PR News Announces Winners of 2012 Nonprofit PR Awards

The UN Foundation's public affairs team, which was named Association/Nonprofit Team of the Year at PR News' Nonprofit PR Awards.

The creativity and resourcefulness of nonprofit communications were honored on March 15 at the PR News Nonprofit PR Awards luncheon in Washington, D.C. Nearly 200 nonprofit communicators gathered at the historic National Press Club to celebrate initiatives in categories ranging from Advocacy Campaign and Lobbying to Facebook Communications and Media Relations. Click here to see the full list of winners and honorable mentions.

Winners of the Nonprofit PR Awards were asked to share when they knew their campaign was a success, and their responses ran the gamut. Melora Heavey, senior manager of communications for the American Institute of CPAs, the winner in the E-Mail Newsletter category, said that the data around the performance of their e-mail newsletter, Feed the Pig, didn’t lie. “It showed that the majority of people who’ve seen the campaign were likely to take action to improve their personal financial habits,” said Heavey.

Gretchen Cook-Anderson, director of diversity recruiting and advising for the IES Abroad: Your World (Redefined) campaign—winner in the Marketing Campaign category—said she knew that the awareness effort for students was a success when “hundreds of our students across the globe sent in photos on Facebook.” The word “Redefined” aptly described the experience of studying abroad, said Cook-Anderson.

And speaking of Facebook, the luncheon’s keynote presenter, Calvin Stowell, social media strategist for, shared how his organization uses the power of social media—Facebook in particular—to get teens actively engaged in causes they care about. Stowell has been successful in attracting thousands of kids to the Facebook page, and recommends being a friend on Facebook, not a brand. “Facebook is there to share, communicate and collaborate with fans,” he says. “If you’re constantly telling them what to do, you’re like their boss and not their friend.”

Capping the day was the Association/Nonprofit Team of the Year award, taken home by the United Nations Foundation. In 2011, the UN Foundation communications team sold out its second annual Social Good Summit, increased the foundation’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube followers by 200% and launched the first UN Foundation mobile app and mobile text messaging campaign.

Erin Allsman, VP of public relations and social media director at the Brownstein Group, perhaps best summed up the vital work of nonprofit PR professionals in accepting the Nonprofit PR Award in the Public Affairs/Issues Management category. Working with the American Society of Transplantation to fight Medicaid cuts implemented by the Arizona state government—cuts that would eliminate coverage for several non-experimental transplant procedures—Allsman says she knew the campaign was a success when the decision to cut the funding was overturned. “We truly saved lives with this campaign,” she says.

All in a days work for a nonprofit communicator.  

Click here to see the full list of winners and honorable mentions. 

Follow Scott Van Camp: @Svancamp01