Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Mass Media - Communication

Research Sponsor

Julie Cajigas

First Reader

McKenna Vietmeier

Second Reader

Val Pipps



The purpose of this project is to utilize media relations and strategic communication to address a challenge that the local non-profit shelter Haven of Rest has with attracting and retaining volunteers. Haven of Rest struggles to maintain a consistent volunteer pool in the 15-45 age range. Some volunteer positions are also difficult to fill due to the physical requirements of each individual position. This project addresses this issue through and earned media relations strategy and an owned collateral-based strategy.

The media relations strategy employs a message strategy that appeals to the individual’s sense of duty to the community and emphasizes the appeal and ease of volunteering at Haven of Rest. The collateral-based strategy employs a message strategy that describes the volunteer process in a way less complex and confusing.

The project goals have been accomplished through a media kit that uses the newsworthiness of the 75th Anniversary as well as upcoming events geared towards people aged 15-45 to create releases that have a high likelihood of being published and inspiring individuals to become volunteers in the future. This media kit includes two releases on the specials events, a feature story about the benefits of volunteering and biographies of key organizational leaders to help the media write about the organization.

The project goals have also been accomplished through the creation of pieces that revise and improve the volunteer process. This process was previously complex and confusing. With the materials provided, this project will make the process easier to understand and complete, which should result in more people completing the process and becoming volunteers.

The process and an early version of the materials have been submitted to and approved by the client.