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, email@example.com or 212-624-9182.