As we step into 2020, it’s time to reflect on some of our greatest achievements to date. But why now? If entering a new decade isn’t a strong enough reason to celebrate, well, here’s another one... As we were preparing for a busy festive season, we also marked our second anniversary at Preflect! Yes, that's two years of helping very deserving causes get their voices heard in their local communities.
But who are we? For those who may not know us, we’re a team of PR graduates who decided to embark on a unique adventure two years ago. As then PR interns, we brought together our skills and knowledge to help small, local charities and community groups who cannot yet afford a PR agency, or those who just need an extra pair of hands to communicate with their audiences.
Of course, we did (and we still do!) everything free of charge – we are a PR charity, a group of comms volunteers... call us what you prefer! Throughout our internships, our final year at university and the beginning of our career in PR, we've never lost sight of Preflect and the potential it has to change the lives of so many charities and community groups around us.
We've spent many evenings and weekends working close with charitable groups across the UK, providing tailored advice, scheduling social media content or pitching in stories to top-tier media.
No doubt 2019 has been a great year for Preflect, but also a big milestone for us individually. All three of us graduated from Bournemouth University with a First in Public Relations and headed to London to continue our careers in PR. Our jobs have taken us to very different sectors, but one thing always unites us: we are determined to help others see your cause the way you see it every day.
Here are some of our biggest highlights so far…
Fighting hate crime
Prejudice Free Dorset (PFD), an innovative project run by a group of partners from across the public and third sectors, was in need of additional resources to establish an active and consistent online presence. Our job wasn't simple: we were given the opportunity to breathe new life into this amazing initiative, and ensure the PFD name gets its well-deserved recognition in the online world.
Within a few weeks, PFD boasted over a hundred followers across Twitter and Facebook, and we continued to produce engaging content to cater for the charity's wide range of audiences. Our efforts paid off in October 2019, when PFD's 'No Place for Hate' conference saw dozens of attendees engaging with the organisation on both platforms, live tweeting, sharing their feedback and reaching out for support.
Of course, we're not done yet... And we are working on some big, exciting projects for Prejudice Free Dorset in the background. More to be revealed soon!
With concerts, football matches and other exciting activities happening all across Wales and Hungary, we soon realised there’s more to the Welsh-Hungarian friendship than many would imagine. And what started out as some pro bono PR for Cardiff’s annual Welsh-Hungarian Concert soon turned into Magyar Cymru – an umbrella brand we launched in November 2019 to unite everything Welsh-Hungarian and build up a truly bicultural audience, online and offline.
Within a month, Magyar Cymru had hundreds of followers across our trilingual Twitter, Facebook and Tŵt pages – as we continued to produce engaging daily content in English, in Hungarian and occasionally in Welsh. Shortly after, our blog went live, serving as the central hub of the Magyar Cymru brand.
Our team’s native Hungarian skills and sound knowledge of the Welsh media landscape sure played to our advantage. When Wales took on Hungary for a memorable Euro 2020 football qualifier, Magyar Cymru caught the eyes of the media and we successfully secured an extensive piece of coverage on BBC Cymru Fyw (the BBC’s Welsh-language service) on Wales’ Hungarian residents and their fascinating history.
We didn’t stop for the holidays, either! Just before Christmas Eve, our story about Hungary’s “Welshest village” landed on the homepage of BBC News, on WalesOnline, in some of Hungary’s most popular online news outlets… and in the hands of over 20,000 Daily Post readers across North Wales. With nine pieces of coverage in three languages, and around 15 thousand impressions on our social media content, the remote village of Kunágota became a bridge between Welsh people and Hungarians for many years to come.
Standing up for equality
The Dorset Race Equality Council (DREC) reached out to us in October last year with a very important challenge. We were asked to revisit their communications strategy and help them stay true to their comms aims and objectives. The small, but lovely team at DREC work extremely hard to educate people across Dorset about race equality and provide support to minority groups – so we really needed to put our thinking caps on and address the challenge at its core.
We soon realised DREC’s strength lies in its very supportive network of partner organisations, so we harnessed their power to create a sustainable way to crowdsource content for its social channels. What’s more, we helped the Bournemouth-based charity with a comprehensive strategy document, along with crucial SMART objectives and a range of appropriate tactics tailored to their needs and capacity. Follow DREC on Twitter to learn about the great things they do across Dorset!
Learning from history
In early 2018, we put our design and copywriting skills to test. First, we wrote and designed the programme brochure for Dorset’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) event, which landed in the hands of over 400 attendees. But more importantly, we set out to help the hard-working HMD Committee reach more people than ever before – by designing their bespoke website, which we then handed over through a series of one-to-one coaching sessions.
The site went live in time for the big commemorative event, which gathered hundreds of people from across Dorset to remind them of the harrowing events of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. Two years on, we are looking forward to working even closer with the Committee as they continue their important work in Bournemouth and Poole.
Building our network
As a small charity, we're proud to have a few valuable memberships in the bag! Among them is the wonderful Small Charities Coalition, which represents small charities at a national level and is all about building effective and lasting relationships between its member organisations.
But there’s more! We want to be part of the communities we work in – this is why we are a long-standing member of Dorset Community Action (DCA), the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), Chester Voluntary Action and Brighton & Hove’s Community Works.
We say networking is halfway to success in PR… and there’s always room to improve and expand our knowledge. This is why you’ll find us at public relations and charity sector events across London and beyond. Or whatever our charity clients can benefit from the most… memorial days, Christmas markets, you name it!
These are just some of our best moments so far. But no doubt we've got many more proud memories to reflect on!
Over the years, we have worked closely with Dorset's leading advocacy charity, helping their hard-working team of experts get to grips with stakeholder management, effective internal communications and visual storytelling.
Preflect also took us to North Wales, where we assisted an amazing little charity which makes a real difference in the lives of adults with learning disabilities. We worked with their Board of Trustees to improve their digital literacy skills, better understand social media and use their various communication channels to their advantage.
As PR graduates, we are always keen to give back to the student community too! In summer 2019, we were very delighted to be invited by Bournemouth University staff to produce and deliver a live crisis communications exercise for MA Corporate Communications students. It was amazing to see how students would handle a PR crisis for a charity with very little resources – definitely tougher than it sounds!
Of course, we’re full of plans for 2020, so keep an eye on our Twitter and our website. Until then, have a very Happy New Year, from all of us at Preflect!