Nonprofit vs. Agency PR

Which way is the right direction?

Which way is the right direction?

I really want to get some feedback from people with experience in public relations on how they feel about their jobs. It sounds super broad, doesn’t it? Whether it be agency work or nonprofit — I’m still deciding what I want to do. I only have experience in nonprofit work, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I have worked with a local nonprofit in Lane County (where I live in Oregon) and with the American Cancer Society. Working with them, I feel like I’m really making the world a better place.

I was talking to my professor, Tiffany Derville, and she suggested that maybe nonprofit is a better fit for me because I enjoy all the aspects of PR- and that is what I’d be doing if I work with one specific nonprofit organization. I like making the brochures and the newsletters… jobs that I might not be able to do at other places. But I really don’t know. I’m looking for internships and hoping to line up another nonprofit, but I’d like to hear what other people think or what they love about their job. Thanks for the help and I need all the advice I can get. It’s my last year of school and I’m a little stressed!

On another note, I am now learning the importance of blogging. Are companies now looking at blogs as a basis of whether or not to hire potential employees?


5 Responses to Nonprofit vs. Agency PR

  1. Sara says:

    I had the same query when I was a senior, so I got internships in small agencies and non-profits.

    In the end, I liked both environments, so when job hunting began I applied for jobs in both sectors. In the end, I found an AMAZING small agency here in Eugene that works with a lot of non-profits and small business.

    If I can give you any advice, it’s this: we’re young and now is the time to try things in your career just to see if they make you happy. Taking risks and going after things because they seem cool is the major benefit to being young, driven and talented.

    Good luck!

  2. finalspin says:

    My career (in Canada) so far has been divided fairly evenly between government and non-profits – no agencies.

    As a government employee, I like the resources, the fact that you learn from colleagues and coach. Access to training is much better.

    As a non-profit flack, I like the freedom, the more creative environment, the clarity of mission and very often, clarity of results. It’s more fun, at least when you’re not buried in work to your ears.

    Since Sara above offers a piece of advice, I’ll go with one of my own: prepare to be mobile. There are great opportunities out there for those willing to move around for a few years. It’s not a “go to the big city” thing. The job that will give you the great experience might be in Chicago, the next one in Tampa Bay, the one after that in Calgary. That’s what worked for me anyway.

  3. afishner says:

    I have been thinking about the same thing. I think non-profit will be where I end up. I want to have the flexibility of doing all kinds of PR instead of one specified job.

  4. I started out as an intern in Hill & Knowlton’s Washington, DC office. That experience led me to a full time producer’s position in H&K’s media services division, then to a media relations job at H&K Newport Beach handling press for Mazda, then to a media job at GCI Group working on Toshiba, etc.

    I can’t say enough about the breadth and depth of experience that an agency gig can provide. I’d suggest that anyone interested in PR start at an agency, then you can move onto your chosen speciality from there.

    Good luck!

  5. ninouye says:

    Wow! You all gave me some great information on internships, and I deeply appreciate all of your suggestions. Since this post, I have obtained two nonprofit internships, and I feel they fit me perfectly. Thanks again!

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