2012 Nonprofit PR Awards: Event PR

Co-Winner: Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare – Grand Opening of the New Elmhurst Memorial Hospital

In the highly competitive healthcare market of suburban Chicago—where six hospitals are within six miles of the new Elmhurst location (pictured)—how do you best promote the opening of a new hospital to the community? Research showed that women age 30-40 are the key healthcare decision makers. Research also showed a universal truth: If you offer free food and family entertainment at an event, people will come. And come they did. By communicating early and often—via print, radio, broadcast, the Web and social media—and via word-of-mouth, the hospital drew more than 13,000 people to 12 events held within 10 days. Visits to the hospital Web site approached 800,000 from January to October 2011, and media outreach culminated in 40 articles about the grand opening, held on June 25. —SVC

Co-Winner: Hyundai Motor America and Finn Partners – Hope, Healing, Hydrogen

Since 2001, Hyundai Motor America (HMA) and its more than 800 dealers have fought against childhood cancer through its Hope on Wheels (HOW) campaign. On Sept. 1, 2011, HOW launched its largest effort to date: donating $7.1 million to 71 cancer programs nationwide through a grant process that invited nearly 200 Children’s Oncology Group institutions to apply. As part of an effort to honor grant winners and blend green technology and childhood cancer messaging, HMA integrated its Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) into the mix. “Having an authentic story is key to any campaign,” says Zafar Brooks, director of corporate social responsibility, Hyundai Motor America. “The overwhelming media response the program received confirmed our belief that telling an authentic story that is focused on the families and children impacted by cancer as well as the important work pediatric cancer researchers do is crucial to raising awareness.” The results were electric: PR agency Finn Partners executed 71 grant ceremonies across the U.S., five influencer receptions and drove the FCEV more than 4,500 miles coast to coast. Media coverage garnered more than 14 million impressions, plus considerable social media traction. —SVC

Honorable Mentions:

Maxwell House and Hunter Public Relations – Drops of Good: The Maxwell House Community Project: Hunter PR helped position Maxwell House as a brand that does good by driving “Drops,” which provided money to five community centers across the U.S. for makeovers. Modern Family star Julie Bowen acted as the national spokesperson.

Muslim Association of Puget Sound and Nyhus Communications – Mosque Grand Opening for Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS), Redmond, Wash.: Nyhus’ pro bono PR, public affairs and event management helped draw 250 attendees from the Seattle area to the mosque opening, including national influencers from government and interfaith communities.

Norton Museum of Art and O’Donnell Agency – Norton Museum of Art “Birthday Bash”: To publicize the museum’s 70th birthday, O’Donnell helped construct a seven-decade timeline with facts, anecdotes and milestones, which proved to be a valuable time saver for reporters, resulting in widespread coverage of the bash.