By Rob Whittle, CEO, Williams Whittle

When we first talk to people about Public Service Announcements (PSAs), their first reaction is almost always skeptical. “Oh,” they say. “They never run them on TV, and if they do, they appear in the middle of the night.” Or, “Sure, you may get a few on the air, but they’ll be the ten-second variety.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. If there’s a code to be cracked, then we’ve cracked it. Our clients receive millions of dollars in free spots, and the majority of them run in desirable time periods. All it takes is an organized, innovative approach to the PSA gatekeepers,  the PSA Directors at networks and local TV stations around the country. We glean insights from our annual surveys of the PSA gatekeepers, because like any good marketing campaign, you have to know who your target is and what they want. This is our 10th year of conducting this survey, and again, like any sales effort, tastes and desires change from year to year.

The rewards are often huge. In our recently conducted survey of donors, a significant percentage of them said that their first awareness of a charity was from a PSA. Nonprofits can use a PSA strategy together with other platforms like social media, direct mail, email marketing, and other means of outreach but PSAs are the platform that garners the most eyeballs by far. Often, indeed, serving as the first time a potential donor is acquainted with the cause. The other platforms are then used to come in behind the awareness vehicle to cause action.

Most people know that only 501c3s qualify for PSAs. If your organization needs to reach new audiences, you should strongly consider a PSA strategy. Click here to download our 2021 Annual PSA Survey.

For more on “Ideas that Generate Change for Nonprofits”, visit

Williams Whittle is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.


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