How the Pandemic is Changing the World of Public Awareness

We know many of our nonprofit clients and friends are struggling now as spring fundraising efforts are cancelled or on hold.   In conversations with many of these organizations we know they are trying to walk a fine line between being fiscally prudent but also understanding the need to be visible more now than ever.  

As a company that places nonprofit PSA messages on broadcast and digital media, many of our clients are wondering  how this pandemic is affecting PSA usage and whether PSAs can provide the awareness they need right now.

Here’s what we know about PSA usage during this period:

  • A comparison of our television and radio PSA airings from the week of March 8th to the week of March 15th when the implications of the pandemic really started to hit, showed television airings remaining consistent, with radio airings showing a strong increase.
  • Though we don’t have any confirmation, the presumption is local businesses – which are often the backbone of radio advertising – postponed ads since many of their customers were stuck home.   Radio stations used PSAs to fill the open commercial space.
  • The big television networks and radio stations are reporting sharp increases in viewership and listenership.   It’s too early for us to start seeing these increases in the Nielsen audience data but that should come
  • In conversations with media gatekeepers they tell us they are continuing to work during the pandemic – whether at the station or remotely  – and they are going about normal business when it comes to receiving and reviewing PSAs.   These PSA Directors urged that we continue to send PSAs as they are available, and not hold them.
  • Internet usage has also seen a sharp increase with cities on lockdown, employees working from home, and students participating in virtual classes. 
    • comScore reports online news site readership is up 46%
    • Content provider Outbrain experienced double digit growth and trending upward steadily
    • Overall there’s more online chatting, shopping, video streaming and more time spent on games

What does all this mean?   As most of the country “shelters at home” the opportunity to reach a captive audience is unprecedented.     Nonprofits should take advantage of this time and at minimum should be active on their social channels.    For opportunities on how organizations can reach broadcast and online audiences, Connect360 can help.

About Connect 360

Connect360 is a leading media placement agency driving measurable results for some of Charity Navigator’s highest-ranked nonprofits, well-known associations, government agencies and public relations/marketing firms.

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