Most of what we do for our clients is a product of putting on our thinking caps. This holiday season we decided that was the best gift we could give to help a nonprofit in need. And here is the story of how it all began…

Last Thanksgiving, I was reading my local newspaper and saw this ad.

OP3 2014 Connection Ad_compressedIt was one of very few full color ads so it caught my attention. When I started reading it, I was learning for the first time that there were nonprofits helping people in need “in my own backyard”; and there were a lot more organizations than I even knew about. To say I had an epiphany would be an overstatement, but I do remember thinking “what a perfect way to keep my giving local where it is needed most! More people in our very privileged county should do this.” But while the ad caught my attention, I was left with too many questions: what amount of giving would make a serious impact for each of these charities? What exactly will my donation go to provide? Who is going to benefit from the services of these nonprofits?

So, we reached out the kind-hearted folks at Fairfax County’s Office of Public Private Partnerships (OP3) and asked if we could work with them on this year’s ad and help take it to a new level of success. They were gracious enough to take us up on the on the offer. Here’s what it turned into:


2015 OP3 Ad by Williams WhittleThe changes boiled down to 3 basic ingredients that would make people act (aka a strong call to action):

1. A tangible ask—we asked OP3 to ask their nonprofit partners to supply an exact amount that would make a difference to those they serve. That way, people who have $20 or $1,000 know their giving will make an impact.

2.A description of the impact—it was literally as simple as using icons to illustrate the type of and for whom the donation would positively affect. We all have causes that are close to our hearts, so if you were a “book” person, you would be instantly drawn to that giving opportunity.

3. A headline to make people stop and think—it’s often underestimated, but the power of a good headline could be worth money in the bank for a nonprofit. With all of the holiday “give and give back” language, we wanted to stand out.


Along with OP3, we made requests to the media to run the ad for free. So far, we’ve secured placements in The Sun Gazette, Connection Newspapers, Washingtonian and Posh Seven Magazine, and an eblast through Viva Tysons and Smart CEO.

OP3 ad in Connection Newspapers_compressedIt just goes to prove, with good creative and a worthy message, the media is also willing to lend a helping hand. And together, we can hopefully help local nonprofits raise much needed funding for 2016.