Nearly 200 PR and public affairs pros gathered for the Nov. 3 PR News NonProfit PR Awards luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to honor the best in nonprofit communications.
Keynoter Diane Gage Lofgren, senior VP of brand strategy at Kaiser Permanente, kicked off the proceedings by saying that while it's not easy to work in the nonprofit space because of the economy, PR pros are "fueled by serving a purposeful mission." Gage Lofgren shared insight into some successful campaigns that Kaiser Permanente has engineered, including a fight against child obesity. She ended her talk with some sage advice for all PR pros who are launching and advancing nonprofit programs:
- Ask "What can I do for you?"
- Seek fairness instead of consensus
- Fess up when you mess up
- Move from conflict avoidance to real conversations
- Be the Yoda—mighty and humble, wise and peaceful
Another keynoter, Steve Jost, associate director of communications at the U.S. Census Bureau, gave the audience an inside look at the PR around this year's census effort, including the $2.5 million Super Bowl ad that touched off a media firestorm. "While it wasn't the most highly rated ad on the broadcast, the social media effort created around the commercial was a great success," said Jost. The biggest challenge for Jost: "How do we reach a whole new generation that is consuming media in entirely different ways?"
Jost ended his presentation by reminding the audience that the Census Bureau has a robust Web site filled with reams of data that PR pros could use.
Winners of the NonProfit PR Awards were named in 25 categories. One key takeaway from the award winners was that while a nonprofit initiative might have a tiny budget, the time expense can be mighty high. Upon accepting the award in the PR on a Shoestring Budget category on behalf of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Smithsonian's Melinda Machado said that while the campaign using the old Vince and Larry crash-test dummy characters to promote the museum's car safety exhibits cost just $3,000, it took two years of detective work to hunt down the old Vince and Larry outfits from the 1970s.
See the complete list of PR News NonProfit PR Award winners and honorable mentions.