2012 Nonprofit PR Awards: Public Service

Winner: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons — 2011 AAOS Public Service Campaign: ‘Decide to Drive’

To combat the deadly menace of distracted driving—whether it’s eating in the front seat or texting—AAOS launched and disseminated the findings from a Harris Interactive poll showing the disconnect between what drivers report observing about distracted driving and what they report practicing. A press conference, media tour, outdoor ads and social media outreach have helped the “Decide to Drive” campaign reach a national audience of more than 3.7 million people, and a school curriculum about the dangers of distracted driving was distributed to 10,000 5th and 6th grade classes in fall 2011.

“We had so many great ideas for the distracted driving campaign,” says Sandra Gordon, director of PR for AAOS. “Our challenge came with how my small staff of six mighty PR people could actually make all of these things happen.” The team proceeded to get orthopaedic surgeons all over the country excited about the campaign—the surgeons volunteered to help make something happen in their states and hometowns. The AAOS board of directors also got involved. “Our partners, the Orthopaedic Trauma Association and the Auto Alliance, all helped and volunteered. And, each of us on my mighty staff simply did whatever it took—giving our own time—to make this entire campaign a reality. We are all committed to saving lives and preventing injuries caused by distracted driving crashes.” —SG

Honorable Mentions:

American Academy of Ophthalmology – Want Scary Eyes? The Dangers of Nonprescription Decorative Contact Lenses: PSAs on YouTube and social media press releases timed with Halloween aimed to put a fright into people who are considering wearing decorative contact lenses but are unaware of the health risks.

National Drowning Prevention Alliance and Payton Communications – NDPAPR: National Public Education Program: Beverly Payton, a bereaved parent of a child drowning victim, provided pro bono PR services to the NDPA that helped the nonprofit organization earn a $1.3 million contract from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.