Every day, nonprofits all over our country (and world, for that matter) are faced with the challenge of:

1)      attracting new donors
2)      staying connected and engaged with current donors
3)      securing regular donations from 1 and 2 above
4)      beyond donations, how do get people give their time, skills and/or  resources

There are literally hundreds of strategies and tactics that have been and are being used to accomplish the challenges above.  One tactic that has become a regular staple for nonprofit communicators and fundraisers is offering updates, statistics, stories and illustrations of the impact that  donations are making. I’ve seen it so many ways these days – infographics, video testimonials, quick callouts in annual reports. The list goes on and on. And now, it has come to breast cancer awareness ads.

I have always thought that organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, American Cancer Society and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation do good work.  Why? Because they are established nonprofits, they contribute to editorial on the subject quite often and they have many cause marketing partners, to name a few. My basic understanding is that they gather money and support people who need it – those with cancer and institutions that research how to prevent cancer.  But, quite frankly, I have no idea what they really do.  Who are they funding?  And what are they doing?

To my recollection (and opinion,) the ads I hear about breast cancer awareness are rallying people to participate in walks or runs and are full of “feel good messages.” Here is the script to an Avon Walk for Breast Cancer ad from 2012:

It’s more than a walk; it’s a movement – powered by passion and courage.  Vigilence and inspiration. At the Avon Walk for Breast cancer we walk to remember.  To say “I Love You.” “I’m here for you.”  And “We’re in this to end Breast Cancer.” Join us for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  2 days and 39 miles of unstoppable hope. Are you in it to end it?

I still don’t really know why I should participate other than I care about women and I want breast cancer to stop ending lives. Which, of course, I do. But it’s just not quite enough to get me off the couch and to commit.  I care a lot about a number of other causes, too.  There is still something missing – as a potential donor, I don’t know how my $1 is going to make a difference.

Now, read the script of (or watch) this ad that just started running in 2013:

When you walk in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, 12 women can get mammograms.
When you walk in the Avon Walk, you fuel research into the causes of breast cancer.
Last year, Avon walkers helped save the lives of thousands of women. It’s a simple equation.
The more of us who walk; the more of us survive.

Now, that’s more like it! That motivates me. I want to help women get mammograms.  I want to help save lives.  Let this be a lesson to all nonprofits that transparency and reporting impact are key to attracting donors and keeping them engaged.

Have other good examples?  Tweet us a link @williamswhittle

Note: I realize this post is focused on paid media rather than PSA, but since the Avon Foundation for Women is a nonprofit organization, I still think it’s fair to focus on them for this blog post series. I am not aware of any broadcast PSAs that the Avon Foundation for Women has produced, but I’m sure if they wanted to in the future they could receive significant airtime. Their print PSAs can be viewed here and here.