One of the hardest parts of leading a PRSSA Chapter, big or small, is encouraging members to take advantage of their PRSSA benefits, attend PRSSA events and create a social community within the Chapter. There are many ways to hone in on your Chapter’s strengths to do just this. At Indiana University, we decided to try something new to create opportunities for our members to learn and grow in the public relations field. Most importantly, we wanted to have a community within PRSSA and make it fun to be a part of it. Thus, we created the PR Pods.
The purpose of PR Pods is to make the Chapter feel smaller for our members, create accountability and create fun incentives for members to get and stay involved in the organization. Here are the steps we took to get started:
- Send out applications and ask all interested members to fill them out
- After reviewing the responses, make Pods with five to six members each
- Hold a mass meeting so everyone can meet
- Allow general members to take on a leadership opportunities as the leader of their Pod, keeping members accountable and reporting points
In addition to the social aspect, we wanted the Pods to benefit the organization as a whole as well. Therefore, members will be rewarded if at least half of their pod shows up to social, professional or general events hosted by PRSSA. The leader of the Pod would then report the activity to the director of membership who keeps track of the Pod members and points. Below is how the point system is structured:
- Social event outside of PRSSA – 5 points
- PRSSA general event – 3 points
- PRSSA social event – 3 points
- Using a PRSSA hashtag – 2 points
- Post on Instagram or Facebook – 3 points
- Blogging for PRSSA – 2 points
Pods with the most points have first pick for agency tours and National Conference spots, are guaranteed a question at alumni events and will have a featured spotlight on our blog. From this model, we have seen an increase in engagement on social media and attendance at our events.
How does your Chapter create a fun and rewarding community for its members?
Emma Tiernon is a senior journalism and informatics student at Indiana University. She is actively involved in campus recreational sports, a member of Kappa Delta Sorority and the director of membership for the Beth Wood Chapter of PRSSA. Connect with Emma on LinkedIn and Twitter.