PR students help 100s of NZ non-profits

15 October 2019

Providing much needed public relations support to not-for-profits is a win-win for student PR agency Outside the Square.

2019 year marks the twentieth year of the AUT student PR agency that has now helped more than 500 charities, community groups and causes.

Outside the Square (OTS) is the only student-based PR consultancy giving pro-bono support to not-for-profits and every year it offers students the chance to contribute to the local community by applying their knowledge to a real-world PR challenge.

Postgraduate and final year Communications Studies students, majoring in PR, work in teams of five to research, plan and implement a strategic communication plan for their client. This helps with a range of outcomes for the non-profits such as generating awareness for their causes, attracting volunteers, creating fundraising opportunities and developing meaningful partnerships.

OTS is run as closely as possible to a real-life consultancy, where students work as account executives with AUT staff in director roles. Each student team also gets external support from an industry professional who mentors the project. Regular workshops and work-in-progress meetings are also held in-class time to aid the learning process and ensure project success.

Each year the projects have also been recognised for best practice by Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ), the professional PR association, and have won its coveted Paul Dryden Tertiary award. Current projects:


If you’re a not-for-profit organisation (or a consultant with a pro-bono client) with a challenge you need to tackle, OTS may be able to help. Contact Averill Gordon on agordon@aut.ac.nz or 021 575 064 if you would like to get involved next year.