NonProfit PR Awards: Media Relations Campaign: <$50,000 Budget

Campaign: Lemelson – MIT Program Index

Winner: MIT & Cone

In January 2009, the Lemelson-MIT Program, a nonprofit program at MIT, commissioned Cone to conduct a survey among teens to cover their attitudes toward science, technology, engineering and math education. The media relations campaign objectives were to position Lemelson-MIT program as a thought leader in technological invention and raise the importance of learning about science, technology, engineering and math.

Among the tactics leveraged by Cone were developing the survey and related materials for the press; finding a third-party vendor for the survey; create graphics to visualize findings and craft a news release to publicize survey findings as well as post it on MIT’s home page. Cone trained the executive director of the Lemelson-MIT program to be fully prepared for media interviews. In addition to media outreach to local and national reporters covering the science and technology beats, the team also leveraged social media tools such as Twitter to post the survey findings.

In less than three months, Cone’s campaign garnered more than 80 million impressions, impelling many to learn about the importance of education in science, technology, engineering and math. Among the media outlets that gave the survey findings coverage were BusinessWeek, Scientific American and the Boston Globe.

Honorable Mentions:

Please Touch Museum: Grand Opening Campaign—The museum’s media relations team pitched the grand opening to outlets such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, which ran a 12-page special section, and the popular TV show Jon & Kate + 8, which led to 4.5 million viewers watching the family visit the museum on the season 4 finale.

American Society of Anesthesiologists: Responsible Use of Propofol—By choosing spokespeople with the best expertise and skills in working with the media, the ASA became the “go-to” source for expert medical comment on propofol in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death.

King County Library System: Look to Your Library—Between September 2008 and April 2009, 89,000 King County workers lost their jobs. While the economic downturn persisted, the King County Library launched a multi-platform media campaign which promoted the job-search tools and resources the found at the public libraries.

Continuum Health Partners: “Zen Goes Urban…and National”—The Urban Zen Foundation transformed Beth Israel’s Inpatient Oncology Unit into an “Optimal Healing Environment,” enhancing the care of cancer patients and their families, and garnering extensive media coverage.

Zenzi Communications & San Diego Botanical Garden: Hamilton Children’s Garden Grand Opening—Zenzi utilized social media sites like Twitter to contact celebrity moms about the garden opening, and Facebook to update readers on the construction progress. 5,000 visitors attended the event.

Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation: Winter 2009 Love Campaign—GPTMC’s 10-week Love campaign launched in January 2009 effectively promoted the city as a tourist destination through targeted media outreach, which led to $200,000 of additional revenue for local hotels.

Louder Than Words & Nonprofit Finance Fund: State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey—Louder Than Words landed an exclusive story in the New York Times for client Nonprofit Finance Fund on the strength of NFF's State of the Nonprofit Sector survey, an outreach tool recommended by the agency. In addition to the Times piece, the media campaign for the survey racked up more than 80 pieces of coverage.