2014 PR News Agency Elite Awards: Community Relations/Volunteer Programs

Winner: Weber Shandwick – Impact Project

Weber Shandwick’s Impact Project was created from the agency’s desire to increase its reputation as a good global citizen and make a positive community impact within areas that provide for a more sustainable future. The project, which encourages Weber Shandwick’s offices around the globe to engage in pro-bono work for nonprofits, launched in 2012 with a somewhat rocky start. While many of the agency’s global offices participated, most local efforts were isolated from the rest of Weber Shandwick’s network, reducing their effectiveness. In 2013 the initiative had the added objective of unifying existing global pro-bono efforts while instilling pride and engagement with employees and demonstrating how Weber Shandwick lives its brand of “Engaging, Always” across the global network.

To unite their global efforts Weber Shandwick worked to bridge the connection between the program’s champions and the advocates within the network that would take action. To achieve this, they rolled out an internal social network built on SocialText to share ideas and resources, updates on progress and success stories between offices. CEO Andy Polansky also encouraged regional senior leadership to make the project a priority for the year ahead, and members of Weber Shandwick’s existing Social Impact Practice identified common leads for the Impact Project across the network.

The Impact project’s influence is now widespread and more effectual than ever. Weber Shandwick Boston is working  on a media plan to raise the visibility of Citizen Schools, a nonprofit which partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for lower-income students. Weber Shandwick Indonesia has partnered with World Wildlife Fund to help shape the campaign around WWF’s global 50th anniversary, while Weber Shandwick Sydney is providing strategic counsel to United Way Australia—an umbrella organization that supports 300 grassroots community groups across the country.

Honorable Mentions:

  • MassMedia Corporate Communications
  • Waggener Edstrom Communications – WE Community Involvement