By: Nicole Clark

Session: The Profit of Nonprofits

Presenter: Nicole Minadeo, Director of Communications and Public Relations, John G. Shedd Aquarium

Nicole Minadeo discussed how the “PR ninjas” at Shedd Aquarium share information about with the public. Minadeo’s presentation included information about engaging audiences on a local, regional and national level.

Her main focus was on finding stories that went beyond exploring the aquarium as a destination. Instead, she discussed how she shares information about “behind-the-scenes” education and conservation work. She highlighted several different events and campaigns, including the rehabilitation of Luna the sea otter, that have help share Shedd’s mission with the community.

A Few Key Takeaways:

  1. Make use of the experts you have on staff, and empower them to take part in sharing their own stories. Providing researchers with GoPros and some training on storytelling makes it easier to create interesting content, such as the “Leechnado.” 
  2. Sharing coverage and the public’s response to it is just as important as securing coverage. Minadeo spoke about how it was important to keep spokespeople, such as researchers, motivated to keep sharing information with the press by letting them know how it impacted their audience.
  3. Visual storytelling is key to help the public understand the complex and important work, and enable them to share it with others.
  4. Members and donors are valuable assets for a nonprofit. By giving them information and sharable content, PR pros can turn them into ambassadors.

As someone with fond memories of Shedd Aquarium, I enjoyed having the chance to learn about the work that happens behind the scenes. I was inspired by how passionate Minadeo was, and loved listening to her describe how her team celebrated the aquarium and the people that made it possible.

Nicole Clark is a senior at GVSU, where she is majoring in Writing and minoring in Public Relations. She is the Firm Editor of GrandPR and an intern at Rogo Marketing and Communications. In her free time, she enjoys listening to podcasts, learning about social issues, and teaching herself new skills.