Community Relations

Winner: Development Counsellors International Campaign: Helping the Displaced of Hurricane Katrina: A National Public Outreach Campaign Recognized as the most devastating natural disaster in the United States in 2005; it was also a juggernaut of public relations functions, from crisis communications to community relations. In the latter category, the Development Counsellors International (DCI) - an organization that specializes in economic development and tourism marketing - set a high standard with its work to promote the Baton Rouge Area Foundation's efforts to help the devastated community recover. The Foundation's work was often overshadowed in the press by that of high-profile national entities such as the American Red Cross and FEMA, but its dexterity enabled it to accommodate victims on a more personal level. The DCI team initiated a media outreach effort to draw attention to the nonprofit's capabilities during the city's darkest hours. While it was no challenge to attract camera crews to the region, it was far more difficult to persuade them to focus on the Foundation's work. DCI did just that, overcoming a number of obstacles along the way. For example, infrastructure damages after the storm required that most of the communications between DCI and Foundation execs took place via text message -not the best way to get to know a new client while everyone was still in the trenches. Thanks to DCI's efforts in issuing calls to action across the devastated region, the Foundation's message was heard loud and clear. The nonprofit came to be viewed as an integral part of the recovery effort, garnering media attention from top-tier outlets and raising a staggering $14,300,000 in funds to help the relief efforts. Honorable Mentions Grooving Your Body Toward Better Health: Fast Horse Inc. Last year, Fast Horse Inc., came up with the "do" campaign: an effort to raise awareness of how incorporating small amounts of physical activity daily - for example, raising the heart rate for just 10 minutes - can lead to significant positive impacts on the health of Minnesota residents. The five-part campaign attracted local newspaper and television coverage and generated more than 1.9 million impressions. PG&E's CARE Program for 2005 Outreach Campaign: Pacific Gas and Electric Company PG&E's California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program, which provides a 20 percent monthly discount to low income, senior and disabled customers launched an outreach program to ethnic communities. The outreach team participated in a total of 90 multi- cultural events where it informed customers about CARE and contacted community based organizations. It assisted them in their efforts and gave each a certificate of appreciation. The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships: Haberman & Associates Pond hockey is a religion for many in such snowy states as Minnesota. With a deep understanding of this sentiment, PR agency Haberman & Associates initiated a community relations campaign, this time with itself as the client. The PR pros worked to spread the love for pond hockey among the community's children, as well as keeping the game alive among adults. The strategy was to develop a national event to pay tribute to and remind people of the dying tradition, culminating in a three-day tournament in downtown Minneapolis. With sponsors lining up in support and media attention swirling, the event was a knockout success: 200 million media impressions were generated, tens of thousands of spectators attended, and $20,000 was raised for local charities.

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