Choose a PR Track to focus on during your internship. You will spend a significant portion of your internship working on the track.
Option 1: Congressional Relations Track
In this track, you will request meetings with the three Congressional leaders who represent you. The meetings will take place in your state and during the meetings you will advocate for key poverty-reduction legislation. Borgen Project interns frequently get meetings with members of Congress, but most likely the meetings will be with Congressional leaders.
- Advantage: You get to be a lobbyist for the world’s poor! Aside from the President, there are essentially 535 people (Congress) who determine how many people will live or die next year. You have the opportunity to utilize your affiliation with The Borgen Project to put pressure on three of those people and their staff.
- Disadvantage: Most offices are happy to meet with people who live in their district, however other offices you will need to work hard to land meetings. Either way, with this assignment you’re expected to meet with at least two of your three leaders. For offices that don’t get back to you, plan on lots follow up phone calls, mobilizing a dozen constituents per week to contact that Congressional office, social media efforts and attending events the leader is speaking at.
Expectation: Ideally meet with three Congressional offices, but a minimum of two is required. If you have ties to more than one Congressional District (attend college in Dallas, but parents live in Tulsa) you can try to get meetings with leaders from both areas. Turn in the Lobbying Meeting Request spreadsheet each week to your manager along with your weekly tracker document. A Lobbying 101 training session is required prior to meeting with any office.
Option 2: Event Planning Track
Like most nonprofits, The Borgen Project has a love/hate relationship with events. Fundraising events can be a great way to engage people, but they also require a lot of time and rarely get the turnout expected. Being an Event Planner can be a lot of fun, but this is by far the most time-intensive track. Be sure to create an event strategy.
- Advantage: There’s something amazing about bringing people together… especially around a great cause. With this assignment you have the opportunity to create any type of event you desire (black tie, college party fundraiser, auction, bar night, basketball camp, etc.).
- Disadvantage: You’ll be operating completely on your own, with no help from your manager and under a short time-frame. The organization hears from a lot of people who eagerly want to do an event, but fast forward a couple of months and few have followed through on those events. For this reason the organization no longer invest resources or staff time into helping with events. That said, we love hearing about about Borgen Project events people have done. We frequently post the pictures people send us around the office.
Expectation: The event should have a minimum of 20 people and raise $600 or more. Provide photos of the event and money raised within 5-days of the event. The total minimum fundraising amount for this PR track is $1,100.
Tip: Don’t focus on the event, focus on getting people to the event. One of the most common mistakes we see is people investing 90% of their energy on what the event should be like (colors of napkins, venue, food, etc.). Forget all of that. None of that matters if only 8 people show up. Event fundraising is a numbers game, the more people you have in attendance the more you can raise.
Option 3: Celebrity Ambassador Track
Like it or not, we live in a celebrity obsessed world. The most viewed article on BORGEN Magazine wasn’t about hunger being reduced in Africa, it was about One Direction visiting Africa. Celebrities have platforms and in this track you will find a way to utilize celebrity involvement to raise awareness.
- Advantages: Ten years ago this would have been an incredibly difficult process involving trying to determine and contact publicist… Who probably wouldn’t care enough to pass the nonprofit request along to the celebrity they work for. Today, with Twitter you can directly contact and/or get the attention of most celebrities.
- Disadvantages: You will need to contact 50-60 celebs to improve your odds. Trying to connect with someone in Hollywood will take persistence and lots of follow-up.
Expectation: You must secure one celebrity to act on behalf of The Borgen Project (record a PSA, tweet, mention the organization in media, photographed wearing a shirt, etc.). Download the Celebrity Outreach Tracker spreadsheet and turn it into your manager each week along with your weekly tracker document.
Tip: Don’t spend too much time on “A-list” celebrities. While we would love to have Beyonce involved, the likelihood of connecting with her is quite small. Try for lessor known celebs linked to popular shows (aka. the Game of Thrones cast).