2023 Williams Whittle Annual PSA Director Survey

As part of our annual survey, we asked PSA Directors across the country what trends they are seeing and how that impacts the free media placements they can deliver for nonprofits. The worst of the pandemic now lies behind us, and as the nonprofit sector recovers, new trends are emerging.

2023 Top PSA Trends:

  1. Post-COVID, more stations are back in the office. In 2023, 80% of station contacts expect to be back in the office. This leads to more opportunities to get in touch with these stations through email, the phone, mail, or even in person!
  2. 93% of PSA Directors receive less than 20 PSAs a week, yet they have space for more! One of the biggest recurring trends reported by PSA Directors is an abundance of capacity to air more PSAs. So now is the time to get your message out there!
  3. PSA Directors will feature PSAs that align with the same station interests from last year. When distributing PSAs to stations, there are two crucial factors to consider – local and station interests. Over 90% of Directors reported that their stations would feature PSAs that align with their station’s interests from last year. Researching the types of PSAs that have been aired in the past by national and local networks will definitely make it easier to curate your PSAs to the station interests.
  4. Ensure that your message is not aligned with a for-profit company. While PSA Directors want to air as many PSAs as possible, PSAs associated with a for-profit company will require a second look. 40% of TV stations will support it with 30% saying it depends on if it’s more of a commercial than a PSA.
  1. 45% of local stations will air a spot that directly asks for donations, TV networks will not. One in four stations will consider it based on the organization and the potential impact on the local community.
  1. PSA Directors appreciate a variety of creative styles, but stories from beneficiaries rank highest. Live action, animation, factoids/statistics all ranked strong.
  2. PSA Directors want high-quality PSAs that appeal to their local audience. This year, more PSA Directors cite their personal relationship with the nonprofit, cause, or creative partner as a strong factor to air a PSA.
  3. 90% of stations are NOT more likely to run a PSA from a well-known nonprofit. As long as your website can build your credibility, then you’ll be evaluated the same!
  4. January, July, October through December have the most available airtime for PSAs. This is good news for nonprofits who want their year-end fundraising to get an extra boost!
  5. PSAs must be distributed 2-4 weeks before you expect them to air. This means nonprofits must plan ahead.
  6. In addition to airing PSAs, 45% of stations will also talk about issue on the air and incorporate them into news stories. So, include your PR pitch with your PSA outreach!
  7. Other Hot tips from PSA Directors:
    1. Make it easy to download
    2. Explain why the message is important
    3. Provide multiple lengths
    4. Send an email with a strong reason to air and name the cause
    5. Provide entertaining content
    6. Make it local


Click here to view or download the full 2023 PSA Survey.