Headshot Happy Hour: An Invaluable Fundraising Event

According to CareerBuilder, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. Furthermore, nearly half of employers say they use social networking sites to research current employees — 10 percent do it daily.

Online professionalism is a priority in establishing respectability and credibility to your employers and the people you network with.

At Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Michigan, PRSSA spearheaded ‘Headshot Happy Hour’ — a fundraising event providing professional headshots to all students and faculty on our campus. 

Our event was a huge success, being shared by professors, departments and clubs outside of OU’s Department of Communication, Journalism and Public Relations. We raised nearly $100 over two days, were featured on the front page of the student newspaper and had the largest turnout at our student body meeting (held the same week) in over two years. 

We saw this event as a recruitment tool to gain exposure and market ourselves as the foremost organization for professional development. OU’s PRSSA Chapter celebrated its two-year anniversary in October, and with 18 active members, we are motivated to grow our membership and provide opportunities for professional growth. 

When it comes to hosting events and workshops, it’s about promotional efforts, hard work and detailed planning. 

Above all, the most valuable piece of advice we can offer you is this: It’s not about the size of your Chapter; it’s about the size of your efforts.

  • When planning, have a goal in mind. Are you aiming to raise a certain amount, see a certain influx of members/potential members attend your event? Plot out your goal and structure your event around your target (also helpful when writing your semester report). We aimed to raise $100 and priced our event accordingly to reach that goal.
  • Advertise. Advertise. Advertise — both digital and non-digital promotion. From flyers to social media shares, your Chapter’s growth is dependent on your dedication to promoting events. This is where creativity comes into play. Utilize the branding of your PRSSA Chapter to make the connection between the event you are offering and your organization as a whole. Social media travels fast — OU’s official Instagram shared our event without us even contacting them. Get the word out as soon as you can.
  • Could your event be useful to other student organizations on campus? Collaborate with or promote your event to other student organizations who could learn, network or appreciate the product you are offering. With Headshot Happy Hour, we promoted our event to the School of Business Administration, a college we saw could reap the rewards of having a professional headshot. 

No idea is too small, no proposal is impossible. The challenges you face being a leader in your organization are the same obstacles you will come across in the workforce. 

Create the event not just for your members, but for yourself as a leader. 

Hone your talents and expand your knowledge in PRSSA so you will stand uniquely experienced in the PR and communications field.


Lauren Reid is a senior at Oakland University (OU) majoring in public relations & strategic communications and minoring in English and communication. She is the President of OU’s PRSSA Chapter and would like to work in sports or entertainment in the future. In her free time, Lauren loves watching Red Wings hockey and hanging out with her dog, Scout. Connect with her on LinkedIn

Kaleigh Wright is a senior at Oakland University (OU) with a major in journalism. She serves as secretary and chair of programming & event planning for OU’s PRSSA Chapter. From reporting for NPR to displaying art in the Tallahassee, FL capitol, Kaleigh has had a rich experience in pursuing her passions. After graduation, she aspires to apply her communication and creative skills to the arts and culture world. Outside of her studies and PRSSA, Kaleigh enjoys cooking and gardening. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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