


I have always been a fan of joining a start-up, business, program, or organization. It has always been somewhat of a challenge for me to push myself to be as creative as I can. There is a huge difference in continuing on, what someone has already thought up and started, than starting something from the ground up. When I first received the Facebook message letting everyone know that there would be a student ran PR firm this year, I was elated. Now, although I am a PR major, I don’t necessarily have a passion for the field but I am very interested, as I stated earlier, in helping with a start-up. After submitting all the necessary documentation to be selected for the firm, I was finally selected and was ready to begin with a new project.

On our first meeting none of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into, I don’t think that any of us were looking forward to the amount of work it takes when working with a start-up. This semester NinerNation Relations had two main clients; ourselves, and the Undergraduate Research Conference. I was chosen to work with the Undergraduate Research Conference. At first I thought to myself, “Yes, an event this is my expertise,” seeing that I want to work in event planning upon graduation. Although excited, reality soon set in. The Undergraduate Research Conference isn’t like any other event that I have planned before, the event to say the least has a very strict background that doesn’t cause for a lot of wiggle room for new creative ideas. The goal of my group, (those who were also working on the Research Conference), was to find new marketing strategies to make this event fresh and exciting as far as promotion, the URC wanted to have the same guidelines to the conference but they wanted to spice it up a bit. It was our job to do that for them I had several different tasks that involved extensive research on different marketing strategies to make a rather “boring” event exciting and fun. Within the research I conducted I found several fresh ideas that will be implemented next semester as we grow closer to the actual event.

My time in the NinerNation Relations student ran PR firm was educational and at the same time gave me some real world experience on what clients will want in the actual PR sector. I am still a huge events planning fan, but I must say that this firm shed a new light on what PR actually is and the things that I would actually be doing if I were to pursue a career in PR. Outside of actual work I thought the idea of having blog posts and workshops once a month was a good idea as well. I’m not really a strong writer but I do enjoy a challenge so writing blogs was new and very interesting for me. I know that there will be great things to come of this class in the future and many will learn as much as I have if not more. Fall 2014 set the bar, it is now up to the semesters to come to hit the bar and knock it over. Go NinerNation Relations!


Post by Megan Patterson, 2014 Account Coordinator
Megan Patterson is a senior at UNC Charlotte graduating in December. She plans to venture off into the event planning field after graduation.