Unique non-profit sector contributions deserved recognition last night

Last night's PRWeek Awards featured a staggering 140 nominations, among them some inspiring campaigns from the non-profit sector.

Non-profit sector campaigns demonstrated clever and creative approaches, without big budgets, writes Kathleen Christie
Non-profit sector campaigns demonstrated clever and creative approaches, without big budgets, writes Kathleen Christie

The non-profit sector nominations demonstrated that clever and creative approaches are possible without big budgets behind them. Here are four take-homes on why they worked and why they deserved to be among the winners.

PRWeek UK Awards 2016: Winners revealed

In Pictures: PRWeek Awards - part one

Clever positioning is used to drive their point home

The campaigns analysed some tricky and tired issues and showed how impactful messages can be created through challenging expected approaches. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) undertook careful research to determine how best to frame its campaign against the trade union bill - a potentially tricky area for broad public appeal. This resulted in a focus on the government threatening the right to strike – a British freedom that the research identified public support for.

To refresh public interest in their coastal conservation work, the National Trust reframed their key message about coastal protection to a more personal tone about protecting memories. Supporters subsequently inundated them with stories of why they love the coast, which renowned poet John Cooper Clarke amassed into a well-received poem.

Unusual partnerships extend their reach

For traditionally less sexy causes – supporting military veterans and tackling loneliness in older people – bringing in an unlikely youth angle created energy and an opportunity to increase support amongst a younger audience.

The Royal British Legion teamed up with young celebrity supporters including Lewis Hamilton to ask them to tell the story of why they wear a poppy, whilst Age UK worked with Radio One on a volunteering campaign to encourage young people to enjoy a cup of tea and chat with an older person.

Real people are the heart of the story

The TUC confounded tired stereotypes about who unions represent by foregrounding the stories of young women union members who had no choice but to strike. Amongst them was Lucy, a firefighter who talked about how she went on strike to make sure she could keep people safe.

The MS Society supported people with MS to make direct representations to politicians as part of their ‘Enough’ campaign. Among them was Rebecca, diagnosed with MS three years ago and now facing a growing struggle with relapses and extreme fatigue. She spoke to her local MP about how frightened she was about the cuts.

They demonstrate that real change is possible

Importantly, these nominations show that effective campaigns can truly change the lives of the people and causes they support for the better.

The TUC campaign ensured that the final scope of the Trade Union Act was hugely reduced in terms of the damage to unions’ freedom to operate. The National Trust continues to safeguard hundreds of miles of coastline for us all to enjoy and the ‘Enough’ campaign success means that thousands of people living with MS will continue to receive the payments they need to live independently.

These entries were a powerful reminder of the non-profit sector’s unique contribution to the world of PR.

Kathleen Christie is a campaigns and advocacy consultant for INGO and was a judge of the PRWeek awards

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