THE BIG PITCH: How to maintain awareness for charities not involvedwith the terrorist crisis

CHRISTINE BRAGALE, Director, media relations, Goodwill Industries

Intl., Bethesda, MD

The mission of Goodwill Industries is to provide education, job training

and career services for people who are unemployed, so we are not

directly involved in the WTC disaster. However, we knew in the days

following the attack that the most important thing was the need for

money, blood and other supplies to support relief efforts in New York

City and Washington, DC. Several Goodwill agencies did offer their

donation collection points as sites for blood drives, but what we are

known for is helping people find and keep jobs. Last week we contacted

our key partners in New York, Washington and elsewhere to remind them

that we have a strong cadre of adult education staff in communities

across the US. So, while we temporarily halted proactive media relations

efforts, we made sure to maintain direct contact with the community

leaders involved in rebuilding efforts at all levels.

MIKE SWENSON, President, Barkley Evergreen & Partners Public


The biggest mistake a nonprofit can make right now is to disappear.

While it is right for us to focus on raising money to help the victims

and heroes of the attack on America, it is also right for us to focus on

other worthy causes. In our work with breast cancer through Lee Jeans

and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the core strategy right

now is to be sensitive to current events, but to remain committed to the

cause. Breast cancer takes the lives of 50,000 women each year. That

will not change until a cure is found and a cure requires continuous

funding for research. Nonprofits must not deviate from delivering their

important messages and must continue forward with their events and fund

raising. It may be a bit more difficult right now, but it will be more

difficult later if the public stops hearing from them.

MICHAEL CROOK, Director of PR, Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity's work has not slowed since September 11. We will

keep our profile high by directing more pitching effort to the Northeast

and Mid-Atlantic, where we've gotten great support. Examples: Red Cross

chapters, overwhelmed with volunteers, are referring energetic people to

Habitat affiliates. We got listed on the site that

President Bush mentioned during a televised speech as a worthy

organization. Americans want to do something good for their neighbors.

Our message: Habitat for Humanity is a great place for it. We build more

than houses. We strengthen families and communities. When the media asks

about donations, we will point out that our donations have not dropped

off, except for a brief decline in online giving during that terrible

week. Instead, people are donating in the memory of others through our

Gifts from the Heart program.

JENNIFER HILL, Director of consumer marketing/PR, GCI Read-Poland,

Austin, TX

What do the events of September 11 have to do with Girlstart, a

nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering girls in math, science

and technology? Nothing. Or so you'd think? Parents are desperate to

find ways for kids to cope with feelings of vulnerability and sadness.

In times of disaster, Americans want to create communities and serve

each other with a new understanding of what it means to give. Never

before has it been more imperative to prepare girls for an uncertain

future and give them strong role models. Girlstart is helping empower

girls by putting a hi-tech future in their hands. In March, Girlstart

will hold a unique anniversary party called "We Can Do It!" Girls will

face their fears through empowering interactive activities like handling

reptiles, rock climbing, even conquering stage fright with karaoke.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in