How Student Public Relations Groups Can Harness Online Forms

Written by Amber Derrow on February 6, 2014

Posted in Education, Form Hacks

As a current PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) member and an associate of a public relations student-run firm at the University of Indianapolis, I feel that online forms should become an essential tactic for internal communication and survey-driven research. Many times I find myself in various group texts and emails trying to plan future meeting times, RSVP for upcoming events or answer miscellaneous questions.

Before joining the Formstack team as an intern, I thought this was a normal way to communicate. Now, I see that online form building can solve almost all of the problems and stress of needing to communicate to every individual. Online forms at Formstack are easy to build, easy to use and easy to share.

PRSSA Chapters

The Public Relations Student Society of America is an organization aimed to help students interested in communication and public relations with education and networking. The PRSSA Chapter at UIndy isn’t very large. Communicating to members hasn’t been too difficult for our campus, but I could only imagine the hassle some schools have with reaching out to 100+ members. Creating an online form with Formstack gives every chapter the ease of reaching out to your members, collecting data on the spot, and using the same form for multiple uses.

1. Data Collection

After you build and share your forms, all of the data from submissions are stored in one centralized location. Now there is no need go through multiple emails to see who is coming to a meeting, just go to your Formstack account and every submission is there at your fingertips.

2. Payment Integrations

We all know the pain of having to collect membership fees. Every year, PRSSA chapters have to collect their members’ dues, but with Formstack’s payment integration feature, there is no more chasing. Members can easily fill out a form with their name and information, and they have another year of membership!

3. Branding

What’s more important to PR-savvy students than branding? With Formstack’s customizable features for all form types, a PRSSA chapter can brand every form to their Chapter’s design aesthetics.  Adding logos and changing theme colors and fonts are just a few of the options available.

PR Student-Run Firms

With student-run firms, members of a university have the opportunity to work with real clients, gain hands-on experience and learn essential time-management skills. I’ve been pretty lucky to be a part of the UIndy student-run firm called Top Dog. In the last 3 years we have won the Most Outstanding Firm in the Nation twice, but I wouldn’t call us perfect. There is a lot our firm could improve on, and a lot of those improvements could come from online forms. Internal communication, setting up meeting times and locations, having everyone’s approval on tactics and being able to do all of those things from the simplicity of your phone could improve any PR firm.

1. Approval Workflow

The Approval Workflow feature gives a user the ability to approve or deny submissions which improves internal communication and collaboration between members. In student-run firms, this allows every member to agree on tactics, making sure your whole team is on the same page with your data before sending them off to a client. You can even approve or deny from your email, so there is no need to sign in to your Formstack account from your desktop.

2. Survey Monkey Alternative

Since I started my time with UIndy PRSSA and Top Dog, we have always used Survey Monkey. It is just a quick and easy way to send out surveys for tactical research. We never had the opportunity to make it a “Top Dog” survey and design it to become more interesting, and it wasn’t always the easiest to save data. Now that I am here at Formstack, I see that the possibilities with Survey Monkey are almost nonexistent after you realize Formstack is cheap and has the ability to collect survey data. Formstack is flexible and offers integrations and features you won’t find anywhere else.

3. Mobile Options

When you’re working in a student-run firm, you’re working with multiple people on a team. You’re always on the go, and it’s often difficult to get to a computer or get the group together in one location. With Formstack’s mobile options, you can collect data for events, survey people wherever you are, and even run charts and reports directly from the app.

Any PRSSA chapter or student-run firm could benefit from an account with Formstack. Try the 14-day test trial to see for yourself. Any questions or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!

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