By: Christina Oberly 

Mark your calendar kids, the 2018 PRSSA National Conference is right around the corner! (Well not really, it’s actually eight months away.) If we don’t start planning and saving now we will miss out on a HUGE opportunity. PRSSANC is the largest gathering of public relations students in the country. National Conference will give you the opportunity to network with peers and public relations experts


Listen, I get it, you are a full-time student, probably working a job just to pay your rent. All you’re thinking is, “there’s no way this conference will ever fit my budget.” If this sounds like you, then keep reading.


The first thing you need to do is change your mindset from “I can’t afford this” to “what can I do to make this affordable?” I am here as living proof that you can make this work, we are in this together.


So now that you’ve changed your mindset, let’s break down the budget and I’ll let you in on the secrets to successfully saving up for this year’s PRSSANC.


Below is the estimated budget for PRSSANC 2018 (hotel rates based on the National Conference website and last year’s cost):


Now that you can get a look at what the budget for PRSSANC 2018 might look like, I will let you in on my five secrets to successfully saving up for National Conference:


  • Apply for the National Conference Grant: First and most important, every year a National Conference Grant is offered. If you apply and receive the grant, your $310 NC registration fee will be waived. You can find rules and qualifications for the grant here. Deadline for applications is June 22, 2018.


  • Create a GoFundMe page: I did this last year and I started my page in September of 2016 for the conference in October of 2017. This may feel like a weird thing to do, but every penny counts and anyone who donates is supporting your future. This conference is a professional development event and needs to be recognized as an investment for your future. Here is a link to my campaign, feel free to read it over for an idea of how to write yours.


  • Fundraise on your own: There are many easy things you can do on your own to raise money for your trip. Walking around your neighborhood and collecting cans from houses is a great way to earn money and you’d be surprised at the number of people willing to give you their bags of cans, even in college towns.


  • Pair up with a friend and share a suitcase: While this may not be much, it still saves you money. I paired up with two other girls and this made our baggage fee go from $30 per person to $10 per person.


  • Put away $5 a week: If you start saving $5 a week or $10 from each paycheck right now, you will have about $160 by the time National Conference is here. You can put that money toward all of your food, Ubers, and gas money for airport drivers during the trip!


If you are still reading this, you made it through the hefty budget and now know my five secrets to successfully save for National Conference. Since you stuck it out, I’d like to offer you one last BONUS tip to saving up and hold onto your pants because this is a good one:


  • Are you currently an intern or employee in the public relations industry?
  • Do you have any connections to someone influential in your community?

When I was trying to save up for the conference, I sent an email to every PR company in my local community. These employers are usually always rooting for us because let’s face it, we are their future employees and like I mentioned before, National Conference is such an important event for us to attend, it is an investment for our futures and our careers, so why wouldn’t these employers want to help you? As my mother always told me, it never hurts to ask. When emailing these employers/companies, be sure to offer them some sort of incentive in return for their sponsorship (cause marketing, company awareness, etc).


Remember, do not tell yourself it is just something you can’t afford, because as we’ve learned today, there are always things we can do to make it affordable.


Christina is a junior at GVSU majoring in Advertising and Public Relations with an emphasis in Advertising. She is a natural leader and is passionate about helping others. She is motivated to do more as a member of PRSSA and hopes to have a positive influence on other members. Christina loves to spend time with family, friends, and her pets.