“They think it’s all over”… but they’re wrong!

It’s been a week since my placement at StreetInvest came to an end. I’ve since moved back home for the summer, allowing plenty of reflection time. This week my internship with Macmillan Cancer Support starts and a new chapter begins on the road through NGOs. But the good news for me is that the previous chapter is still very much open; yes, I’m staying with StreetInvest. I have been offered (and am obviously accepting) a ‘Student Ambassador’ role within the organisation. I’m excited to see how this role develops. Having met with one of their current ambassadors, who has been one for a number of years, I understand the role to be very flexible, above all allowing me to keep in contact with StreetInvest. When I find out in September about my academic work load, I can use any free time that I have to go back and help out. Hopefully as a result, they will gain an extra volunteer and I will gain greater data for my dissertation.

I have created a survey and with the help of StreetInvest, distributed it to organisations who partner in street-work. It focuses on their opinions of communication systems and also includes a structured comparison system which enables them to decide how well different organisations communicate with one and other. I await any replies as of yet. I have created a survey for those who StreetInvest maintain contact with in Britain for awareness-raising. My job this week is to distribute it, which I think will be harder than it sounds. But I’m confident I know what I need to be doing having been educated clearly on how to use StreetInvest’s public communication platform.

Research so far has shed light on the effort NGOs place into PR and Communications. I’ve learnt of the different methods StreetInvest uses to make itself known. They are an NGO keen to constantly gain new ideas. One PR method which StreetInvest do NOT participate in, but which was suggested to the organisation by an outside source, is the PR technique of paying a celebrity to advertise the NGO. This is now accepted as a useful PR tool in the corporate world and if done correctly, could create large amounts of publicity, awareness and increased funds. However the moralities of an NGO deviating too far into the corporate world can be shocking. StreetInvest has a duty to spend the money which people donate, to help in running the organisation in a way which is generally accepted by the donors. Although the boundaries can be blurred, gambling money by funding celebrity endorsed campaigns seems very wrong to me. How would you feel if an organisation that you donated to, then spent that money on PR through payment to a celebrity?

The counter argument is that this is just another PR method, which may have a higher success rate than conventional Facebook and Twitter style advertising and old fashioned banners, posters and attending events, all which I have experienced first-hand in the past two weeks.

Article on Celebrity Tweet Endorsement- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/30/celebrity-sponsored-tweets_n_3360562.html

Two weeks ago I thought I would be wrapping up at this point, but I’m very happy to say this is ongoing and will continue to. The next time you hear from me I hope to tell you more about the data I receive back.

Thank you again StreetInvest.

And thank you for reading.

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