Students’ public relations campaign helps local non-profit

HUNTINGTON, IN Three students in Huntington University's Adult Degree Programs joined with a local non-profit in Columbia City, Ind., to reduce the number of babies born in Whitley County with low birth weight. BABE of Whitley County Inc., formerly Beds and Britches Etc., also offers prenatal meetings for expecting mothers, and provides other incentives to ensure that children have a healthy start in life.

Rachel Vinson, the marketing and public relations class instructor, asked her students to create a public relations campaign proposal for a local not-for-profit organization. Tonya Horvath, Melissa Hall and LeeAnn Herron offered to create a campaign for BABE.

Horvath first met with Shawn Ellis, executive director of BABE, to discuss ideas for the campaign. Horvath, Hall and Herron then deliberated for a few weeks, and met again with Ellis to propose their idea to increase brand awareness and build donor relationships.

"Our group targeted people who we felt would most likely donate $50 to $500," Horvath said. "BABE currently only receives grants, so they needed help finding another source of income."

The students suggested that BABE align all printed pieces with the organization's brand, coordinate staff shirts for sponsored events with the BABE logo, purchase a street banner with the logo to display at the building, and offer bumper stickers for donors to place on cars and windows.
After the presentation, Ellis told to the group that she was impressed with their proposal, and decided to present the campaign to BABE's board of directors.

"I enjoyed taking what I've been learning and putting it into practice," Horvath said. "It was the best experience I could have asked for to see (Ellis's) face after our presentation and witness how what we created helped an actual not-for-profit organization."