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What’s Next for Association Communications? Engage Your Members, Stakeholders and the Media


Seminar hand-outs may only be available to Association / Nonprofit Section members; sign into MyPRSA to download these materials

June 30, 2011 | Alexandria, Va.

Effectively engaging members and the media has never been more important in this challenging marketplace. The PRSA Association/Nonprofit Section seminar, "What’s Next for Association Communications? Engage Your Members, Stakeholders and the Media" offers dynamic discussions and case study presentations to optimize your communications to not only connect but have resonance in online stakeholder communities. Join your colleagues at this event and learn how to:

  • Optimally engage current members and attract new prospects.
  • Apply strategic insight from successful case studies and industry leaders.
  • Update your social media strategy to increase communication among key stakeholders.
8:30–9 a.m.
Registration & Continental Breakfast
9–9:15 a.m.
Jennifer Schleman, APR, chair-elect, PRSA Association/Nonprofit Section
9:15–10 a.m.
"Creating Connections: How to Use Social Media to Proactively Promote Your Issues and Engage Your Stakeholders"

This presentation will discuss the challenges of using social media to communicate to your intended audience. It will highlight some of the steps the International Food Information Council Foundation has taken in social media to successfully connect with key audiences. Examples will include Twitter chats with the IFICMedia and FoodInsight handles, FoodInsight Facebook page and the blog.
Eric Mittenthal, MS, director, media relations, International Food Information Council. Mittenthal leads the Foundation’s efforts in communicating with journalists and bloggers and also manages the blog. Mitthental came to the Foundation following a career as a television reporter and producer in several markets around the country, most recently working for WAGA-TV, the Fox affiliate in Atlanta. Previously he also served as the Jacksonville Bureau Chief for WCTI-TV, the ABC affiliate in New Bern, NC and was a reporter for KIFI-TV, the ABC affiliate in Idaho Falls, ID. During his time as a reporter, Eric covered numerous major stories including Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Marine training and deployments from Camp Lejeune during the Iraq war and the 2008 Atlanta tornado. Mittenthal is a member of the National Press Club and has led several media training workshops on a variety of topics from risk communications to nutrition to social media. Connect with Mittenhal on Twitter at @IFICMedia.
10:15–11:30 a.m.
"Not a Bond Cocktail: Shaking and Stirring the Right Ingredients for Effective Online Membership Engagement"
Using the efforts of the International Sign Association (ISA) as a case study, the session will look at how associations can successfully leverage Web technology to drive member retention, acquisition and engagement. Betts and Singleton are in the trenches every day and will share what works.
[Presentation: "Social Media Primer for Associations & Nonprofits," Balance Interactive White Paper.]
Moderator: Tracy Betts, CEO, Balance Interactive. Betts leads the strategic direction of Balance Interactive while managing new business opportunities and providing valuable support to clients. Since founding Balance Interactive in 1997 she has maintained a results-driven approach for clients and believes that Balance Interactive creates value for our clients by staying focused on business outcomes. Betts researches and maintains the highest understanding of emerging technologies. She enjoys leveraging the various web disciplines with her sense for business strategy to ensure optimum results for clients. Connect with Betts on Twitter at @tracybetts.
Panelist: Sarah Singleton, director of marketing, International Sign Association. Singleton has worked at ISA for more than 7 years. Singleton is responsible for marketing ISA's programs and services, and manages the association’s websites and social media networks. In her position, she has enjoyed nurturing the growth of ISA’s online social networks from their debut and has seen first-hand the positive impact associations have on network building. During ISA’s recent annual trade show, the International Sign Expo, the association saw a 75% increase in member engagement among its social networks. Connect on Twitter at @ISA_Signs.
11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
"Maximizing Association Resources: Where to Find the Biggest Return for the Smallest Investment"
Doing more with less is a way of life for association public relations. Jeff Ghannam will go beyond social media and share tried-and-true tactics for successfully promoting your association on a microscopic budget. From how he used 5,000 Krispy Kreme doughnuts (donated, of course) to get free publicity to how to negotiate free exhibit space, Ghannam will offer insight on how to utilize free or inexpensive tools and techniques, to bolster your association’s bottom line.
Jeff Ghannam,
president, Crystal Communications & Marketing. Ghannam has more than 20 years of experience in association and nonprofit communications and journalism. He counsels clients on how to conduct public relations on a grand scale no matter the size of their budget. Ghannam started his career as a reporter at Newsday. He is also the immediate past president of the PRSA National Capital Chapter. Connect with Ghannam on Twitter at @ghannam4.
12:15–1 p.m.
Lunch and Networking
1–2:15 p.m.
"Evolve: How to Reach the Media in 2011"
Telling your organization’s story to today’s media means presenting messaging that can be re-packaged across news mediums, from podcasts to  twitter feeds, and stimulate ongoing engagement. The PRSA 2011 Association Seminar panel will walk you through which pitches are cutting through the clutter, and how to connect with today’s reporters and bloggers on pieces they are eager to cover, from trade media exclusives to greater trends pieces.
Jennifer Strohm is vice president of Van Eperen & Company (VE & Co.), an award-winning, strategic communications consulting firm in Bethesda, Md. For more than a decade, Strohm has helped both national and regional associations achieve their goals through strategic media relations. She has developed and executed media campaigns for such clients as the Aerospace Industries Association, Hearing Loss Association of America and the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Strohm holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland and a M.A. in Publication Design from the University of Baltimore.
Sabrina Kidwai is media relations manager at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), which she joined in December 2006. She is responsible for managing all of ACTE’s media activities, including responding to media inquiries, developing and executing media plans, and providing media relations advice for members. She is a board member for the PRSA National Capital Chapter, and served as co-chair for the PRONet committee coordinating and planning monthly networking events for the committee. She is an alumnus of the IEL Education Policy Fellowship Program in Washington, DC. Before joining ACTE, Kidwai served as media relations director for a small nonprofit in South Carolina, and she worked as an account manager for a high-tech public relations firm. Kidwai received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and her M.A. in Public Administration from the University of South Carolina.
Sheri Singer is president of Singer Communications. During her 25 years of award-winning communications experience, Sheri Singer has worked with more than 35 associations, including the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the YWCA and teh American Society of Appraisers. Currently, she is the PRSA-National Capital Chapter's Nonprofit/Association Co-Chair. She started her firm Singer Communications 10 years ago, specializing in strategic communication services for nonprofit clients. Before starting her firm, Singer was a VP for top PR agencies, including Ketchum, and the director of communication for various nonprofits.
Moderator: Jessica Sidman, reporter, BisNow   
2:15–2:30 p.m.
2:30–3:45 p.m.
"Advocating for Your Members and Industry: Influencing the Issue Environment"
Position your organization for success with in-depth analyses and strategies from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Explore how PRSA leverages ethics-based programs including The Business Case for Public RelationsTM to effectively advocate on behalf of communicators and the industry at large.
Moderator: Jennifer Schleman, APR
3:45–4 p.m.
Wrap-Up and Final Thoughts