Tag Archives: Charities

Productivity Tips for the New Year

By: Gina Mason

As we welcome 2015, many of us reflect on the past year and begin to think about all of the things that we can improve upon. One common New Year’s resolution that many people have (outside of losing weight or joining a gym) is to be more productive. In our world of constant connectivity, smartphones and multitasking, it is hard to stay productive when we have millions of distractions a day. For most of us, it seems like the days get shorter and we find ourselves saying, “if only, there were more hours in the day.”

I recently read a fantastic Huffington Post article titled, “12 Habits of Productive People” with some great tips on how productive people get things done effectively and efficiently. Here are a few of my favorite tips from the article, in hopes to help us all make 2015 our most productive year yet:

Don’t be chained to your email.
We have all done it, spent hours and hours scanning our inboxes and constantly hitting reply, send or delete. According to the expert, Robert Pozen, “email is one of the biggest barriers to productivity” because people “are overwhelmed” by it and “don’t know how to deal with it.” He suggests checking your email every hour or so and save time by skimming the subject lines.

Make your to-do list count.
One of my favorite things to do is to make to-do lists. Call it my Type-A personality or simply call me crazy, but I find them to be an incredibly helpful tool to stay organized. However, expert Adam Grant suggests, “starting off [your to-do list] with an easy task to provide a sense of momentum, then moving on to a grander or more important task. That way, the positive energy from the first task carries over to the second task.” Feeling sluggish after all of that work? Try “switching back to an easier task to rejuvenate and regain a sense of progress before going back to a harder, more time-consuming task.”

Have a plan for distraction.
Things happen all the time that keep us from getting work done. Keep yourself in the game and one step ahead by planning for distraction. Grant suggests trying to “anticipate any possible distractions and then come up with solutions for avoiding them.”

Sharing is caring.
The term “sharing is caring” comes to mind, but not for the traditional use. The article suggests that telling someone that you are working on something makes you more accountable. This “self-imposed accountability” will keep you on track because you won’t want to let that person down.

It only takes a few small changes to make you more productive and with time, these small changes can make huge difference. Here’s to a very happy, healthy, prosperous and productive New Year! Cheers to 2015!

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read be social and share.

Charities in Need of Media Attention

By: MJ Pedone

When I first founded Indra Public Relations, I listened to the needs of my clients and heard them loud and clear on why they wanted to hire a firm that offers everything needed to grow a business and that is why we offer a wide variety of in house services that includes, PR, nonprofit management, event planning and production, branding and celebrity integration.
Early on, I had many of my nonprofit clients come to me who were misinformed about earning press and didn’t understand why other organizations were front and center in the media. I had to explain that those other organizations have outstanding PR and marketing firms, but the ones that don’t, aren’t in the running for growing their funds as competitively as others that do.

Here are 3 reasons why your charity DOES NOT wins press coverage:

1. Those who benefit from your charity’s work are not in front of media enough. Most of the media opportunities you get should feature people your work helps. The best stories and those that drive donations to a charity, are the ones that tugs at people’s heartstrings. You need to bring a human element to the story to impact your charity’s work.

2. Your charity does too few public events. From a PR perspective, events are a key way to build relationships with the media and broader public. People (including media) like events, and there is no doubt that charity events generally have a feel-good vibe and are a nice counterpoint for journalists, because “news” is usually bad news.

3. Your leadership is not committed to raising the organization’s profile in the media. Like anything in business, very little is going to happen without real commitment from senior leaders. If your charity wants to take PR to the next level, you better have a leader at the top that understands the relationship between earned media and the bottom line.

If you want to let the world know about your amazing mission, then you need to have an experienced team of experts get the word out there for you. At Indra Public Relations, we are available to grow your business and meet your goals. http://www.indrapr.com

As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Giving Tuesday: A Reason to Give Instead of Spend

By: Gina Mason

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are three consecutive days out the year where many of us attempt to burn off all of those Thanksgiving calories by burning through our wallets and holiday shopping lists. What used to be a time spent with family and giving thanks for what we have, has now turned into a consumer-oriented shopping frenzy, filled with long lines and discounted electronics.

However, thanks to a brilliant viral movement /international fundraising event called, Giving Tuesday, people now are dedicating a day solely to giving back to great causes instead of spending money on materialistic goods. According to The Associated Press, Giving Tuesday, “was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the United Nations Foundation to kick start the critical holiday giving season after Thanksgiving.”

As you may have guessed, Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and it encourages people from around the world to “come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.” According to GivingTuesday.com, “It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving.”

Some of the ways to give include, donating your time or money to a worthwhile cause, getting involved in your community, spreading the important message of giving back on social media or simply doing something nice for someone else. The concept is simple, give back in any way you can to make the world a better place.

I had never heard of Giving Tuesday until I recently when saw a bunch of social media posts with the signature hashtag #GivingTuesday. To my surprise after a quick Google search, I found that Giving Tuesday has turned into huge international movement which has raised millions of dollars and helped organizations from all over the world.

Here are some of the outstanding numbers from this year’s Giving Tuesday:

• There was approximately $45.68 million dollars donated this year, a 63 percent increase over 2013
• The average gift was $154
• There were 32.7 million Twitter impressions with over 698,000 hashtag mentions
• There were 68 countries that participated in this year’s Giving Tuesday including Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador and Singapore
• There were over 15,000 participating nonprofits and 20,000 participating sponsors

It appears as though Giving Tuesday has grown dramatically over the past three years and many expect it to continue to grow in the coming years. According to AP, “Ken Berger of the nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator said the new annual phenomenon in philanthropy reflects a growing savviness around how to use social media to generate support for nonprofits. Giving Tuesday could become one of the top days of the year when people give, he said, though it’s not likely to trump Dec. 31 when many people make tax-deductible gifts.”

I think Giving Tuesday is a great reminder for us all to take a moment and help others in any way we can. I really hope this movement continues to gain momentum and awareness and more people can be positively impacted.

If you are interested in learning more about Giving Tuesday, be sure to check out the website: http://www.givingtuesday.org/

Lastly, mark Tuesday, December 1, 2015, on your calendars to get involved next year!

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

Charities Blogging To Make a Difference

Charities Blogging To Make a Difference

Author: MJ Pedone / March 21, 2013

In today’s world, they way in which we communicate has expanded through the social media outlets. Charities are seeing the availability of multiple social platforms and the opportunities for engagement, interaction and donor participation. Social media is for having a conversation online about particular aspects of the charity’s mission and fundraising initiatives and interacting with friends, followers and supporters making it a platform for building long term relationships. Although most groups share their news on Twitter and Facebook, there are several aspects that should be used in your communications plan to connect with constituents who you can cultivate over time. Although this alone won’t bring in a significant amount of money in the short term, it can lead to your long-term goal of raising funds and awareness for your cause.

I find that many organizations are rethinking the way they approach social communication through blog posts, which is a critical communications tool for charities. In fact, according to research by the University of Massachusetts, a higher percentage of charities have active blogs than any other category, which in fact, makes sense. Blogs are a cost-effective way to tell stories and build a consistent emotional connection with supporters and more importantly, a great way to thank your supporters for their help, good wishes and donations. This reinforces the power of social media and more importantly, the power of blogging.

While many organizations have adopted social media tools, linking tools to specific goals is still an evolving effort. Charities that clearly articulate how they are spending donors’ money have an easier time attracting and retaining supporters. Is this the new era of social giving? I think it is too soon to say but it is another great avenue for donors to gain knowledge and support a cause that is dear to them.

How is your charity or the charity you support demonstrating its impact to donors so they have a better understanding of their mission and how your support plays a major role?

I welcome all feedback and as always, if you like what you read, be social and share.

Interview with Today’s Movers & Shakers – Christina Hamlett Interviews MJ Pedone, CEO & President of Indra Public Relations

Whether your product is mousetraps, cupcakes or novels, however, getting the world to actually discover its existence takes more than random luck and word-of-mouth. Specifically, it takes a PR professional with tireless energy, exceptional communication skills, and passion for a multiplicity of challenges. MJ Pedone, CEO and Publicist of Indra Public Relations in the heart of New York City (http://www.indrapr.com), shares a glimpse of what this demanding career field is really all about.

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CH: What inspired you to launch Indra Public Relations?

MJ: The inspiration to launch Indra Public Relations originated when I first launched my sports firm, Pro Players Sports Marketing Group. After several years, my partner and I parted ways and I continued in the business and kept growing my contacts and relationships and working in the business while being a fit model. After I gave birth to my son Adam 3 ½ years ago, I decided to retire completely from modeling and launch Indra Public Relations full-time after I had clients begging me to work with them on a full-time basis since they had a hard time finding qualified people who they were happy working with. Needless to say, I haven’t stopped or slept much since!

CH: Tell us about the company name you chose and what it means.

MJ: The name of my company, Indra Public Relations, comes from a Buddhist word meaning the king of the gods – controller of the senses and the beauty and splendor of heaven. I chose that word based on my spiritual beliefs as well as wanting the name to relate to my beautiful father who watches me from Heaven.

CH: Over the years I’ve met no shortage of job-seeking individuals who are drawn to the “glam” of public relations like moths to a flame. Many of them also say, “I think I’d be good at this because I’m a ‘people person’.” Why is this attribute only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to attracting clients and managing successful campaigns?

MJ: Being a “people person” certainly helps in this business since you are working so closely with your clients in relaying their message to the public as well as producing some of their biggest events. With that said, you need to be able to conceptualize a successful PR strategy, pitch it to the appropriate media channels as well as juggle all requests, deadlines and manage expectations –  all of which is a 24/7 job in itself! Experience, knowledge and relationships are key in this business in order to succeed.

CH: Who – or what – in your own background best prepared you for the responsibilities of this highly demanding career choice?

MJ: I don’t know if there is any one person per se who can prepare you for this type of highly demanding profession. I did adhere to the advice of a senior publicist many years ago that said to put your best effort forward with every client and if you go unappreciated for your diligent effort and hard work, cut them loose and let somebody else have the headache. How right on she was but, fortunately, I have been blessed with many great clients and have signed a few more amazing ones just recently who I have to keep anonymous for now!

CH: What do you feel strongly distinguishes Indra Public Relations from the competition?

MJ: I believe what distinguishes us from the competition is the personal service that we give our clients, our relationships and the experience of our team members.  I also think we are quite unique because we really focus on the charitable work of our celebrity clients and bring it to the forefront.

CH: There’s no question that the effects of social media are being felt throughout the world and, further, that there’s a correlation to the number of people who are eschewing traditional channels of hiring a PR professional and going the do-it-yourself route. Is this cost-cutting strategy necessarily a good idea?

MJ: I think most individuals don’t understand that social media is just a slice of the communication pie in communicating your message. You still need professionals to package and deliver your message to the public and you still need the media to bring your message to the forefront of the world.

CH: Tell us about the Indra PR team and some of the unique talents and perspectives they bring to your agency.

MJ: Our team consists of attorneys, digital and social media specialists, publicists, event planners, sports agents and a fabulous ghostwriter all of whom have been in the field for almost two decades. Each member of my talented team brings a different perspective and they are all specialized in their area of practice which makes Indra Public Relations successful.

CH: Your clients are primarily celebrities that come from the sports and entertainment industries. What types of challenges does this level of prestige present in scheduling appearances and planning fundraising events?

MJ: The type of challenges working with celebrities are always based upon their playing, filming, recording and traveling schedules.  I do have the schedules for each of my clients and make sure when planning their fundraising events, that they don’t have anything going on a day or two prior or post event in order to get them on the air or to meet with the major sponsors prior to their event. As far as booking appearances, it is much more challenging as the celebrities keep such a hectic schedule to begin with, add to their calendar at any given moment and then need downtime for their family. Some organizations don’t understand the life of these stars or how their schedules can change instantly and then they have to cancel. It definitely presents a challenge and then it looks like it is our fault because they don’t understand that side of the business. I have learned to deal with it and I don’t let it get to me. It is the true business professionals who understand this business.

CH: You have a demonstrated passion for “giving back” to both your community and to the world. What are some of the charitable projects that are especially dear to your heart (and why)?

MJ: All of my charitable projects are especially dear to my heart because whatever I get involved in, I give 100%. Without being specific because of all the charitable clients that retain us, I will say that I love working with the educational and pediatric foundations as well as the disaster relief programs. It is such a great feeling to be able to work with many great foundations and causes that serve millions of people all over the world.

 

CH: Long before the popularity of Mad Men, there were a number of television shows in which the main characters either worked for an advertising/PR agency or were the owners of their own firm (Thirtysomething, Trust Me, Bosom Buddies, Who’s the Boss, Bewitched, Melrose Place). The episodes, however, rarely showed the characters during working hours, focusing instead on their personal lives – and, thus, fueling the misconception that PR is a 9-5-weekday job with long lunches, fabulous offices, and lots of downtime. From a real-life view, what is a work day typically like for you?

MJ: My clients have access to me 24/7 so the typical workday of 9:00-5:00 doesn’t really exist in my case.  My typical workday begins when everybody else is still asleep.  I do my best creative writing in the middle of the night and will write for three or four hours before I head to the gym, get myself ready for work and then get my son ready for school. Once I get to work, I begin answering emails, conference calls, meeting with clients, potential clients, pitching clients and, of course, we can’t forget doing crisis management which is an integral part of our business. After 5:00, I’m usually off to an opening of a restaurant, art gallery, movie premiere, charity event, gala or something else that is happening. When I do get home, I have to bathe my son, read books to him, check for monsters under the bed and tell him a make-believe story before he falls asleep. I’m then answering emails for an hour or two before I unwind and go to sleep for two or three hours and start all over again.

CH: What do you enjoy the most about the PR biz?

MJ: What I enjoy the most about the PR biz is when I get my clients national and international media coverage.  It is still just as exciting as it was the first time I experienced the media hit and, of course, all my relationships that I have built over the years in which I have created some very real friendships.

CH: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you about being your own boss?

MJ: The best advice I received about being my own boss was to treat your employees with respect, gratitude and reward them for their hard work and efforts.  Thus far, I have a very happy staff.

CH: What’s the best advice you’d give to a young person who wanted to break into this competitive field?

MJ: PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD! Then I would tell them to become a doctor.  They would get more sleep.  Lol.

If you have a question or would like more information on Indra Public Relations, please feel free to contact us. http://www.indrapr.com