Save the Bluefin Tuna!

Can nonprofit advertising save a species?

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society thinks so. They created a series of advertisements utilizing images of panda bears where one would typically find tuna fish. One endangered species is replaced by another species with a more prominent rescue mission.

This attempts to translate the care taken to preserve the panda bear species to the mission to save the bluefin tuna. After all, the panda bear is part of the WWF logo, great species choice by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

This advertisement includes the copy, “The bluefin tuna is now on the brink of extinction, thanks to industrial overfishing and corporate greed.”

In many cases, an advertisement manipulates the public into consuming in order to obtain a profit. In this ad, they do the opposite. They are advertising against industry and corporate greed, against consumption.

So that would have non-profit advertising as manipulating against manipulation?


Save the bluefin tuna!

Credits: Ogilvy & Mather (n.d.). When you see a tuna, think panda [Advertisement]. Retrieved from

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If I Don’t Know You, Why Would I Give You My Money?

Why would someone donate to you, if they don’t know you or what your organization is doing?

ME&V Fund-raising advisers have created a podcast to explain how to get your organization out there, effectively, in order to obtain charitable dollars for your cause.

The podcast explains that one must “take steps to build own identity through branding” because, “when people know you, they are more willing to donate to you.”

Differentiation is also important in the realm of non-profit advertising, as “there are so many organizations now fighting for charitable dollars.” Your cause must stand out in order to get the financial backing necessary in order to help in the way that you have worked so hard in created a nonprofit organization to do.

How will you differentiate your cause from all of the other great causes out there?

This podcast explains to “know your audience, they need to know exactly what your organizations mission is before they will invest.” Your audience would be considered any potential donors. You need to know them in order to find a way to allow them to help most effectively in accordance to what they are looking for and what your organization is needing.

Some tips they give out are to create a well-made and useful website, establishing credibility. Also, it’s important to integrate a logo, tag line, and reinforce these entities in every message communicated by your nonprofit.

“Branding goes beyond creating a look, it creates a loyalty.” The podcast explains that loyalty is key in donor relations. Branding is a great first step. In addition, it would be helpful to give donor a positive experience every time they interact with your organization, be straight forward with where dollars are going, keep in touch, thank them 7 times, nurture relationships, be creative, and act on their suggestions and comments. People give to people, so create relationships. Once they know you, they’ll get involved.

Listen to the podcast here:

Credits: ME&V Advertising (Producer). (2008, February 25). Branding Your Non-profit Organization. [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, and “ACT Responsible” Is Speaking Out a Thousand Words at a Time

ACT, a nonprofit association, advertises desperate global issues, “promoting responsible communication.”

Social issues that need to be brought into the limelight, and obtain global recognition are creatively displayed in ads in a manner to persuade the audience with a desire to assist.

ACT uses an appeal to the common American child complaint of having to clean his or her room. This boy doesn’t have too much of a room to clean. Message received- count your blessings and help those with out the privilege of complaining about chores.

ACT speaks powerfully against global warming. Message received- we are hanging the next generation through our irresponsibility with the environment. We must recognition the potential damage that we are doing through our mistreatment of the earth, and reverse the damage done.

ACT  speaks out to prevent child molestation through this disturbing image. Message received- child molestation and sexual abuse “hang on” to a child, and we must do everything in our power to protect children from this tragedy.

Credits: ACT Responsible. (n.d.). Creative Gallery of Responsible Communications [Advertisements]. Retrieved March 10, 2011, from

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Harvard Business Review: Money Can’t Buy You Happiness, but through Advertising It Can End Aids, Poverty, and Cancer

This blog entry, written by Dan Pallotta, addresses the lack of advertising for non-profits, in relation to other marketing expenditures, “Total annual U.S. marketing expenditures for all purposes are estimated to be about $730 billion. A rough estimate of annual nonprofit sector marketing spending puts it at $7.6 billion.”

He then defines advertising, “to create desires — to bring into being wants that previously did not exist.”

This explains a lot in today’s consumer based society. If what almost all of the $730 billion dollars spent on advertising per year is spent telling us that we desire to buy a new car, house, gadget, etc., no wonder our society is so consumer driven and so caught up on always needing the new thing.

This article begs the question of, what if our society was caught up on always needing to support the most prevalent cause? Pallotta explains his opinion, “If the New York Times every morning were full of ads for ending AIDS, eradicating poverty, and curing cancer, those causes might just stand a chance against Bloomingdale’s and Netflix. And make no mistake about it — that’s who the competition is.”

People do have an innate desire to give or to be charitable, for the most part. We do not have an innate desire to need the iPhone 4G, when the iPhone 3G was working just fine. But we all went out and got the new model, because advertising “created that desire.” Imagine if Pallotta’s ideal replacement of current ads with ads for live-saving and life-changing non-profits came to be. We would be scrambling to wait in line to donate to most impoverished people at that time.

What would that world look like?

Maybe the owning the Tory Burch emblem would become having the experience to take part, whether financially or personally in saving a life.

or      ?

Credits: Pallotta, D. (2009, May 26). Why Nonprofits Should Invest More in Advertising [Web log post]. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review:

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BMCFerrell Christian and Nonprofit Ad Agency: Evangelizing Advertising

BMCFerrell is a well-known Church and nonprofit advertising agency. Mr. Ben Ferrell was gracious enough to partake in an interview providing helpful information on the importance of nonprofit advertising and much more.

1) What is the importance for advertising and public relations in the context of a non-profit or charity organization?

If people do not know about your cause, how would anyone support the organization/cause.

Exposure to the public is as important for a non-profit as it is to a singer, actor, or commercial product manufacturer.

2) Many donors feel as if their contributions are wasted if spent on advertising versus direct aid or relief to their desired cause. How do you feel about this?

I think people know there is a cost of raising money. It just needs to be reasonable, and not over budgeted.

We believe advertising should be used conservatively, in the most cost effective and resourceful way possible. It is not a “write off” for non-profits, so we have to be wiser than the world.

3) Would you say advertising and public relations have played a huge role in successes of various church plants and non-profits?

One of our churches has grown from 3,000 to 6,000 and the Pastor thanked our company, as he credited our assistance in producing and placing his ministry program on television.

This leads to another believe of ours, that all advertising should minister to people, not just ask for money. It can/should be a source of inspiration and spiritual help as well as advertising for funds.

4) What led you into public relations/advertising for non-profits?

I was in the ministry.

5) “The best way to create a world that works for everyone is to start doing the same thing Apple did to create a world in which everyone wants an iPod: start building demand for the idea on a massive scale. If the New York Times every morning were full of ads for ending AIDS, eradicating poverty, and curing cancer, those causes might just stand a chance against Bloomingdale’s and Netflix. And make no mistake about it — that’s who the competition is.” – Harvard Business Review.

How do you feel about this excerpt? Do you see non-profit advertising as competing with consumerism on a larger scale?

First of all, not “everyone wants an IPod”. Not everyone will want to give to your cause, but certainly, as in every business, with good advertising, you can achieve a “market share.”

Consumerism is definitely competition because most consumed goods are purchased from “discretionary income”, the same source of one’s budget from which donations are made.

Thank you Mr. Ben Ferrell for all of your wonderful responses!

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If The Cause Is Noble, “I Wear Your Shirt” Has Got Your Back

The low budget of a nonprofit organization is limiting.

In this case, the nobility of many non-profits has evoked the I Wear Your Shirt foundation to donate 11 calendar days toward nominated non-profit organizations.

The media attention I Wear Your Shirt received through this gracious offer wasn’t too bad either.

Typically, you can “Buy a Day” and  “You get five people creating content on your day. That’s five unique/fun/creative YouTube videos, five live video shows on Ustream (3 hours of streaming), five to fifteen photos and all of this content is shared to our five Facebook and Twitter profiles.” (IWYS)

I Wear Your Shirt has increased sales up to 400% with a focus on social media exposure.

What a cool opportunity for non-profits to have their cause advertised within their budgets.


IWYS. (2011, January 29). 2011 Plans for Non-Profit Organizations on [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube database.


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