It’s not every day that you get something for nothing, but according to AR Kids Read Executive Director
Charlie Conklin, that is exactly what the organization received when two teams of UALR public relations
students delivered comprehensive communications plans on May 6th.
“These plans were of the same quality as anything we would have received from a professional firm,
which is why we are so thankful for the many hours these students spent crafting these exceptional
plans,” Conklin said.
Over the course of the spring semester two teams of five UALR students worked on plans aimed at
solving two key issues for AR Kids Read: volunteer recruitment and fundraising. The teams spent
weeks researching everything that impacts AR Kids Read before developing creative strategies and
tactics to tackle those issues.
Recent UALR grad Kirsten Elliott, who was the account executive for the fundraising team and now
works full time for AR Kids Read, said the class gave students an opportunity to gain real-world
experience for a great cause.
“While developing a communications plan is always a challenge, working with a non-profit poses
another set of challenges because you are dealing with a small budget and small staff,” Elliott said.
However, she said that the challenges are what make the work even more rewarding. “When you
look at the valuable work an organization like AR Kids Read is doing in the community, you can’t
help but feel like every minute you spent on the plan was time extremely well spent,” she explained.
Conklin said AR Kids Read hopes to implement at least some of the strategies and tactics in the
coming months. “We are very excited to use these plans to grow our network of volunteers and
budget so that we are able to help even more Central Arkansas students learn how to read,” he said.