2010 NonProfit PR Awards: PR on a Shoestring Budget

Winner: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History - Vince & Larry Crash into the Smithsonian (July 14, 2010)

To raise awareness around the National Museum of American History’s work in collecting objects relating to auto safety, its public affairs team went for an anniversary tie-in that the media would love: the 25th anniversary of the car safety PSAs featuring crash dummies Vince and Larry. Actors portraying Vince and Larry “crashed” a donation ceremony of car safety gear at the museum, and the story was picked up by hundreds of outlets across the country. Even better, much of the equipment and other event resources were donated, keeping costs low. —Scott Van Camp

Honorable Mentions:

American Society of Landscape Architects, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin U.S. Botanic Garden - The Sustainable Sites Initiative

To promote the benefits of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), the country’s first national rating system for sustainable landscapes, the three organizations used case studies to draw in the media, and sustainability evangelists to conduct grassroots outreach. As a result of the effort, nearly 350 projects from around the world requested to be in on a SITES pilot program. 

Florida Realtors - Florida Open House Weekend

Timed to offer homebuyers a chance to take advantage of a federal tax credit, Florida Realtors used a Web destination, 50,000 blue balloons, customizable radio spots and other media outreach to promote the statewide Open House Weekend. The effort garnered widespread media coverage and nearly 20,000 Web page views leading up to the event, and 15,000 houses listed during the big weekend.

Kaiser Permanente - Raising Visibility of Kaiser Permanente Innovation through Media Tours, Pitching & Events

To highlight innovation, Kaiser Permanente opened up its Garfield Health Care Innovation Center to the media for the first time, hosting tours for editors of Wired, Harvard Business Review and Fast Company, among others. As a result, Fast Company named KP the fifth most innovative healthcare company in the world.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) – “The PIO Show Must Go On: Communicating Through Cutbacks” Social Media Webinar

Facing budget cutbacks and the axing of its annual Public Information Officer Forum, the NAIC decided to hold the event in cyberspace instead, as a webinar on social networking. With focused content and Broadway-themed segments (“Twitter Twitter Bang Bang”), the webinar attracted 56 PIOs from 46 states, a 40% increase in participation over the 2008 live forum—and all on a drastically reduced budget.

REVOLUCION - The Heartbeat of Broadway/El Latido de Broadway

To build awareness around Latino heart health, REVOLUCION and the American Heart Association’s Founders Affiliate aligned with Broadway shows In the Heights and West Side Story to get the word out. During CPR Awareness Week, the media joined cast members onstage to learn Hands-Only CPR, which helped drive more than 7 million media placements.

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association - NPE2012 Venue Launch

A carefully timed multimedia campaign convinced SPI stakeholders that moving its trade show from Chicago to Orlando was a good thing. Emails, a dedicated Web page, a press webinar and extensive pitching all contributed to positive feedback and a sense of revitalization for plastics manufacturing.