Powerful video PSA makes cause real

November 12, 2007

Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV) created this powerful video PSA to communicate the disturbing realities of family violence. It’s a great example of how to engage donors and other stakeholders with your non-profit cause. But how can you make a video and get people to watch it without a big budget, or maybe no budget? I contacted FSGV to find out how they did it.

According to a recent AP/AOL video survey, 54% of Internet users in the US have watched video online. This represents a 34% increase since only a year ago. There’s no doubt that online video is becoming a hot marketing tool.

Without the big budgets of commercial enterprises, non-profits have to rely on creativity, partnerships and strategic leveraging in order to take advantage of video PSA’s and their increasing presence online.

I contacted Leah Zille, Manger of Communications at Family Services of Greater Vancouver, to find out how her non-profit was able to create its riveting, in-your-face PSA.

She explained that the creative work was provided pro bono by the advertising firm Publicis. FSGV did incur some hard costs such as talent and the hiring of a producer but the end product was created at a fraction of the cost because of the generosity of the advertising firm.

Publicis leveraged their relationships with directors, producers, editing houses, PR firms and television stations to ensure they could make the PSA and get it to air. In-kind contributions for the project to date are estimated at $750,000.

Currently, the PSA is airing on Global BC, CBC, CityTV, Omni and KVOS. It is also viewed online via an independent website as well as YouTube. Having a separate site from the agency’s regular site allows them to track how many have viewed the video and made a donation as a result.

The PSA is one part of FSGV’s first phase of a campaign to raise awareness of the work the non-profit does in the community. Next steps include print media, radio, Web and guerrilla on-the-street campaigns. The online presence of the PSA has significant exposure potential and it will be interesting to compare number of viewers via network TV with the Web. So far, FSGV is pleased with the video’s initial impact.

Leah is thrilled with the contribution from Publicis stating that if the firm had not taken them under their wing, the project would not have been possible.

There are many local and international advertising/communications firms that regularly take on pro bono projects. The impact such a partnership can have on a non-profit’s aims and activities is substantial. It’s well worth reaching out to some of them to see if your non-profit’s cause can find a similar benefactor.

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One Response to “Powerful video PSA makes cause real”


  1. […] a PR agency involved with your cause December 12, 2007 A few posts ago, I wrote about a powerful video PSA created pro bono by an advertising/communications agency for Family Services of Greater Vancouver. […]


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