9 things to do at the end of your internship

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Jeremy Porter

Internships are 100 percent the No. 1 thing you’ll need on your resume to get that first job after college. The No. 2 thing you’ll need is proof you can write. Guess where you get that writing experience? Yep—internships.

To round out the list—and some will disagree with me on this—the No. 3 thing you need to land a job after college is connections. Again, if you play your cards right, you get some through internships.

If you did just put your internship to bed, or you’re about to, there are a few things I’d like you to do on your way out the door:

1. Say thank you.

Personally thank everyone you’ve worked with this summer. A handwritten note is my preference, but a sincere, verbal “thanks for the experience” is the minimum requirement. Provide specifics and leave the door open for future contact. For example: “I really wanted to thank you for the time you spent with me this summer. I know my knowledge on X, or what you taught me about Y will be useful in my career. I look forward to staying in touch as I continue my education or begin my search for my first job.”

2. Get connected.

Make sure you have people’s business cards. Make sure you’re following everyone on Twitter (or are subscribed to their blog). And for Pete’s sake, make sure you connect with them on LinkedIn. Turnover is high in PR and journalism; LinkedIn goes with people from job to job. This is how you’ll build your network over time. It’s important.

BONUS: If you did a great job in your internship (be honest, you know if you did or not), ask the highest-ranking person you worked with to recommend you on LinkedIn. Don’t be shy about this—endorsements on LinkedIn can save you time later on when you need references. Make it easier for the reference writer by giving them some starter points. 

For example: “Would you please write a recommendation for me on LinkedIn based on the work I did this summer? It would be great if you could comment on the work I did on project X or your satisfaction with the writing I did on Y.” 

Whatever it was that you did, having somebody comment on your work does a couple of things. It draws attention to you in their network, and it sticks with your profile for a long time.

3. Get your samples.

I hope you’ve been collecting copies of the work you did this summer. In most cases, the work you’ve done at your internship is the legal property of the agency or its clients. Make sure you ask your supervisor for permission to use those work samples in your portfolio. You’ll want electronic or hard copies of all the work you did this summer, because there’s no guarantee you can access this stuff later. Websites get replaced. Blog posts get deleted.

You might not think some of the things you worked on are relevant, but believe me, they will be. Save them all so you can customize your portfolio for each interview you do when you start your search.

4. Get coached.

You might be awesome. You might not. Regardless of what you think about yourself and your performance in this internship, ask your supervisor to suggest three areas you can improve on, based on his or her observations this summer. Tell them you want them to be brutally honest with you, because it’s the only way you’re going to improve. People would tell me how great my writing was in my internship, but when I look back a lot of it was sloppy and littered with errors (you know, like a lot of my blog posts). I wish they would have told me to keep working on my writing and editing, and that attention to detail is important.

5. Keep working?

Is there something you’ve done so well this summer that everyone is talking about it? Are people sad you’re leaving, because you don’t be able to do that thing anymore? Suggest to your boss that you keep doing it as a freelancer while you go to school. When I did my first internship in New York, I put together monthly clipping reports for clients (copies of all the press mentions for the month). They were a lot of work back then. I suggested I do the work from my dorm room in upstate New York. The company bought me a computer, leased a copier, and paid me a very good rate to do the reports each month. 

This type of opportunity is not the norm, but if you do something exceptional, you might be able to gain valuable work experience (and make some money) while you finish your coursework.

6. Stay in touch.

If you don’t keep working with them, be sure to stay in touch. Keep the lines of communication open. Let people know what interesting stuff you’re learning in school. Attend local Public Relations Society of America or press club events so you can socialize with former co-workers. Interview your co-workers for class projects (or consider inviting them to speak to one of your classes). Of course, if you’re following them on Twitter or Facebook, you can interact on a regular basis through those channels as well.

7. Say only good stuff.

There’s a chance you didn’t have a good experience this summer. Don’t talk about it publicly; it will get back to the agency. I’m not suggesting you lie to anybody, just don’t go around bashing the company that gave you a shot. (It will make people wonder what you say about them when they’re not around.) It’s OK to warn future internships professionally about what to expect, but keep it professional. Along the same lines, keep proprietary information confidential. Don’t talk about the new products clients are working on or their secrets to getting coverage in The New York Times. This will strengthen your own reputation over the course of your career.

8. Don’t burn bridges.

As an extension of No. 7, I have one “don’t” for the end of your internship. Don’t burn bridges. Even if you hated working with somebody with every ounce of your soul, don’t tell that person off on your last day. Don’t decide you’re never going to talk to that person again. It’s a mistake. If you follow the suggestions early on in this post with everyone you worked with this summer, you’ll establish a firm foundation for your network to grow in the future.

9. Share your experience.

You learned a lot this summer. Don’t keep it all to yourself. Blog about it. Talk about it in class. Encourage other students to pursue the same opportunities. Use that experience to fuel you. Learn more, keep practicing, and you will succeed. Share your experience and others will succeed with you—and that’s what it’s all about.

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Millennials fundraise with cotton candy, cupcakes, and jugglers

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The fifth annual American Cancer Society gala is expected to raise more than $100,000 for cancer research, which would bring total fundraising for the event near $1 million.

Jessica Levco

Want to sip on a cotton candy martini for a great cause?

If you’re a Chicagoan, check out the American Cancer Society’s fourth annual “Skyline Soiree: Wish Big” on July 27 at River East Art Center.

The fundraiser is run by the American Cancer Society’s associate board of ambassadors. Since 2008, this young leadership board of 50 people has raised more than $850,000 for cancer research through this signature event.

Working together, the group decides on a venue, production schedule, food options, ticket sales, promotion, marketing, and sponsorships. It’s expected that more than 500 people will attend. The target audience for this event is young professionals, ages 20 to 40.

Each year, there’s a different theme for the soiree. This year, it’s “retro birthdays,” paying homage to The America Cancer Society’s theme, “Official Sponsor of Birthdays.”

“The event will remind people of their childhood, only it will be for adults,” says Amy Kramer, distinguished events specialist for the American Cancer Society. “We’ll have cotton candy martinis, cupcakes and birthday games.”

Previous themes have been “the 1920s” and “circus games.” For a look at the 2010 event, clickhere.

The event will include a cocktail reception, entertainment, juggling acts, a silent auction, raffle and a celebrity appearance by “Bachelorette” winner, Ed Swiderski.

“It’s a cool event—it’s very celebratory and very casual,” Kramer says.

The board doesn’t do any type of traditional or direct mail to market the event. Instead, it relies on its email blast,TwitterFacebookwebsite and its media partner, The Sun Times to get the word out.

The silent auction is paperless, too. Powered by a mobile bidding company, guests will bid on auction packages by texting or calling in their bids.

The goal is to raise $100,000 from the event, but Kramer is confident the event will surpass that number.

The board tweets two or three times a day about the event. Here are some:

Our wish is for @kathythemix to join us at the ACS #SkylineSoiree:WishBig on 7/27. Will she grant our wish? http://tiny.cc/17b8ew

We are thrilled to announce that Final Say: a @maggiespeaks band will be performing at #SkylineSoiree on July 27th! http://tiny.cc/fsc8ew

We are thrilled to announce that @eswiderski will be joining us at #SkylineSoiree on July 27th!http://tiny.cc/17b8ew

“We don’t want to waste our donor dollars on direct mail,” Kramer says, adding that social media “is a great way to reach out to people.”

To attend the event, click here.

Is your hospital or health organization having a special fundraiser? Tell us about it! Email Jessica Levco at jessical@ragan.com.

Do you suffer from ‘office ADHD?’

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Jessica Levco

Like most journalists, my inbox is loaded with press releases.

Like most journalists, I tend to delete each one.

But this subject line caught my eye: “Do you have Adult ADHD? 20 Tell-Tale Signs—Interview/Byline Opp”

Immediately, my mind started racing: OMG (my inner voice now texts me), what if I have adult ADHD? I get distracted a lot! Hold on. I should be writing webinar copy right now. Oh, shoot—I need to tweet an article from our health care website. I wonder when the FDA is going to release its social media guidelines. I really need to come up with something clever to say when people ask me my opinion about health care reform. Have I called Mom today?

Anyway, the press release listed 20 symptoms of a person with ADHD. I’m pretty sure most Raganites (including me) identify with at least half of these traits. For example:

  • Organizationally challenged
  • Difficulty being subtle
  • Hyper-focused to the point of losing track of time
  • Easily bored
  • Naturally rebellious
  • Addictive personality
  • High energy
  • Highly creative
  • Good problem solver, innovator, inventor
  • When interested love to learn, share and teach new things

I’m not stopping there. Because I consider myself “highly creative,” I’ve come up with a list of 10 symptoms that could mean you have “office ADHD.” And yes, I just made that malady up—screw you, medical community; I can’t help it if I’m “naturally rebellious.”

1. You haven’t deleted an email since 2002. You have no Outlook folders. Who cares? You’ve got better things to do—but you can’t remember any of them.

2. There’s an alarm on your phone to remind you to eat lunch. You can’t help it if you’re more consumed with your work than a ham and Swiss on—hey, look, someone RT’d my blog link!

3. If your boss asks, “How high can you jump?” you say, “I don’t like to jump. I’d rather do tai-chi.”

4. When someone asks you what you did over the weekend, you scream, “It’s none of your goddamn business!” and promptly throw coffee in their face. “Just another Monday,” you mutter, as you scurry to the break room for a refill.

5. When you talk about your love of social media, it sounds like you’re talking about your significant other. You dream in Instagrams.

6. Your co-workers think you have a severe bladder issue because you go to the restroom so much. You don’t. You just can’t sit in one spot for more than 12 minutes.

7. When someone approaches your cube, you can’t listen. You’re too busy blogging, pinning, and tweeting to deal with someone IRL.

8. You’ve decided you’re going to hold a contest to send an employee to the moon. You send out this email, complete with a PowerPoint and logistical information to your team at 2 a.m. (Note: A version of this story happened at Ragan.)

9. All your best ideas come to you when you’re not at your desk. For example, one of your most successful company events is referred to internally as, “The Toilet Bowl Summit.” (Note: Again, referencing another true-life Ragan story.)

10. It’s really hard for you to finish writing lists, so No. 10 tends to be kinda lame.

Do you have any symptoms you’d like to add? 

This article originally ran on Ragan.

5 ways millennials need math post-college

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Caitlin Mooney

Andy Cohen said it best in his new book, Most Talkative: “my brain has a tendency to go blank when I see an Excel spreadsheet.”

I’ll never forget the horrified look on my math teacher’s face when I jumped up and down in his classroom after he told me I got a 66 on the Math B NYS Regents exam. To him, that was a terrible grade. But to me, I was done. I passed. I earned my advanced regents diploma. Check.

It’s not that I can’t do math. It’s just that I have no interest in it. Numbers don’t speak to me like words do. My senior year of high school I opted to forgo all free periods and lunch because my guidance counselor insisted I take pre calc, but I wasn’t willing to give up journalism, creative writing, contemporary lit, or advertising and design.

Needless to say, I am an excellent example of the stereotype that your brain is either wired for math and sciences, or language and arts. I only had to take one math class to fulfill my bachelor’s degree and upon graduation I thought I’d never have to solve math problems again.

If the foreshadowing in this post isn’t obvious enough, I’ll come out and say it now: as a communications professional, I have not escaped the grips of math.

In entry-level positions, especially at small agencies, you’re somewhat of a glorified intern in the sense that you’re expected to be a doer of all things, a jack of all trades. As a result, you end up learning the ins and outs of the agency and a sampling of everyone’s job (i.e. invaluable experience). While you may be done with the Pythagorean Theorem and graphing calculators, here are five ways math may creep into your life again:

1.  Grad school

If you decide to go to grad school, chances are you’ll have to take the GRE. It’s like taking the SAT all over again except you can’t use a calculator on the math section (at least you couldn’t in 2009). I actually had to reteach myself how to do long division.

2.  Accounting

It’s important to review client budgets and estimates to keep the agency on track for all projects and campaigns. I’ve also learned how to complete payables and general ledgers.

3.  Media buying

Remember that fun equation GRP = reach x frequency? Learn to love it. Also learn how to solve for the CPM, CPP, CPC, CTR, and analyze all of those numbers in an excel spreadsheet. (Are your eyes glazed over yet?)

4.  Living on a budget

If you’re in an entry level position in the communications field, chances are you’ll be living on a budget. To keep yourself organized, you may want to create a spreadsheet to help you solve for x in x = paycheck – (rent + groceries + student loans + car payment + health insurance + happy hour).

5.  Timesheets

OK, so this isn’t too tough, but it’s an adjustment to think about your day numerically and keep track of what you’re doing down to the .25 of an hour.

Do you fit into this stereotype too? What advice do you have for new grads?

Follow Caitlin Mooney on Twitter @caitlinmooney.

25 professional must-knows before turning 25

By Jenny Fukumoto

Last month, I turned 25. Since becoming gainfully employed, I’ve made a lot of professional mistakes—and learned a few things, along the way. Here are 25 of them—let me know if you agree, or what you would add to this list!

By 25, you should know how to:

1.      Take rejection with poise.

By the age of 25, you should’ve had to face some sort of professional rejection—my favorite was having my resume handed back to me after a job interview.

2.      Do your own bitch work.

Empathy is an important trait for all managers. Knowing what it’s like to do the grunt work makes you appreciate those who have to do it after you. Assuming that you are not above anything will help you soar in your career.

3.      Craft an appropriate LinkedIn connection invite request.

I don’t mind getting LinkedIn connection requests from random people, but it irritates me when they don’t have a tailored message and just use the standard LinkedIn invite line. Here’s an idea of something that could work: “Hi Jenny, I noticed we both work in the Chicago marketing scene and wanted to connect with you. Maybe I buy you a cup of coffee/tea in the near future, to learn more about what you do?”

4.      Ask for a raise.

When you’re worth more than you’re making, you need to know how to ask for more. After being out of school for three years, learn how to broach the topic. Not sure how to do that? Read this.

5.      Delegate work.

Delegation is an underrated action. By 25, you should know when it’s appropriate to delegate and how to do it. For example, if someone asks me to perform a task that is certainly within my power, but I don’t have the time for it, I look for the colleague it makes most sense to perform that task regularly, and ask them to do it.

6.      Know which battles to pick at work.

Not every battle is worth fighting – you should know which are worth your time and energy. Getting upset with the way someone sends incessant emails takes a backseat to someone who fails to communicate important pieces of information.

7.      When to unplug.

Once you answer that work email at 11 p.m., you set a precedent that you’re available 24/7. Unless it’s an emergency, try not to check your work email (or mark it unread and deal with it when you get to the office).

8.      Put in your 2 weeks’ notice.

If you’re lucky enough to have loved your first job out of college and are still there by 25, bravo! But you should know how to tactfully put in your two weeks’ notice, if you make a career move. This requires a written resignation. Here’s a great guide on doing the dirty deed.

9.      Tactfully give your business card at a networking event.

No one likes the business card ninja who swoops in, throws his or her card at you and leaves you stunned. First, have a conversation with someone. Find out stuff you have in common. And then, offer your card, as a way to stay in touch.

10.  Not get sloppy at a networking event.

An open bar doesn’t give you permission to act like you did at college frat parties. Have a few drinks to loosen up, but keep it professional.

11.  Prioritize your time.

For example, tackle your bigger work issues toward the beginning of the day and save your smaller, less important tasks for the end of the day when you’re winding down. Remember: there’s always tomorrow.

12.  Set professional goals.

You want accomplishments on your resume, not just finished tasks. Setting yearly professional goals will set you on track to advance your career. Meeting mentors in your industry through networking events and LinkedIn will help you realize what goals you need to prioritize.

13.  Send an SOS.

Chances are you’ve felt overwhelmed by your work load, at least once in your career. Knowing when and how to send a help signal to your manager and or co-workers is essential to preventing burnout!

14.  Conduct an interview.

Knowing how to interview someone is an important skill. Not only does it teach you how to ask the right questions, it teaches you what skillset and personality you value in yourself and your potential co-workers.

15.  Communicate!

Communication, when done well, sets you apart from other young professionals. Good communication is a strong asset, so learn it while you’re in the beginning stages of your career. For example, when emailing out project specs, I copy as many people as I think will benefit from the discussion. Looping someone in during the later stages of development could mean painful—and unnecessary—back-peddling.

16.  Handle being caught venting about co-workers.

It happens to the best of us. Your co-worker commits a major faux-pas, and you need to vent about it to another co-worker. You get caught. Knowing how to turn it into a dialogue with constructive criticism—or knowing how to avoid it all together—is very important.

17.  Not sweat the small stuff (you’re not curing cancer!)

Unless, of course, you are curing cancer. Then disregard. Ask yourself, “Will this matter a year from now?” If not, don’t sweat it. Acknowledge your mistake and learn from it.

18.  401(k) – you should at least be thinking about it

The numbers don’t lie – someone who starts saving before the age of 25 accrues more with interest than someone who starts saving at 30.Not sure how much to invest? This is a great guide.

19.  Be a team player.

No one likes a selfish co-worker. Learn this healthy habit early in your career to get ahead of those who didn’t. You can operate under the “CYA” (cover your ass) mentality, just make sure it doesn’t turn into a “TUB” (throw under the bus) one.

20.  Talk to the CEO of your company.

Get sweaty palms talking to authority figures? Nix those nerves now!

21.  Lead a meeting.

You’ll need to learn how eventually, why not get it out of the way pre-25? Have a meeting agenda and make sure you open up for discussion as much as you can, so you’re not the only one talking. Also, you can take it one step further by following up with action items and decisions made during the meeting.

22.  Ask for time off without feeling guilty.

You earn your time off, so it’s important to take it with a clean conscience. If you’re planning on having a “TREAT YO SELF” day, you could look into local brewery tours, daytime trapeze classes, or some simple retail therapy.

23.  Put together a visual report.

Putting information into a strong visual report speaks volumes more than just throwing the numbers onto a spreadsheet and clicking send. About 60 percent of people are visual learners, so it’s important to make your information pop with charts and graphs.

24.  Give your elevator pitch.

Since I work for a small company, the question I get asked the most is, “What’s Ragan?” It took some practice, but I finally got my company’s elevator pitch down a few months after joining the team. Not sure what yours is? Listen to what your co-workers say.

25.  Be a mentor.

By the time you’re three years out of college, you will have had at least one younger person ask you for various career advice. Understanding the impact you have as a mentor is powerful, and the relationships you have with mentees can be some of the most rewarding ones you’ll have in your mid-20s.

10 networking tactics that most people screw up

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David Spark

We all network, but we don’t all do it effectively. In fact, most of us are really bad at it. That’s very odd, as almost all of us are out there schmoozing and connecting with people.

I have become better at networking over the years. What I’m truly surprised by are all the commonsense elements of networking that are completely lost on people. Here are 10 things that most people should be doing—or doing better.

1. Press the flesh.

The core to networking is meeting people face to face. Except for rare occasions, such as long-distance online romances, all the friends and business colleagues that we trust we’ve met in person. If you think you can be an effective networker solely by engaging in social media, you’re sorely wrong. You have to get out and press the flesh.

2. Stop staring at your phone.

The worst offenders are people working a booth at a trade show. Nothing screams, “I don’t want to talk with you, and I’m too scared to talk with anyone,” more than staring at your phone. You’re blowing an amazing opportunity every time you stare at your phone at an event where you could make a true connection with someone walking by. Stop doing it.

3. Always have business cards.

This should be as basic as remembering to bring your driver’s license, credit cards, and money in your wallet. Make sure you always have business cards, especially if you’re attending a conference or trade show. Bring more than you think you’ll need. I am always stunned when I go to a conference and someone doesn’t have business cards. How do you expect someone to follow up with you? You can’t, because they won’t. But that’s often not an issue given the next technique.

4. Always follow up.

This is the core of all networking: following up. If you don’t do it, you might as well never have met the person. I would estimate that one out of 20 people I hand my business card to follows up. Collecting business cards without following up is a wasted engagement. It only takes days for the person to completely forget meeting you. If you follow up with some level of context of your meeting it increases the value and impact of the meeting. To remember that meeting, take notes on the business card.

When you do follow up, be specific about your follow up. Don’t just say, “Nice to have met you,” or, “We should meet for coffee sometime,” because that now puts the onus on the other person to set up the meeting and discuss its purpose. That’s quite a burden. If you want that to happen, you need to set the place, time, and purpose of the discussion.

5. Add to your address book/CRM program.

If you’re going to follow up with someone, you must capture them in your contact manager or, better, in your customer relationship management (CRM) program, whose main function is to help you manage connections and follow up with those connections.

6. Respond when someone follows up.

Similar to the above, I’m always astonished when I send a follow-up email to someone I just met the day before and they don’t even respond. I would say that at best one out of four people respond to a personal follow-up email. The lack of response is a slap in the face. It would be the equivalent of walking away from a conversation midsentence. We never do that, because it’s rude. It’s also rude if you don’t respond to a follow-up email.

7. Listen.

Yes, it’s good to be directed about what you’re doing and have focus, but you’ll be a far more effective networker and make better connections if you simply listen to others. If someone else isn’t as much a talker as you are, then ask questions. Pull them out of their shell; that will let you to listen to them. Networking is not an opportunity for you to spout out marketing copy that you hope someone else will absorb. Your job is to listen and create a relationship first.

8. Get people to like you.

This should be your top priority. Any objective or goal you may have can be extremely simplified if you just get people to like you. If people don’t know you, don’t trust you, or, worse, don’t like you, then making a true connection or selling them anything will be an uphill battle.

9. Follow on social media.

Social media affords us the ability to maintain connections with hundreds if not thousands of people through ambient intimacy. That’s the ability to know and converse with someone through a general open social conversation, most notably through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The only way you can continue this social conversation is to follow people in all these social spaces. Offer your links to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and ask for theirs in return.

10. Follow up—again.

Though you can’t keep following up with everyone, the point of networking is to maintain those relationships. Social media will probably be the most effective and efficient way to do this. That means you need to actually respond to people’s Facebook posts, Tweets, and LinkedIn questions. But once again, if you want to make true relationships you need to go back to step 1 and press the flesh.

Conclusion: Networking takes work, but it pays off.

Networking is hard work, and though I admit that I make mistakes with some of the above techniques, I have adhered to them as solidly as possible for six years. The payoff for me has been tremendous. It will pay off for you as well. And if you do it right, it’s actually a lot of fun. What’s not to like about schmoozing and meeting new people?

This article was originally a report published by Spark Media Solutions’ David Spark (@dspark) for Intertainment Media‘s Ingaged Blog, makers and distributors of the KNCTR and Ortsbo. 

Hospital fundraisers a snooze? Not this Chicago gala.

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Jessica Levco

Forget those stuffy black- and white-tie hospital galas.

For the past 12 years, the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Board has put on one of Chicago’s most buzz-worthy singles event, Summer Lovin’. But the evening isn’t just about great food and conversation—it raises major money for medical research.

The event started with 300 people as a “beer and brats” party at Northwestern’s law school courtyard downtown. But the following year, after it scored a partnership with Chicago magazine, the event expanded. For the past five years, it has garnered more than 1,000 people and several restaurant sponsorships and is held at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In addition, the editorial group from Chicago magazine picks the hottest 20 singles for its June/July issue; this year, a doctor and Northwestern board member were highlighted.

The goal for the board is to raise $100,000 in a two-year period. This money is given to a doctor who wants to do specific medical research. The majority of the $100,000 is from Summer Lovin’, but the board does host another event in the fall, along with a few third-party events that might pop up.

More than 40 doctors submit their proposals to the board (a representative from Northwestern Memorial Hospital helps the board sift through the applications and doctor-lingo). The $100,000 from the board is “seed money” for the doctor, and its purpose is to help the doctor generate more money and bigger grants for research.

This year, the board is supporting Dr. Andrew Naidech, who wants to research new therapies for stroke patients. The board gave him $50,000 last November and will give him the additional money this year. He’s been actively applying and receiving other grants for his research.

“For our board, it’s really exciting for us to see how far our dollars can go,” says Laura Beres, board president.

Mixing traditional and social media

The board ranges in age from 24 to 40. To hit its target demographic to market this event, it primarily goes where its audience is: online.

“We’re pretty deliberate about our use of social media,” Beres says. “Social media is the way most people in our age group find out about things. At our board meetings, our PR committee talks to us about how we can help drum up support.”

Here are six ways the board markets the event:

1. Summer Lovin’ has an active Facebook page. “All of our members, with the exception of one, are on Facebook,” Beres says. “They are constantly given mini-updates that they can copy and paste on their own Facebook page, with a link back to ticket purchasing.”

2. The website went through a major redesign this year. “Any time we send out any communication, we link to our website,” Beres says.

3. The Twitter account is active, with more than 100 followers. Frequently, the PR team tweets information about restaurants that are sponsoring the event, and their reps RT those tweets in response.

4. Grass-roots marketing is not forgotten. For example, board members went to a popular Chicago art fair and passed out “save the date” cards. The board also went on bar crawls to talk about the event. “We put ourselves where our audience is,” Beres says.

5. Traditional media still counts. Even though Chicago wrote a feature article about the event, there was also a full-page ad in the RedEye, an alternative daily tabloid. There will also be stories about the event on radio stations, Windy City Live, and a few other news outlets. “The week before the event gets a lot of press,” Beres says.

6. Partnering with other young organizations has been successful. For example, the team gives away a few tickets to staff at Chicago Sports and Social. In return, this group emails Summer Lovin’ info—twice—to its list of 20,000 recipients. “If two tickets are a $170 value, even if only two people buy from it, we’ll have broken even.”

To track which method works best, people are asked online how they heard about the event when they buy their tickets. Currently, it’s too early to track where people have heard about it this year, but traditionally, the majority of people say they heard about it from another board member or a strategic partnership, Beres says.

Ultimately, what does Beres thinks makes this event so successful?

“It’s for a great cause, most importantly,” Beres says, “but we’re combining the best things about Chicago—our philanthropic community, talented young singles, and our great restaurants.”

Interested in seeing what it’s all about? Purchase your ticket for tomorrow’s event here.