Empowering Millennials to Be Financially Savvy

Originally published in DePaul Magazine
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Diana Bobic, a junior in the College of Communication's Public Relations and Advertising major, gained hands-on experience creating a public relations campaign in Assistant Professor Maria De Moya’s Special Topics in Public Relations course this year. Below, Bobic offers insight into the campaign process and shares what she learned.

During the winter quarter, DePaul competed in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Bateman Case Study Competition for the first time. This annual competition gives college students the opportunity to create and implement a public relations campaign.

Along with my classmates, I was tasked with using the knowledge I have gained in my public relations classes to execute a real campaign. This seemingly simple endeavor took my group members and me on a chaotic but productive journey as we worked together to achieve this goal.

This year’s competition objective was to partner with Home Matters, an organization that focuses on providing affordable housing to all Americans. Participants were also able to work with a local partner of the Home Matters organization, and our class chose Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS), a nonprofit focused on neighborhood revitalization and affordable home ownership.

My group started off by conducting brainstorming sessions. The client had given us a brief description of what they desired, so we began to develop a plan around their goal, which was to encourage millennials to become financially empowered.

In our research, we came across a study from Fidelity, a multinational financial services corporation, that offered insight into millennials and finance. The Fidelity study found that 39% of millennials worry about finances, and one in four don’t trust anyone when it comes to finances. While millennials are comfortable asking their parents for advice when it comes to managing their money, almost half (49 percent) admit that they don’t actually get financial advice from their parents.

We proposed various strategies to help NHS better interact with millennials. For example, with NHS and DePaul’s Financial Fitness Program, we hosted an educational workshop for more than 50 students, who learned about resources to assist with financial planning, including online applications and personal financial consultants. Other aspects of our campaign included creating partnerships between NHS and local businesses that students patronize, such as Insomnia Cookies, and building a new educational curriculum for NHS to use with millennials.

Throughout this process, our team handled the creative aspects, the writing, the event logistics and planning, the promotion and everything else that is necessary in a PR campaign. In the end, it was successful and NHS grew its millennial public.

While certainly challenging, the class taught me what a real PR campaign is like. It may look simple to consumers, but I learned that there are a lot of people working hard behind the scenes to bring a campaign to life. This was an experience that I will surely remember well into my professional future.