How to Start Your PRSSA Year on the Right Foot

Courtesy of Ben Butler.

I hope you’re enjoying your time off this summer, because you’ve earned it. However, it’s time to get to work.

Successful PRSSA years are solidified well before the semester even begins. Although you may have started planning earlier than this summer (and I hope you have), the success of your year is determined by the work that you do right now.

Here are a few steps to get your PRSSA year started on the right foot:

Get Your Executive Board on the Same Page

Now is the time to refine your communication strategies. With technology, there are no excuses for not connecting your executive board. If you haven’t already, then be sure to set up a brief conference call or video chat to get everyone up to speed. Also use this time as a sounding board for ideas and expectations for the upcoming year.

Prepare Your Year — Now

Again, it’s wise to plan your PRSSA year at least six months in advance, but it’s not too late to do so now. After you get your executive board connected, bring them together to chart out the events for the year.

What do you want members to experience, gain and accomplish? Once you answer those three fundamental questions, then you’ll be able to assemble events around them.

Talk to Your Members

“Summertime” is not an excuse to take a break from communicating with your Chapter. You’ll negatively affect your retention rate and the passion of your members by not reaching out.

Have your executive board construct a brief introduction email. Reintroduce yourselves, discuss what and who PRSSA is (a national pre-professional organization) and let members know you’ll be announcing the year’s events. Follow up with a full event schedule that you’ve constructed and let them know that you’re available for conversation about any concerns.

Highlight Members

You also may want to take a more creative approach to communicating by featuring your members and what they’re doing this summer. Does someone have an internship or other relevant experience? Get their story, a photo and share it through your platforms.

Prepare for National Events

All of the details about the PRSSA 2014 National Conference in Washington, D.C., are available. Now is the time to consolidate your resources and figure out how you can get there, how many members you can bring and how you’ll select those attendees. Lean on your Faculty Adviser, Professional Adviser and your college to help you discover how to make your trip possible.

Get National

PRSSA National President Heather Harder recently discussed this here.

Your Chapter doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are over 330 other Chapters, the PRSSA National Committee and the Champions for PRSSA out there. Communicate with them, utilize them and establish relationships with them.

Also, do yourself a favor and stay up-to-date with Chapter News, the PRSSA Style Guide and PRSSA National social media platforms. There’s no excuse not to.


Ben Butler is a former PRSSA National Committee member and the founder and president of Top Hat IMC — an integrated marketing communications firm in Wexford and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and on Twitter @BenButlerPR.


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