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PRSA Oregon FAQ

  1. Who is a PRSA Oregon Chapter member?

Anyone who had active, paid dues to PRSA national and to the local chapters of Portland Metro, Greater Oregon or Oregon Capital rolled over to become the “PRSA Oregon (Eugene, Ore.)” member as of Jan. 1, 2017.  

  1. If I am a PRSA national member, am I also a PRSA Oregon member?  

No, not automatically. National membership is a separate dues payment from chapter membership. You’ll need to sign up for the PRSA Oregon (Eugene, OR) Chapter, if you weren’t already a member of a chapter that rolled into PRSA Oregon.  

  1. How do I become a PRSA Oregon member?

Go to https://apps.prsa.org/JoinUs/ to start your application. On the fourth step, under subscriptions, you’ll sign up for the PRSA Oregon (Eugene, OR) Chapter. Annual dues are $50. Your year will start and end on your sign-up date. So, everybody’s chapter annual dues renew at different times.

  1. How much are annual membership dues?

PRSA National dues vary from $60 for recent graduates and PRSSA members, who are associate members, up to about $260 for individual members. Employer and group rates vary and may have discounts applied.

As of Jan. 1, 2017, PRSA Oregon dues are $50 for renewal. Some PRSA Oregon members may still be in a dues cycle with their former local chapter and at a different fee rate. For instance, PRSA Portland Metro Chapter fees were $45 until Dec. 31, 2016. So, if a member with 10 years of PR experience renewed on Dec. 15, 2016, for national and local dues, their total dues would have been $315 through Dec. 15, 2017, paid quarterly or in full on the original date of renewal (Dec. 15, 2016).

  1. Who do I contact with questions?

Depends on your question!

Please contact the national member services team directly at (212) 460-1400 or memberservices@prsa.org for general questions about PRSA. Or, you may email PRSA Oregon at membership@prsaoregon.org for any questions about dues, membership renewal, benefits, or if you’re having technical issues signing up on the national website.

If you have general questions about PRSA Oregon or our activities, please email info@prsaoregon.org. This email address can also be used to reach  the right contact for anything from sponsorships to APR accreditation prep courses.

If you have questions about event registration, or are having technical difficulties signing up using EventBrite or PayPal, please email register@prsaoregon.org.

  1. What are my PRSA Oregon membership benefits? How are they different from the benefits from my former chapter (e.g.: PRSA Portland Metro, Greater Oregon, Oregon Capital)?

By combining the forces of three local chapters, PRSA Oregon is able to better leverage its collective resources and offer members the benefits they’ve had in the past and many new benefits, including a whole lot more programming and a much broader professional network across Oregon and Southwest Washington.

PRSA Oregon benefits include:

  • Exposure to local colleagues and an opportunity to network and become better known in your local community.
  • Member rate on local networking and training events, conferences and other signature events.
  • Member rate for events hosted by other professional association partners, AMA PDX and PHRMA.
  • Biweekly newsletter with regional news, job alerts on business and career opportunities and original blog posts by area communications leaders and writers.
  • Access to assigned mentors and buddies, a career guide and service opportunities to build leadership, management, and technical skills and develop professionally.
  • Free APR course with one of the highest rates of accreditation completion in the country.
  • Industry awards for notable communications work and service to the industry.
  • Valuable industry connections to the combined networks of 300-plus members locally.
  1. How many local chapters are there in the national association?

PRSA has more than 100 local groups, known as chapters. PRSA chapters are based on geography and are located in all 50 states, with some states having multiple chapters. Find other chapters here.

  1. What are my PRSA national benefits?

PRSA national benefits include:

  • Free and discounted instant access to more than 70 live and on-demand PRSA webinars, which provide hundreds of leadership, writing, strategic planning and technical training opportunities.
  • Members rate on summits, bootcamps, events and conferences around the country, along with the annual association-wide international conference.  
  • Discount programs for a wide variety of goods and services, including printing and office supplies.
  • PR Case Studies featuring winners of Silver and Bronze Anvil awards that detail the best work in the public relations field today.
  • News and intelligence via the Public Relations Tactics newspaper and The Public Relations Strategist magazine, PRSA blogs and podcasts, along with email digests delivered to your inbox daily.
  • MyPRSA members-only platform with free articles and case studies, networking tools, forums, the Jobcenter website and the PRSA Member Directory.
  • Network with 21,000 members worldwide representing nearly every practice area from sports and entertainment to government and investor relations. Specific peer groups are also available through the national Professional Interest Section communities.
  1. When was PRSA Oregon founded?

The three local chapters in Oregon and Southwest Washington merged together to form PRSA Oregon as of Jan. 1, 2017. The former local chapters have a combined history of about 100 years of serving communications and public relations professionals. For instance, the Portland Metro Chapter, also known as PRSA PDX, was formed as the Columbia River Chapter in 1960 and has remained a continuously active chapter for 56 years (though it changed names over the years) with about 240 members as of 2016.

  1. How was PRSA Oregon founded?

In 2016, a Statewide Governance Committee was formed to formally evaluate the opportunities in combining local chapters around Oregon and Southwest Washington after years of related conversations among Oregon’s chapter leaders. The team, comprised of members from the three active chapters, including APRs and members of the College of Fellows. The committee led a rigorous process of gathering insights from members through a lengthy survey, including 100-plus respondents. Throughout 2016, the process of merging was expedited and required a rewriting of chapter bylaws, which were voted on by a majority of combined chapter members and approved by the vast majority of those who voted.

Thus, the impending combination of the three local chapters was announced in fall, 2016, at the Portland Metro Chapter’s annual membership meeting and the chapter officially started doing business as PRSA Oregon on Jan. 1, 2017.  (Note: For legal purposes, the national association is currently classifying us as the PRSA Greater Oregon Chapter during the transition.)

A Nominating Committee was formed to identify and recruit chapter leadership for the new PRSA Oregon Chapter, led by the Portland Metro Chapter’s President-Elect for 2017, Colby Reade, APR. The committee led a rigorous process of meeting with 50-plus stakeholders to generate a statewide representative slate of leadership candidates that were nominated and elected in November 2016. The elected board of 12 officers and directors (plus two additional assembly delegates) started work in December 2016.

In January 2017, a 12-member Transition Steering Committee was appointed to oversee the transition, led by 2018 PRSA Oregon President-Elect Julie Williams, and includes:

  • Those with direct oversight of transition-related activities: a treasurer who oversees chapter finances and accounting; a secretary who handles operations, including policies and procedures; a communications director who is in charge of rebranding and communications channels; a web strategist, who is guiding the new website; and, a membership director who leads member outreach including the Becoming PRSA Oregon listening tour that will seek input from members this spring and summer.
  • Those with institutional knowledge and a stake in our future work: a representative of the former Statewide Governance Committee (and 2017 assembly delegate), all three chapters’ Immediate Past-Presidents, as well as the Student Affairs Director and PRSSA president at the University of Oregon.

Ensuring a smooth transition is a priority for the board, but we’re realistic that some unexpected stuff will likely come up. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we get organized throughout 2017.

  1. Who runs PRSA Oregon?

PRSA Oregon is an all-volunteer run nonprofit organization. Colby Reader, APR, is president and a national assembly delegate, who oversees a 14-member board of directors, including the three immediate past-presidents from the Portland Metro, Oregon Capital and Greater Oregon chapters as officers. The board includes three other officers: president-elect (and national assembly delegate), treasurer, and secretary as well as two additional national assembly delegates. There are six directors of PRSA Oregon programs: communications, events, membership, service, sponsorship and student affairs.

  1. How can I get involved?

There are many ways to get involved as an active local chapter member including attending events, reading and commenting on our blog, following and commenting on our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram accounts, joining our Linkedin group, participating on an Accreditation Readiness Review panel, if you have an APR, and volunteering on a committee or for a one-time need.

  1. How can I serve?

We have many committees that need additional members doing various work from hosting events to interacting with students and new professionals. This is the best way to network in our community and learn about the chapter, while gaining tactical and leadership skills. We are also always in need of helping hands to pitch in as a registration table host at an event or other short one-to-three-hour tasks that do not require an ongoing commitment. Contact volunteer@prsaoregon.org to inquire about service opportunities and benefits.

  1. When will chapter events happen near me?

In 2017, we’re conducting a listening tour to make sure that we have at least two events in our Eugene and Salem communities. These events are currently planned for April and June. The Communicators Conference on May 8 is an all-day conference in Portland packed with professional development and networking opportunities.In October, the Spotlight Awards Ceremony will be hosted in Portland. For more information about events near you, contact events@prsaoregon.org.

  1. What chapter events happen each year?

Currently, we have three signature events each year – an all-day conference, an awards ceremony and our annual chapter membership meeting. Each month, there is usually a networking event and another event focused on professional development, such as our Meet the Media series or panels on specific industry topics. We also host an accreditation in public relations preparation course each year. Upcoming events are featured on the chapter’s website, prsaoregon.org.

  1. Is it okay to organize an event near me?

We’re eager to ensure that there are local events that are accessible to everyone in Oregon and Southwest Washington. For now, we encourage PRSA Oregon members to grab coffee together or gather casually as a group. To organize an official chapter event, please contact the events team at events@prsaoregon.org. During 2017, we’re conducting a listening tour to make sure that we have at least two events in our Eugene and Salem communities (currently planned for April and June) so we can learn about members’ needs, especially regarding events. If you would like us to consider a tour stop in your community, please contact listening@prsaoregon.org and we’ll see if we can make it happen this year!

We’re All Ears: PRSA Statewide Listening Tour Visits Eugene

Author: Maritza Rendon

To facilitate the transition to PRSA Oregon, chapter officers are visiting the Eugene/Springfield and Salem communities to meet with current and prospective members to hear their needs, concerns and ideas.  

On April 4 and 5, Oregon Chapter President-Elect Julie Williams, APR, and Membership Director Siobhan Taylor visited Eugene for morning and evening listening tour sessions. A mix of current and prospective members attended the sessions, including several past presidents of the Greater Oregon Chapter, based out of Eugene.

Prospective members including myself as current PRSSA President (and also a PRSA Oregon Transition Steering Committee member) and many Univeristy of Oregon (UO)  PRSSA members, participated. We were joined by students from Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR), the student-run agency at the UO School of Journalism and Communications. AHPR is also the current agency of record for PRSA Oregon and as part of its work for PRSA Oregon, the students provided social media coverage of the event.

In the evening session, a group of PR practitioners and aspiring professionals gathered at Falling Sky Brewery in Erb Memorial Student Union to discuss the merger, voice their concerns and ask questions. The next morning another group gathered, also on the University of Oregon campus, to offer more professionals and students an opportunity to be heard. The PRSA leaders asked for feedback on the same questions at all of the listening tour stops. There were especially engaged discussions on “what are the strengths and weaknesses of being a statewide organization?”

Several themes emerged from the Eugene discussion:

  • Accessibility Opportunities, Challenges: Janice Bohman, APR, commented that one benefit of a statewide chapter was “more opportunities for involvement, [such as] access to more resources like the Spotlight Awards to connect and participate.” However, Jim Barlow expressed that “it is going to be more challenging to connect at an individual level.” Recurring points raised in the discussion included the value and power of connections, with a desire to continue face-to-face interactions.
  • Experienced Guidance, Mentorship: Another topic of conversation mentioned by several attendees was mentorship and the value of mentorship programs. Jennifer Winters shared that when she was working to obtain her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) several mentors helped her through the process. Similarly, Bohman mentioned that when she entered the world of public relations during a career change, the local chapter was important to her because it provided a way for her to relationships and take part in support groups. Soon-to-be UO grads mentioned that mentorship and a buddy system would be helpful in the transition to the professional world and would make attending PRSA events less intimidating and more inviting.

As a prospective PRSA member, I appreciated the warm, welcoming and invested culture that was set by chapter leaders. Knowing that, as a young professional, I will have access to resources that will aid my learning and growth was motivating. But, most importantly, seeing first-hand that the value of connections will only continue to grow in a professional setting through PRSA was inspiring.

To learn about future listening tour discussions, look for related posts on the PRSA Oregon blog. You may also share your feedback by contacting listening@prsaoregon.org.