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From the 2nd Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

PRLab Gives Back All Night Long in PRoBono 2016

Entered in Pro Bono

About this entry

PRLab provides semester-long PR deliverables for nonprofit and commercial entities. In addition, each fall, we host PRoBono, our annual overnight marathon of PR and advertising services. From 6 p.m. on November 4 through noon on November 5, 2016 (yes, all night), we collaborated with five Boston-based nonprofits, providing them with free public relations, marketing, and advertising services. Event objectives:

Give back to nonprofit organizations making a difference in our community. The clients lack the resources to develop strategic, effective communication plans. So while they are changing the world, PRLab worked behind the scenes, ensuring their stories get heard. The Strategy section includes specific client objectives.

Help PRLab account executives transform from students into well-rounded professionals. Account executives give up their Friday nights – and a full night's rest – to develop communication plans in 18 hours. They learn new skills, experience new platforms, collaborate with other students, begin to understand new audiences, and learn the importance of giving back. Students walk away with polished, professional materials for their portfolios, advice from PR professionals, and new connections for their networks.

Improve recruitment for the next semester of PRLab. Enrollment in the fall 2016 semester of PRLab was down by 30 percent from the spring 2016 semester. PRLab executive board members and faculty hoped PRoBono would raise awareness of the semester-long PRLab experience through by increasing social media event engagement by 50% and recruit new members to sign up for the spring 2017 semester.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Six PRLab students planned and managed the event using Google docs, emails and weekly meetings, and a lot of soda, candy and Red Bull to stay up all night. Planning included:

At the event, attendees heard opening talks from two Boston University professors: Dr. Edward Downes talking about the importance of pro bono work, and Dr. Arunima Krishna providing organizational tips to the students.

Then, both undergrad and graduate students met their clients, reviewed the scopes of work, and broke into teams to create action plans. After snack breaks and brainstorming, the teams spent all night bringing their deliverables to life. At 9 a.m., eight professionals and professors helped students finalize work and prepare the client presentations. At 11 a.m., clients returned to meet with their teams. While exhausted, the students completed professional presentations and discussed next steps and transitions with the clients.

Completed work included:


PR professionals and Boston University staff called PRoBono "exceptional" and a "sincerely great event," citing our "energy and passion" and "drive and determination." Event participation increased almost 100%, and social media event engagement rose 50%.


Gave back to nonprofit organizations making a difference in our community: Clients were surprised and impressed with the work quantity, creativity and overall quality. They all plan to use the materials. Three clients cried because they were so thankful and happy. The director for Skate for the 22, a non-profit hockey league helping veterans readjust to civilian life wrote, "You have had a VERY positive impact on the Foundation, and [Founder] Bobby Colliton and I will never forget that."

Helped PRLab account executives transform into well-rounded professionals: PRoBono students experienced teamwork, client service, strategy, and content creation, and attained portfolio-ready work. Mary Grace Alcaro, a PRoBono team member said, "We reconstructed Living Assistance Fund's brand, presenting them more professionally to attract the high-profile donors they're looking for. PRoBono reminded me to step out of my own college bubble and dedicate my time to something bigger than myself."

Improving recruitment for the next semester of PRLab: 10 PRoBono students joined PRLab, with a 50% increase in net enrollment of account executives from fall 2016 to spring 2017. PRoBono students who have not yet taken the prerequisite courses have said they will definitely join because of the PRoBono experience.


Video for PRLab Gives Back All Night Long in PRoBono 2016

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Boston University PRLab, On behalf of five local nonprofit organizations


Entry Credits