Recently Connect360 sponsored a breakfast seminar for nonprofits, “The Latest Trends in Nonprofit Story Telling and PSA Engagement.”    Panelists featured at the event included the PSA gatekeeper at NBCUniversal, the founder of Out-of-Home for GOOD, and experts from Upworthy and Hulu.

All four brought their unique perspectives to the table, and even though they represented very different platforms, the panelists shared a common ground on these points:

  • To have compelling content, a nonprofit’s creative should start with a “story” versus “selling” the organization or cause.
  • The content should be relatable, rather than shock or awe. It’s important to start with a positive message then tie it back to the core message.
  • The creative should show diversity. Since the media appeals to wide audiences, the creative should embrace multiculturalism.

Here are five key points or best practices from each of the experts:


Vanessa Velez, Manager, Program & Production Administration (programs for USA Network and SyFy Channel) 

  • Awareness months are good angles for helping to put a PSA on the air but it is also critical to provide an evergreen version.
  • Vanessa recommends the PSA end with a quick call to action (e.g. to learn more, for more information).
  • The PSA should NOT include any appeals for donations or use of corporate logos or for-profit entities.
  • Celebrities from other networks cannot be used on NBCUniversal channels.
  • Once cleared, PSAs can stay in rotation for up to a year.

Out of Home for GOOD

Leith El- Hassan, Founder

  • The best out-of-home (OOH) creative uses one strong image and is kept to seven words or less.
  • It’s recommended that the creative avoid dark themes or graphic images, particularly in airports where there needs to be sensitivity about potentially upsetting travelers as they board planes.
  • To obtain donated space, the nonprofit has to win over OOH gatekeepers at the media companies. Make sure the creative is as compelling to them as to the general public.
  • Since placements can stay up for very long periods of time, avoid using stats that can date the creative and circumvent longer exposure.
  • Having multiple versions and creatives can be key to offer flexibility for OOH placements. Out-of-home companies may use one creative on bus shelters and to offer diversity, feature another creative on bus interiors.


Rithesh Menon, Director of NFP / Foundation Partnerships

  • Upworthy likes to collaborate with organizations on content development, versus receiving the finished product and trying to make it fit to their audience/guidelines.
  • Upworthy also likes to work with the nonprofit “from the ground up” – setting clear expectations and establishing a singular vision for a campaign.
  • Story is key – it’s important to generate empathy through storytelling.
  • Be knowledgeable about the different platforms – YouTube vs. Facebook vs. Snapchat vs. Upworthy
  • A call to action is important and it should be subtle yet very clear.  If possible have different versions e.g., donate, sign up, etc.


Tom O’Donnell, Account Executive

  • Younger audiences are migrating to streaming content – American teenagers have an on-demand life.
  • Hulu offers more focused programming versus linear TV. Better to reach your target audience.
  • Video content for placement should match shows which will resonate with your audience. For example, if watching a comedy, the audience does not want to watch something with a heavy tone.
  • Key elements for success include brief yet concise messaging and human-interest topics/stories.
  • The more personal the message, the better for greater impact.


For more information on how to effectively target your campaign message, please contact Annette Minkalis, aminkalis@c360m.com or 212-624-9182.