With New Initiative, Ad Council Moves Into Pro Bono Marketing Help

The group known for its familiar public service announcements is now lending its voice to a campaign for pro bono services for nonprofits, including traditional advertising and marketing services---and more.

The Ad Council is a longtime leader in wide-scale nonprofit advertising, using the ad industry’s reach to give public service campaigns a major voice—from Smokey Bear’s fire prevention messages to Keep America Beautiful’s iconic pollution commercial.

This week, the Ad Council announced a new program for the age of social media and online marketing. The CreateForChange program—developed with the Taproot Foundation, which specializes in pro bono offerings—will help advertising agencies and other creatives find ways to volunteer their services to nonprofit organizations.

Speaking to Ad Age, the council’s head of business operations and strategy, Kate Emanuel, noted that many nonprofits aren’t equipped to handle the basics of online marketing—which could make the initiative particularly beneficial.

“They don’t know about Google AdWords, they don’t know about A/B testing, they don’t know about branding,” she said.

The current list of volunteer opportunities, featured on the Taproot website, goes beyond traditional creative services. While design, marketing, and public relations are among the needs of the nonprofits listed, the organizations also need help with financial management, information technology, research, and grant writing. Many of the volunteer services can be provided remotely.

“The Ad Council has been powering the collaborative pro bono efforts of the communications and advertising industry for 75 years,” said Ad Council President and CEO Lisa Sherman in a news release. “But we’ve realized we have the opportunity to do more—to provide a platform for individuals in the industry to lend their talents and skills to the many nonprofits in need. CreateForChange will allow our industry to lend their ‘day job’ skills for good in way that will make a lasting impact on American life.”

(PeopleImages/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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