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Tips to Future Supervisors of PRLab’s PRoBono

By: Audrey Tumbarello

On Friday, November 3rd, at 6 p.m., around 110 students filtered into COM to start PRLab’s once-a-year event called PRoBono. This event lasted until 10 a.m. the following day. As a senior, it was my first and, unfortunately, last time attending PRoBono as an undergrad at BU. I say, unfortunately, because this communication marathon was one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences I have ever participated in. Throughout the night, as a supervisor, I learned so much about teamwork, leadership, and lots more. To future supervisors of PRoBono, here are four pieces of advice for you:

1. Plan Ahead:

All night as a supervisor, you work hand-in-hand with your director and account executives. But what about before the event? I was left questioning whether I should do pre-research on my assigned client, draft questions to ask the client once they came an hour after PRoBono started, and look up ideas for the assigned scope of work the nonprofit wanted my team to do. Looking back, the answer is an absolute yes. When the client came in to talk to the team, my AE’s tended not to have many questions to ask the client, possibly because they were shy, didn’t have any questions, or didn’t know what to ask. I ended up asking most of the questions to the client, but I realized I forgot to ask some vital questions for our success, such as when the nonprofit gala would be hosted. Lucky for my team and I, my director knew the client and could answer any extra questions we had. My advice is to prepare ahead of time with questions and ideas. It will set you and your team up for success right from the start. I also believe it will make your experience a little less stressful.

2. Put individual talents to work:

PRoBono is excellent because anyone at Boston University can join. It doesn’t matter what major, as long as they attend the institution, they can participate in the 16-hour overnight marathon. That said, my team was filled with various majors and minors. From advertising and PR to data science, I realized the importance of putting their skills to work. My teammate, who minored in data science, helped us with analytics and statistics. One of my account executives mentioned that she was great at graphic design, so I assigned her to graphic design on social media. I ultimately believed this made our final product so outstanding. By using my AE’s individualized talents, we created material that our client couldn’t stop thanking us for. My tip is to ask what everyone would like to do at the beginning, as well as what their strengths are. From there, you can delegate tasks and make sure they are having as much of an enjoyable experience as you are.

3. Constantly check in with AE’s:

Communication is key. Throughout the night, students fall sick, some get tired, and some stay for the long haul. I recognized throughout the night the importance of checking up with them. In the beginning, I was trying to manage 24 students, and it was inevitable that some of them would go home, but I forgot to communicate with my AE’s. As the night passed and more people got tired, I realized that “Hi, how are you doing?” could go a long way at 2 a.m.

To have a great experience, the supervisor and director have to check up with their AE’s consistently. It helps create a better atmosphere, and you will likely bond with your AE’s when you do so.

4. Have fun:

The most important thing I learned from this experience is to remember to have fun. At times, PRoBono can be overwhelming. For instance, at 1 a.m., my team forgot to make a Giving Tuesday Social Media Campaign because of a miscommunication between my director and me. It was hectic in the moment, but that moment in particular was when my AE’s and I connected the most. We started dancing to music to wake ourselves up, and we talked about life, all while getting this campaign done. This was one of the best experiences I have yet to have at BU, and I know it will be yours too. It was a memory that will be talked about for a long time. You meet some of the most excellent, driven students at BU, all while doing the thing we all love most: PR.


About the Author:

Audrey Tumbarello is a fourth-year student from Southern California majoring in journalism and minoring in public relations. She is currently an Account Supervisor at PRLab for Inclusive Fitness and Aaron’s Presents. Outside of PRLab, Audrey is a PR intern for Guyer Group focusing on AI and Cybersecurity.

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