PRoBono in the Past
Most college students have pulled all-nighters before exams or final presentations, but this is unlike any other late-night cram session.
Every year, Boston University students gather in the College of Communication for PRoBono, PRLab’s annual overnight hack-a-thon styled communications marathon where students work overnight to develop, design, and create tangible deliverables for deserving non-profit organizations.
This year, we’re excited to be working together in person again! Join us for an exciting night of games, PR celebrity appearances, fantastic prizes, and much more, November 5 from 6 p.m. – November 6 at 10 a.m.
PRoBono 2020 Recap
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PRoBono looked a little different in 2020. The event was comprised of virtual teams who worked over Zoom – from around the world – to complete work for three clients. To avoid Zoom fatigue, we moved away from the traditional all-night “hackathon” style event to an event done in shifts. The event began the night of Friday, December 4, 2020, and lasted until Saturday, December 5, at 12 pm EST with a 6-hour break from midnight to 6 a.m. EST. Though we couldn’t provide food, we conducted games online to keep the 69 students involved.
PRoBono 2019 Recap
It wasn’t your average college all-nighter. Armed with pizza, snacks, plenty of caffeine – and a whole lot of spirit, savvy, and smarts – more than 120 BU students came together for PRoBono 2019, our 7th annual overnight communications PR-a-thon on behalf of five nonprofit organizations:
- Albert Ellis Institute
- Cancer Education Research Institute
- Dinero Chronicles
- Fenway Community Center
- Universal Human Rights International
For 16 hours, these graduates and undergraduates teamed up to rebuild web sites, develop media strategies, and kick-start campaigns designed to reach new audiences, build fundraising momentum, and raise awareness for good causes.
At the kickoff general session, following a keynote presentation from Jon Spack on the important benefits of working in the nonprofit sector, the teams received their mission and assignments from their clients. Following their meetings, they went to their team rooms to roll up the sleeves and begin the hard work – from research through execution.
Of course, it wasn’t all-work/no-play – it’s college after all, right? At 2 a.m., the teams assembled and recharged for the “PRoBono Olympics” – a series of team-building games with prizes for the winners. Heartfelt thanks go to our terrific PRoBono sponsors: T. Anthony’s, UGrill, Scoozi, Sway Spa, the BU Bookstore, Pavement Coffee, and Ben & Jerry’s.
By 8 a.m. the following morning, teams regrouped once again to present their deliverables to their clients who returned to see the final presentations. Together, they connected over a shared passion, enthusiasm, and the mission of their organizations.
As PRoBono came to a close, the impact of the evening was memorable for not only our clients but our volunteers as well. Collectively, they logged 1,666 hours and delivered more than $200,000 of PR support for our clients, before heading off to some well-earned rest and recovery – living out PRoBono’s motto: “Give Now. Sleep Later.”
PRoBono 2018 Recap
PRoBono 2018 united 128 undergraduate and graduate student volunteers for an overnight marathon of advertising, integrated marketing, and public relations. PRoBono 2018 volunteers produced $104,410 of in-kind donations of strategic communications deliverables to six mission-driven organizations.
PRoBono volunteers logged 1,251 hours of work for the following nonprofit clients:
- Amirah Inc.
- Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs
- John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
- Mother Caroline Academy and Education Center
- Polish American Heritage and Community Foundation
- Women’s Lunch Place
PRLab was honored to welcome Carol Cone, an accomplished alumna of Boston University’s College of Communication and a trailblazer in the fields of cause marketing and corporate social responsibility, to PRoBono 2018 to deliver a virtual keynote address.
Check out Cone’s compelling keynote address with this Facebook Live video.
Next, PRoBono 2018 volunteers conducted meetings with their clients to learn more about their public relations objectives and organizational goals. Then, each PRoBono account team spent the night fulfilling each client’s scope of work.
At the culmination of PRoBono 2018, industry professionals in the communications and public relations fields critiqued the work produced. After that, undergraduate and graduate student volunteers presented their work to PRoBono’s nonprofit clients.
PRoBono 2017 Recap
PRoBono 2017 took place from 6 p.m. on Friday, November 3, to 12 p.m. on Saturday, November 4, in COM 217. The event was truly a success. To see an event recap, see our blog post.
PRoBono 2016 Recap
PRoBono 2016, held November 4-5, aimed to give back to five nonprofit organizations making a difference in our community, and help BU students transform into well-rounded professionals. Check out a recap of the event at the BU COMmunicator. A team of six students worked hard to plan the event, including, securing sponsors to donate food and raffle prizes, confirming professional coaches to come on Saturday morning to help students polish their work, recruiting student volunteers, and determining five non-profit clients (Greater Grove Hall, Main Streets; Living Assistance Fund; Skate for the 22; Julie’s Family; and Adopets).
At the event, attendees heard inspirational opening talks from BU COM professors Dr. Edward Downes and Dr. Arunima Krishna. Then the students got to work, meeting with clients and planning out how they will fulfill the scopes of work. After several snack breaks and brainstorming sessions, the teams got down to work and spent all night bringing their deliverables to life. At 9 a.m., eight professionals and professors joined the students to help them finalize work and prepare the client presentations. At 11 a.m., clients returned to meet with their individual teams. While exhausted, the students completed professional presentations and then had discussions with the clients about next steps and transitions.
PRoBono 2016 was a resounding success. We received accolades from our professional consultants and Boston University staff citing our “energy and passion” and “drive and determination” and calling ProBono “exceptional” and a “sincerely great event.” The clients were surprised and impressed with the quality and quantity of work our students delivered. They appreciated the creativity and strategy the students showed and all plan to use the materials in their organizations. Students participating in PRoBono received experience in teamwork, client service, public relations strategy, and content creation, and portfolio-ready work.
PRoBono 2015 Recap
On Friday, Nov. 13, PRLab, Boston University’s student-run PR agency, hosted the fourth PRoBono event. Partnering with AdLab, BU’s student-run Ad agency, the event showcased not only the talent of the College of Communication’s PR and advertising students, but their dedication to strengthening the greater-Boston community by giving up 18 hours of their time to produce PR and adverting work for five nonprofits, free of charge.
After BU students worked on their clients’ business objectives from 6 PM on Nov. 13, to 9 AM on Nov. 14, they presented their work to a panel of judges. The panel was comprised of working professionals and professors who offered up criticism so students could incorporate edits before they presented their final products to their respective clients at 11 AM. Panelists included BU professors as well as a representative from 451 Marketing.
The 2015 clients include: Cradles to Crayons, The Environmental League of Massachusetts, Play Ball! Foundation, Project Citizenship, and Red Sox Foundation. Deliverables for the event included everything from intricately designed brochures and advertisements to innovative social media campaigns and practical new releases.
To keep energy up throughout the event, provided students with free ice cream from long-time PRLab client, Ben & Jerry’s Boston, and the opportunity to spin the prize wheel on top of every hour. For the event, various gift cards and prizes were generously donated from local businesses such as Eastern Standard Kitchen and Drinks, UBurger,Giacomo and Rondi Salon and even the New England Patriots.
PRoBono 2014 Event Recap
In the fall of 2014, PRLab once again teamed up with BU’s student-run ad agency, AdLab, to host the third PRoBono event. The overnight PR and advertising marathon took place from 6 p.m. on Friday, November 21, and ran until 12 p.m. on Saturday, November 22. Over the course of 18 hours, students worked together to provide PR and advertising work to nonprofit clients free of charge.
At the end of the event, students’ work was critiqued by a panel of judges which included professionals in the PR and advertising industries. Throughout the night, we offered food and fun activities, such as raffle prizes, contests and surprise visits. Check out our Twitter stream for a play by play of the event.
Want to learn more about PRoBono? Check out our coverage from past events:
5 Local Nonprofits to Get the Gift of Boston University’s 24-HourPhilanthropy Event | BostInno
PRoBono: 24 Hours for Good | The Comment
PRLab takes on Philanthropy with PRoBono | COMmunicator
PRoBono 2013 Event Recap
On December 11 and 12, 2013, Boston University PRLab and AdLab hosted PRoBono, Boston University’s first 24-hour public relations and advertising philanthropy event. During the event, student volunteers provided free strategic planning and creative advertising services to five nonprofit clients: Audrey’s Rescue Angels, Christina Clarke Genco Foundation, Inc., CYCLE Kids, Fenway High School and Mass Mentoring Partnership.
PRoBono showcases not only the talent of the College of Communication’s PR and advertising students, but their dedication to strengthening the greater-Boston community.
PRoBono opened with talks from Edward Boches, Boston University professor of the practice of advertising, and Jens Bang, chairman of Cone Communications. After 24 straight hours of working, the students unveiled their work to the clients as well as a panel of experts: Stephen Quigley, Boston University associate professor of public relations, Dr. Dustin Supa, Boston University assistant professor of public relations, Katy Dobbs, director of internal communications and corporate responsibility at Staples, and Jens Bang.
Special thanks to the businesses who generously donated products & services to the event: