Tag Archives: public service announcements

Marketing of Nonprofits

Many organizations often have complicated marketing messages. They need to state the need they meet, how the public and government can help, and build relationships with donors. This is especially true with nonprofit organizations where the messages can be replete with complex jargon and hard-to-understand programs.

Nonprofit organizations need to provide clear explanation of goals and convince people to support its causes. Many nonprofit organizations have a difficult time competing – after all, there are no bad causes, only causes that either resonate – or not – with prospective donors.

The Colon Cancer Alliance is one of these types of organizations, and they eventually turned to marketing professionals for help in recrafting messages and marketing programs. One of the campaigns that they used during Shark Week called out the fact that while sharks attack only 16 people per year, more than 130,000 people each year are diagnosed with colon cancer!

Even words such as “disabled” or “disability” or “disease” can cause confusion and concern. These are broad phrases that can be applied to virtually any illness. Be specific in the messages, audiences, and treatments. After all, even nonprofits have competitors.

What causes motivate you?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into teams.
  2. Have each team select a different nonprofit organization to examine.
  3. Review and revise the message and vision of the nonprofit.
  4. Develop a marketing program for it that is creative and catchy.
  5. Have students vote on the most effective campaign.
  6. How should it be deployed?

Source:  New York Times

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Texting and Driving – NO!


We hear it every day – don’t text while you drive. Yet, a billboard in Toronto, Ontario seemed to encourage people to text AND drive. What??

The message on the billboard reads “Text and Drive” with the name “Wathan Funeral Home” at the bottom of the sign. That’s rough – but it wasn’t real. The billboard was sponsored by an agency as an effort to discourage texting and driving. When viewers brought up the Wathan Funeral Home Web site, they were greeted with a message about getting Canadians to stop texting while driving.

Why the billboard? Simple, we tend to ignore the routine message, or think it applies to someone else. But the shock value of the sign, combined with the presumed advertiser of a funeral home, made drivers stop and think. According to site statistics, drivers who text are 23 more times likely to be involved in an accident.

Text and drive? Nope.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their habits texting and driving.
  2. Show the Web site: http://wathanfuneral.com/
  3. Make sure to click on the icons on the right-hand side for more information.
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for an issue about which they are passionate.
  5. Have each team post its PSA on the board and discuss what makes an effective PSA.

Source: Canadian New Service

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PSA: “Don’t Jerk and Drive”


Why do so many public safety announcements have to be serious – and usually very tedious as well? Of course, PSAs should be educational and informative, but they don’t have to be boring. After all, if the campaign is compelling, and even a little humorous, the viewer is much more likely to recall the campaign and even practice the safety tips.

That was the thought process behind South Dakota’s recent winter driving PSA titled “Don’t Jerk and Drive.” The catchy phrase was presented using an animated video that teaches viewers to drive safely when hitting a patch of ice on the road. Instead of “jerking” the wheel, the video illustrates how drivers can safely steer cars back onto the road smoothly, thus avoiding accidents. Great concept – great instruction and it outperformed other PSA campaigns by 25 to 1.

Unfortunately, the state’s Department of Public Safety decided to pull the ad from television when there were too many comments about “jerking and driving.” Come on – take the joke – and keep up the good work instructing drivers on safely navigating icy roads this winter.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role of PSAs in advertising. Why are these important?
  2. Poll students: What PSA campaigns can they recall? Why are those memorable?
  3. Show South Dakota’s Web site and video: http://drivesafesd.com/dontjerkthewheel/
  4. To illustrate other creative PSA campaigns, show Virgin Airline’s safety video: http://youtu.be/r6CJXdYPRLk
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a topic for a PSA campaign and design a creative campaign that will get people’s attention and improve safety.

Source: Ad Week

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