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HomeCase StudiesHow 5 nonprofits improved their PR efforts

How 5 nonprofits improved their PR efforts

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Monitoring and measuring PR efforts is essential to truly understand the impact of a brand’s communications strategy. All PR and comms pros live with this reality. Savvy nonprofit comms pros who must balance tight budgets with high expectations learn to come up with creative and unique ways to maximize their use of PR software.

These five nonprofit organizations give us concrete and clever tips on how to tackle their communications strategies by making the best use of their monitoring and measurement tools.

1. Manage hundreds of events and outreach

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is known for its signature head-shaving events, where volunteers go bald to raise money for childhood cancer research. Because the Foundation was founded on St. Patrick’s Day in 2000, a large majority of events take place during March.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation comms team provides media support to hundreds of events to reach local audiences. Their role is critical as they use media coverage to drive awareness, participation and donations. Cision Communications Cloud was used pre-, day of and post-event to identify appropriate media contacts, pull hyper-targeted media lists, craft and distribute email pitch campaigns and attribute value to earned media efforts.

Out of the events that received personalized media outreach, 92% secured some form of coverage and St. Baldrick’s Foundation saw a 78% increase in media impressions year-over-year.

infographic with two data points: of all events that received personalized media outreach 92% secured some form of coverage, and 78% increase in media impressions from last year's campaign

To learn more about St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s communications strategy, read its success story.

2. Using in-depth analysis to increase awareness and inform the comms strategy

The Stroke Association is the UK’s leading stroke charity. As many as 80% of all strokes are thought to be preventable, meaning the greatest hope for diminishing the condition lies with education and awareness. The Stroke Association had two goals in mind: raise awareness and develop a campaign to renew the national stroke strategy for England (which was coming to an end and needed signatures for its petition).

Four months before launching its campaign, the Stroke Association turned to Cision Insights to create and implement a research-based foundation to allow the PR team to measure the impact of its activity. The Cision analysis aided in optimizing the PR outreach in mid-flight and measured awareness of strokes among the general public.

Cision was able to show that although the campaign reached 48% of UK adults, only 14% had been exposed to coverage featuring a link to the website to sign the petition. Following this feedback, the Stroke Association adjusted its activity and managed to increase the coverage featuring the website link, doubling its original results.

Cision's measurement program for the stroke association: audience identification survey, online dashboards, live social media tracking and analysis, and awareness surveys

To learn more about The Stroke Association’s communications strategy, read its success story.

3. Using multimedia distribution to spark engagement

Following Hurricane Harvey, Banfield Pet Hospital was inspired to conduct research to gain insight into pet owner disaster preparedness. At the conclusion of the study, a shocking statistic was discovered: 91% of pet owners were not prepared for the next natural disaster. Banfield Foundation, the charitable arm of Banfield Pet Hospital, sprang into action and created a pet disaster preparedness campaign to educate pet owners across the country.

Banfield Foundation produced a Public Service Announcement (PSA) and partnered with MultiVu, a Cision Company, to distribute both the PSA and a Multichannel News Release (MNR) to local and national radio and TV stations.

“The MNR was really helpful in terms of placing all assets in one place; it was a succinct, well-designed package that really enhanced our outreach,” said Danielle Paleafico, senior account supervisor at Coyne PR.

In a few short weeks, the disaster preparedness campaign generated 558 stories and more than 627 million media impressions. The social media push generated more than 2 million impressions, 500,000 views of the PSA, 55,000 engagements and nearly 8,000 clicks to the website.


infographic for the disaster preparedness campaign, which generated 558 stories and 627 million media impressions

To learn more about Banfield Foundation’s communications strategy, read its success story.

4. Maximize fundraising with unique monitoring approach

SickKids Foundation, one of the largest charities in Canada, has a department called “Stewardship and Donor Relations,” which includes a team of writers dedicated to creating content for donors. They write Impact reports explaining to donors why donations are needed and how their contributions have helped the organization. SickKids Foundation sets up monitoring searches in Cision Comms Cloud to cover all relevant medical journals. The writers look up the reports every day to see if affiliated researchers have published recent study findings and ground-breaking health discoveries. Using that information, they can tailor their content to their most generous donors and share how their contribution helped a specific researcher further his or her work.

“Because of this program, these donors can see firsthand how their contribution helped,” said Sandra Chiovitti, director of public relations for SickKids Foundation. “This program is very unique and appreciated by our donors and staff. We’re glad we can tailor Cision Comms Cloud to our specific needs.”

To learn more about SickKids Foundation’s communications strategy, read its success story.

5. Manage multiple concurrent campaigns

Alzheimer’s Research UK, one of the world’s largest dementia research charities, often manages several campaigns simultaneously. It is important to understand the impact of each campaign to focus efforts in the right direction.

The comms team uses the campaign function in Cision Communications Cloud to compartmentalize specific projects and campaigns and get a holistic view of how this campaign is running separately from their general coverage. “One part of the team works on pitching human interest stories to national media outlets, which involves personal pitches to freelancers or editors at feature desks,” said Laura Phipps, PhD, head of communications and engagement at Alzheimer’s Research UK. “Now that they do their pitches through Cision Communications Cloud, they can tag coverage to a specific campaign and can easily look up how many pitches have gone out, who they pitch it to, what their success rate is, who has been coming back, etc. It really allows them to get a more detailed picture of the work that they are doing. They can learn lessons more quickly than they were able to do before.”

To learn more about Alzheimer’s Research UK’s communications strategy, read its success story.

Monitoring and measuring tools have become essential to optimizing a communications strategy. Nonprofit organizations can benefit from these tools and maximize the benefits by tailoring them to their needs. What strategies or tools have you discovered to enhance your use of earned media software?

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