2014 PR News Agency Elite Awards: Advocacy

Winner:  MassMedia Corporate Communications – Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth

In 2011, the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth became embroiled in a highly publicized controversy when the nonprofit’s then-executive director left the organization amid accusations of misappropriating funds. NPHY was put under state investigation, lost most of its community partner sponsorships, and found itself faced with losing as much as $200,000 in government funding as a result of the scandal. The nonprofit, which seeks to assist homeless youth in Nevada through emergency shelters, medical care, and long-term residential programs, had to find a way to re-build its reputation fast in order to survive the year.

NPHY hired MassMedia’s crisis management and media relations services to restore public trust in the nonprofit. The new PR strategy? Complete transparency. MassMedia advised NPHY to be up-front about the controversy, the wrong doings of former management and the steps they were taking to fix the problem. MassMedia’s team organized media tours and interviews, allowing the press to have unrestricted access to the details of the organization’s current status.

By February 2013, MassMedia’s crisis management plan evolved into a forward-thinking plan for regaining the public’s trust and expanding the NPHY’s partnerships. MassMedia’s media relations team pitched stories that would cast the organization in a positive light and move the rhetoric surrounding NPHY into new directions, away from the topic of its former mismanagement. Reporters had access to NPHY’s supporters and success stories from homeless youth who were positively impacted by the nonprofits operation.

A year removed from the controversy, NPHY has gained back its funding and enjoyed its most successful year in 2013. Since January 2013, media coverage of the NPHY has been overall positive, and mentions of the controversy are scarce. NPHY also secured almost half a million dollars in donations in 2013, ensuring the continued success of their mission for years to come. MassMedia’s campaign to rebuild NPHY’s reputation has increased the nonprofit’s government funding and allowed it to build strong corporate partnerships, paving the way for a successful future.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Chandler Chicco Agency
  • JPA Health Communications – Rooted in Advocacy Relations
  • Lazar Partners/Insulet Corporation
  • TogoRun – Blazing More Trails, Bringing New Hope
  • Powell Tate for the National Women’s Law Center – This is Personal