By Olivia Overman
You may have seen the magazines Prince William Living and Brides & Weddings in your local area, but have you heard of Give Back Prince William? Rebecca Barnes, owner and publisher of these magazines, has gone one step further in her community endeavors and created Give Back Prince William (Give Back PW), the nonprofit arm of Prince William Living magazine. Created just over two years ago, Give Back PW is just one more way Barnes is giving back to the community in which she spent her childhood.
A Voice for Not-For-Profits
“With so many great not-for-profits in the community, it’s hard to decide who or how to help,“ Barnes said. Though just starting out, Give Back PW has been doing its part to assist not-forprofits in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park during the past two years. Through Prince William Living magazine, Barnes is able to provide a public relations outlet for not-forprofits by featuring them in the Giving Back column of the magazine each month. Articles written about local nonprofits, like Project Mend-A-House and HOLA, help give a voice to these organizations and focus people’s attention on the positive contributions they make to the community. Stemming from the magazine’s mission statement, the goal is not only to inform but also to actively engage readers and hopefully increase volunteerism and donations to organizations.
Asked to describe how the success of Give Back PW is measured, Barnes said it is through feedback. “Recently a woman shared her story with me. She and her children had left an abusive marriage because of connections and information that we provided through Prince William Living. We receive emails and phone calls, I’ve even been stopped in public, and the feedback about what we do is what keeps me going,” Barnes said.
Currently run by volunteers and Prince William Living staff, Give Back PW is also supported by a board of advisors made up of local business and community leaders. One member of the board, Kevin Williams, co-founder and chief executive officer of TekConnX, said of Give Back PW, “There are many entities
in Prince William that need help, but this particular one helps multiple organizations all at the same time.”
“There is so much work to do and not enough workers to get it done. The more hands on the plow makes lighter work, and the more people who are actively engaged in making the communities where we live, work and play better increases the possibilities for the organization’s success,” he continued.
Sponsorship, Marketing, etc….
Offering marketing advice to business owners and nonprofits, and working with small nonprofits to create marketing campaigns and visibility opportunities, are just part of what Barnes and Give Back PW are able to offer. “We [also] host networking and educational events that are designed to help facilitate growth in the business and nonprofit sectors,” she said.
“I see it becoming one of the ‘go to’ organizations that provide support to help other nonprofits in the community accomplish their mission and goals,” Williams said.
The magazine sponsors several annual awards competitions for its readers to nominate and honor these efforts, such as the Giving Back Award for outstanding not-for-profit groups in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. The 2017 award went to Carried To Full Term, a nonprofit organization
based in Haymarket that provides long-term residential support to expectant mothers in crisis.
Barnes is particularly proud of the extraordinary teens scholarship opportunity offered. “This year will be the first year we can do that, and I am grateful,” said Barnes. “We raised more than one thousand dollars with my online birthday party [Facebook fundraiser], and our last fundraiser was the Influential Women Award celebration. One hundred percent of the profits went to the scholarship.” This fundraiser honored the many women in Greater Prince William, who strengthen our community through giving, leaving their marks on the business world and serving as an inspiration to others.
A Shining Future
Barnes has set the bar high for her not-for-profit endeavor in the community. With numerous successful businesses under her belt, she knows how, and more importantly, why she wants to see this organization grow. She is able to leverage her experience in Prince William and knows that what you put into the
community, you will get back. Currently, Give Back PW works with small nonprofits, like Semper K9, to create marketing and visibility campaigns, but plans for the future are big.
Future plans include hosting podcasts and online group hangouts where ideas and information can be shared. “We are [also] launching video this year with the intention of helping nonprofits get the message out about the work that they do. Between print, online, social media, networking and video, we believe we can inform and inspire our community to take ownership of its future,” Barnes said.
“We will offer branding services for small nonprofits, media and marketing packages for larger nonprofits, and partnership opportunities for all nonprofits,” she continued. “Give Back PW can be the marketing, visibility and public education arm of any nonprofit in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park.”
Learn more about Give Back Prince William through its website givebackpw.org and on Facebook at GiveBackPW. And, of course, look out for articles each month about local not-for-profits in the Giving Back column of Prince William Living.
A graduate of American University’s School of Communication, Olivia Overman ([email protected]) is a freelance writer for both online and print publications.