Nonprofit PR in Action

FFLC_There is pressure to do whatever it takes to make the most money. However, in some cases and with some people, it is not the monetary outcome but rather the results of a job well done that suffice. This is definitely the case with Dawn Marie Woodward, media relations coordinator at Food for Lane County. Her passion is serving the public and ensuring that “No one goes to bed hungry,” a theme that is prevalent throughout the whole organization.

Gaining Insight

A typical day at Food for Lane County starts with Dawn checking her emails and seeing what the day has in store for her. She is adamant about making sure she keeps in touch with the public. This also is deeply rooted in her journalism background, namely, her career with KVAL as a news assignment editor. So, what made Dawn decide to start a career in nonprofits? “I have a real heart for people who are low income and struggling . I did a lot of volunteering through my church. A passion of mine is making sure people have the basics to live, and I have always supported Food for Lane County through food drives with my church,” Dawn said.  What does one do to be “passionate” about something? Dawn suggests going after whatever it is that makes you truly happy and to become a “jack of all trades.”

Breaking into the Industry

Dawn didn’t come by this job just by chance; it was her dedication and drive that took her to the top of the list. Her involvement in the community and within  local organizations helped her solidify a positive image. Dawn told me to gain as many skills as you can because in a nonprofit you are going to do more than your job description. You will do a number of things you didn’t think you were qualified for.” Therefore, it is important to be involved in as many projects to gain exposure before you take on the nonprofit world. Creating valuable networking connections is as crucial in this industry as it is in others.

Suggestions

Being a part of a nonprofit is not an easy task, especially with the knowledge that you will make significantly less money than in most fields. However, Dawn says, “I just think that if you are committed to working with nonprofits, that you find one you are passionate about because you have to realize you are going in to it with a different satisfaction.” She believes that  loving your job and coming in to work excited is payment enough. In terms of public relations, she believes it is imperative that you keep yourself connected to the media. Being a former editor, she knows that it is essential to any journalistic job to be aware of the news and events going on in the area.

I plan on keeping these ideals close to my heart as I enter the nonprofit world in 2014 and hope to one day feel like I truly made a difference.

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