Brendan Gannon

Nonprofit PR Team of the Year

While many teams are learning to work together while being apart from one another during the coronavirus pandemic, the communicators at the Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas already knew how to achieve solid results while being geographically dispersed.

The team, which serves 105 counties and eight designated market areas (DMAs), consists of a CMO, PR coordinator, and five regional directors spread across the state. The regional directors serve as local representatives to local customers and businesses, furthering the goal of informing audiences of the services offered by the local branch of the International Association of Better Business Bureaus.

They produce media segments, answer media inquiries, provide media outlets with content, and evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts. Each team member has achieved noteworthy results, like increasing engagement between the BBB and other community organizations, serving the Spanish-speaking market, and hosting webinars and Facebook Live sessions. Their combined efforts have received 7,704 media mentions across eight local DMAs. We offer our congratulations to the entire team.

Brendan Gannon

Nonprofit PR Agency Team of the Year

With a focus on public relations for nonprofit/social impact organizations, Momentum Communications Group has doubled its client roster over the last 14 months. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency has supported its clients on the front lines of the pandemic. To position clients as leaders, engage new audiences, build program participation, and increase funding opportunities, the agency sets specific goals for each client, then employs strategies and tactics designed to achieve those goals.

During the pandemic, the team’s output included opinion pieces published in significant media outlets. The team placed a total of 356 stories for seven clients, earning nearly 2 billion impressions. Their work has also delivered real-world outcomes, like producing grants, increasing volunteerism, and drawing larger event attendance. Pandemic-related communications achieved equally impressive results. We congratulate Momentum team members Jim Miller, Kylee Siaw, Zachary Halper, Luke Rowland, Victory Dellacava, Carly Montecalvo, and Karl Ortegon.

Brendan Gannon

Nonprofit PR Campaign of the Year

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto faced a daunting goal: raise $400 million more to build a new hospital. To grab attention while simultaneously making people care about a problem that had provoked mostly apathy, the team created an experience, transforming an unused conference room into a precise replica of the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).

The three-hour experience featured a soundscape and live reenactments featuring SickKids doctors, nurses, and voice recordings from families. The PICU was listed on Airbnb (at $16,744, the cost to operate a four-patient room in the PICU for one night). Local and national media were among the notable Torontonians invited to the space. Local personalities linked to the hospital served as the basis for online videos to further raise awareness. The campaign produced significant top-tier media coverage, a 27% increase in donations, and the Airbnb listing produced over 26,000 visits. 

Brendan Gannon

Nonprofit Communications Professional of the Year

Sally Crocker was among the many faculty and staff at the who began working from home on March 13, 2020, as the coronavirus began its devastating path across the U.S. Sally set out to reinforce key messages (including the fact that science is important).

To achieve those goals, she researched related topics and developed a list of articles and website content ideas. She conducted countless interviews and assembled visuals to accompany articles and help promote them on social channels. Among her many other activities was obtaining results she could identify follow-up opportunities.

Between March 18 and April 24, she produced and published 10 articles on the pandemic, two dean’s e-newsletters, and shared links with others to include in their own communications. Her work resulted in ongoing press pitches and news coverage for the university. LinkedIn asked her to serve as a commenter on the virus from a business perspective. We congratulate Sally on her remarkable achievements.

Brendan Gannon


The only thing worse than visiting a website without a site search function is using search on a site and not finding what you are looking for. At Children’s Health, the eighth-largest pediatric healthcare provider in the U.S., more than 3 million people visit the website each year. They did not have a world-class experience. Search results were poor and often produced zero results. The search function was even worse in its mobile incarnation, a problem since 65% of all searches were happening over a mobile phone.

The digital team outlined 11 objectives for a site overhaul that was centered on a great search experience. The team started out with user testing, which helped pinpoint user frustrations and desires. That led the team to adopt solutions that would resonate with those users. The team compared its site to a those of several top-tier hospitals on 11 major search functions and found it was the only hospital to achieve positive results in every category.

Brendan Gannon


The United Nations has established 17 sustainable development goals designed to transform the world, including no poverty, zero hunger, quality education, gender equality, and affordable and clean energy.

Recognizing that most people are unfamiliar with these goals, the Philippines largest real estate developer, Megaworld, decided its own employee base would be a logical target for building awareness. With specific goals—like raising the awareness of at least 75% of employee viewers and engaging employees in supporting specific sustainable development goals—the company opted for a video. The production features frontline and managerial employees, along with executives, expressing their support for the goals. The four-minute video was launched in the company’s email newsletter, which also directed employees to a feedback form, which proved employees felt pride in the company’s message and passion around goals, with every employee who completed the form indicating they intend to support more goals than they already did.

Brendan Gannon

Crisis Communications Campaign

Back in February, few knew how serious the pandemic would become, but that did not stop Overlake Medical Center & Clinics from instantly activating its crisis communications team, which continues to this day getting timely information to its frontline healthcare workers and support staff, as well as the public.

From the outset, the team established values to guide their efforts: integrity, compassion, agility and respect. The incident command center functioned from the outset as a quasi-newsroom, gathering information from a variety of sources.

Daily team briefings informed the daily communications the team developed for internal and external audiences. The team ensured they were accessible around the clock, distributed press releases, conducted interviews, and distributed signage to its campuses and clinics. They also developed video B-roll and interviews for media outlets to use and an email newsletter for staff. All of the analytics indicate the strategy worked, including the 62,280 views of its COVID-19 landing page.

Brendan Gannon

Annual Report

The stroke of genius in achieving the goals for Health Center Partners’ (HCP) annual report was distributing it in late November 2019 to healthcare providers, policymakers, influencers, and member health centers as part of the organization’s digital holiday card. The report was designed to increase awareness of the health center among key stakeholders, ensuring local citizens were aware of the services and resources HCP provides, and recognize the performance of member organizations and their employees.

The book itself is a page-turner—literally, since the designers took advantage of the online flip-book format. Readers are compelled to flip to the next page in order to see the gorgeous regional photography that serves as a backdrop for a range of content reflecting the impact of programs, services, and interventions HCP and its family of companies delivers. (HCP also printed 1,500 copies.) In addition to attaching the report to the holiday card, it was also posted on HCP’s social media channels as well as its website.

Brendan Gannon


All the great strategies a content marketer might devise can fall flat if nobody sees that content. Google is making it harder for people to find relevant material by replacing search results with ads and “top result” answer boxes. Children’s Health saw this shift at Google—one that most marketers have been decrying—as an opportunity to advance an already-successful content marketing program.

With goals of increasing web traffic through SEO in order to help establish Children’s Health as a reliable information source, the content team developed a sound strategy of planning content for its blog around seasonal, trending topics, making content easily consumed via mobile and employing search optimization. It focused on writing data-driven content structured with question-based headlines and subheads, tactics that satisfy Google’s algorithm. The team produced 119 pieces of content in 2019, garnering nearly half of all health and wellness traffic for the organization. The team also gained 315 Google “top result” answer box placements, a nearly 390% increase year-over-year.

Brendan Gannon

Digital Publication

The corporate social responsibility arm of the Philippines’ leading real estate developer Megaworld developed a coffee table book to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Featuring 20 individuals and organizations representing the foundation’s programs, the book sought to spotlight its top three programs, inspire at least half the readers from Megaworld’s workforce, and to encourage at least half of those readers to volunteer in foundation activities.

One key challenge was accessibility. Placing the books in company reception areas and lounges was a good start but making it available online as a “viewbook”—accessed through the employee email newsletter—ensured everybody had a chance to see it. That led 76% of employees to affirm that they had been inspired by the publication and 98% to share their interest in volunteering (notably in outreach initiatives, tree-planting efforts, and feeding activities.

Brendan Gannon

Print Publication

The University of Utah’s annual alumni magazine had been achieving solid success for some time despite funding that hadn’t grown in a decade, an outdated design, and too few staff members.

Distributed to 185,000 people worldwide, the magazine inspired readers to donate and refer friends and family to the university. Still, the staff knew it wasn’t achieving what it could. The arrival of a new editor sparked five years of improvements, including a new budget and a complete redesign.

The effort began with research that validated the print approach. The team developed a wish list of the type of content to include, focusing on short, punchy articles to accommodate the trend of more people reading magazines but spending less time with them. One big change: The team tripled its frequency from once to three times yearly. Two editions have been distributed so far, producing nearly universal positive acclaim. Story pitches have increased, as well, suggesting more people want their stories to appear in the magazine.

Brendan Gannon

Print Publication

Focusing on current events—and linking each article to its values—helped The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s alumni magazine staff produce an exceptional fall 2019 edition of its INSIGHT magazine. Each article gave the team the opportunity to offer the school’s unique perspective. The cover story, which occupies the magazine’s centerspread, focused on the need for integrated healthcare, using the opioid crisis to drive home its point.

Other articles included the toll natural disasters take on mental health and the school’s response to Hurricane Katrina, among other topics. Distributed to 12,311 members of the school community, the magazine also got a boost when features from the edition were shared in emails to prospective students, producing a 37.1% open rate (more than 10 points higher than the industry average). The “From the Magazine” section of the school’s blog also drive traffic to the online version of the magazine, which also performed well in social promotion, reaching almost 330,000 people on Facebook alone.

Brendan Gannon

Visual Storytelling

The General Building Contractors Association (GBCA) in Philadelphia focused on video as a core element of its 2019 We Built This Skyline campaign. A series of nine 1-2-minute video vignettes outlined the association’s resources and services, covering GBCA’s history, its educational and professional development opportunities, safety, and more. The team incorporated a message of diversity into the videos, with a diverse lineup of interviewees.

These videos were shared in GBCA’s email newsletter as well as each of its social media platforms. On Instagram, the team shared an ongoing photo essay featuring construction activity to help viewers understand the skilled work that goes into building the city’s structures. The association also partnered with a local TV news station to produced three sponsored content segments, which aired during Saturday morning newscasts. Each segment featured GBCA members and highlighted the strength of union construction in the Philadelphia region. The campaign achieved about 30,000 impressions with its nine videos while the news segments racked up nearly 119,000 impressions and 7,900 social engagements; GBCA’s Instagram following grew 257%.

Brendan Gannon

Social Media Campaign

In Florida, nearly 17% of adults have a diagnosable mental illness and nearly 12% of youth reported a major depressive episode in the past year (nearly 62% of whom received no treatment). For Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS), that is unacceptable given they offer telehealth online counseling. To raise awareness of its services, CHS set hard targets, like increasing calls to its telehealth line by 25%.

Research revealed three distinct target audiences: adolescents, parents of adolescents, and new mothers. Research also identified the preferred online platforms for each audience, which led to three distinct 45-day campaigns, each aimed at one of the three audiences. Social media was the primary platform for each campaign. The campaigns employed videos (which were promoted across multiple platforms), outreach via Spotify, a web landing page, and supplemental print. CHS exceeded all of its objectives, including a 3,600% increase to its toll-free telehealth number and a 30% increase in referrals.

Brendan Gannon

Media Relations Campaign

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (Canadian Centre) detects 10,824 such new images every 12 hours; they have detected more than 10 million in the two and a half years of their effort. To raise awareness among an apathetic public, Canadian Centre engaged the agency No Fixed Address, which found its hook with the term “lolli,” code among child sex offenders for their victims. The team created an exhibit that was vibrant and bright on the outside, “Lolli: The Exhibit Nobody Wants to Talk About.”

A media day kicked off the exhibit, which featured 1,824 lollipops (representing the number of detections in a 12-hour period) along with audio recordings from survivors and quotes from offenders (found on the dark web). Statistics lined the walls. The effort attracted national news outlets, then opened to the public, resulting in over 4.5 million social and 125 million earned media impressions. The installation also caught the attention of industry leaders and government officials.