Meeting Recap 9/22/2014

Couldn’t make Monday’s meeting? Take a look at some of the discussion below!

Our speaker this week was Kelly Fritz Garrow, director of communications at the Toledo Museum of Art. Kelly is a BGSU grad who has worked in several nonprofit and for-profit organizations, such as Defiance Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Wauseon Chamber of Commerce, and Sunshine.

During her time at Sunshine, she started thinking about what her next step would be. She had been underemployed and overqualified for some time, and wanted to prepare herself for the next step. In 2007, she tested and received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and subsequently pursued a masters degree in organizational leadership.

Soon after, Kelly heard of an opening at the Toledo Museum of Art. She applied, and out of more than 200 applicants, she got the job. She says it is the best job she has ever had. Below is some of her advice on working in the nonprofit world, and especially when it comes to digital communications.

Kelly says the nonprofit world is diverse — there are many different fields that are nonprofit. But one thing that is often true with these organizations is that one person can make a huge difference. In many cases, one person is in charge of all PR aspects of an organization. Because many can’t afford entire teams, it is up to one person to manage all of the organization’s media relations, social media, website, etc. It can be overwhelming and challenging for some, because not everyone is good at every aspect of PR.

This is why Kelly stresses the value of having a network like PRSA — though you may be good at writing and not as skilled at creating websites, someone in your network likely is. You can usually bounce ideas off of one another or ask for help in certain projects. Kelly has a small team at the museum, but she says she still relies on PRSA along with another group she is part of for new ideas and tips.

During our meeting, Kelly also broke down some of the digital communications at the Toledo Museum of Art and some of the challenges of doing social media for a nonprofit.

Museums are 10-15 years behind the rest of the world, as Kelly likes to say. She explains that when a museum is looking to bring new things into their collection, they usually are looking to keep them forever. The environment of a museum is based around longevity, which can make for an interesting dynamic when they try to use digital communications that are based around continuous updates.

The museum created their Facebook in 2009. Today, they have more than 58,000 likes — but Kelly says that number is often misleading. Because of the way Facebook is set up, the museum’s posts don’t always show up in their fans’ feeds. This is because Facebook wants businesses to pay to promote their posts — something many nonprofits can’t afford to do. Because of this, only about 900 of the museum’s 58,000 fans see each post. A large post may get 9,000.

Kelly says that these results differ among nonprofits — some have the money to pay for promoted posts. Others have content that is more likely to be shared. Nonprofits that deal with animals tend to do well, because many people want to share photos of animals on their social media. This leads to more views than an organic post on the organization’s page.

The museum also has a Twitter, which was started even before their Facebook. They currently have more than 27,000, which is one of the biggest followings in the Toledo area. Twitter is a much more useful tool, because unlike Facebook, there isn’t a need for promoted posts in order to be seen. The museum also tends to create specific hashtags to encourage community engagement with events and exhibits — one such hashtag is the #GameOnTMA for their exhibit “The Art of Video Games,” which ends this Sunday.

The museum also uses hashtags on their Instagram, which they only have had for a year. They have around 150 followers, and one of the hashtags they use is #TMAmoment. People use the hashtag when they visit the museum to showcase their personal experience, and occasionally the museum will share their photos on its own Instagram.

The museum’s YouTube channel has more than 800 subscribers, and they have been experimenting with it for a while. At first, they would only post videos of lectures, which were more than an hour long. Because not many people will sit down to watch an hour-long video, they have tried to diversify their videos  to provide some shorter ones as well. While their panel discussions still can get around 100 views, their Art of Video Games commercial has more than 6,000. It is only 31 seconds long.

Overall, the museum tries to strike a balance between the generations who get their news online and those who like more traditional methods of communication.

Some additional PRSSA announcements:

BASH is looking for a PR representative to help promote BASHcon, their yearly convention. If you are interested in helping out, send us an email at utoledoprssa@gmail.com.

Starting this year, PRSSA members must at least pay the $10/semester chapter fees if they wish to go to PRSA luncheons, socials, agency tours, and any other events outside of regular meetings. Regular meetings will remain free and open to the public.

Our next meeting will be at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 in SU 2591. See you there!

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