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 libertyunites.org 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,
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.