[By Andrew Munday]

It started as a classroom discussion and ended with a Sheridan PRCC first.

During one of instructor Emily MacKenzie’s Public Relations and Philanthropy lessons, the class discussed non-profits with which they have engaged. The description of one such organization— the wolf sanctuary Wolf Haven – inspired the class to do something no previous PRCC class has ever done before: adopt a wolf.

The class perused the possible adoptees on the non-profit’s website and then voted for our favourites. Eventually, we decided on Bart— a majestic and photogenic grey wolf— and pooled together funds to cover his adoption fee.

This endeavour united the class toward achieving a common goal, but it also gave us insight into how to engage audiences effectively within the arena of non-profit PR.

First, we learned the value of storytelling.

When Bart’s adoption package arrived, the class received a biography of Bart’s life. Within it, we learned of his upbringing, the journey that brought him to Wolf Haven and his relationships with other wolves at the sanctuary.

This tale gave us not only a sense of connection with Bart, but also a better understanding of the important work that Wolf Haven does. This is a powerful piece of PR that can create lifelong relationships with donors.

We also learned about the power of rewards.

Of course, when it comes to non-profit, donating to a good cause is rewarding in itself, but sometimes people need a little extra incentive. Fortunately, Wolf Haven has that covered.

The package we received included an adoption certificate, a large photo of Bart and smaller pictures for each student to take home. It’s one thing to know you’ve helped an adorable animal in need, but it’s quite something else to see him on your fridge every day.

Whether or not Sheridan PRCC continues the tradition in the future, here’s hoping that next year’s class engages with a non-profit in a similar way. In giving to a good cause, we received much in return.

(Photo by hansbenn via Pixabay)