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Goodwill looks to digital-first PSA campaign to aid job creation

Nonprofit organization Goodwill is expanding on the relationship between donation and jobs in local communities through a digital extension of a time-tested campaign.

The digital arm of the ?Donate Stuff. Create Jobs.? public service announcement campaign features a series of videos that metaphorically depicts the many jobs that can be found in donated objects. The campaign also involves partnerships with various YouTube creators, acting as brand ambassadors for millennial audiences, many of whom do not have established charitable practices yet.

"During the first phase of our 'Donate Stuff. Create Jobs.' campaign, digital accounted for a relatively small amount of the media placement mix," said Lauren Lawson-Zilai, senior director of public relations at Goodwill Industries International. "We used a third-party, Millward Brown, to help us look at our current mix, and see how we could better balance our campaign support by media type in order to further increase donations. 

It was discovered that the ROI on digital driving engagement with the campaign had an outsized, positive effect," she said. "In terms of digital, TV spot, radio and print, digital generated the most pounds of donations for every dollar of donated media. 

"For the re-launch of the campaign, we plan to focus our media placement on digital while retaining the other traditional out-of-home placements based on the unexpectedly high return of investment we found."

Donate Stuff. Create Jobs.
According to Goodwill, the non-profit helps someone find employment every 23 seconds of every business day. Specifically, it works to provide job placement and training opportunities, and other community-based services such as career counseling, financial education and résumé preparation to people with disabilities and disadvantages, and anyone facing challenges to finding employment?all little known elements of its business model.

Individuals were able to find employment placement in fields such as automotive services, construction, health care, information technology, manufacturing, hospitality and retail as well as in other high-demand industries. More than 35 million people used computers and mobile devices to access education, training, mentoring and online learning services offered by Goodwill organizations to strengthen their skills and gain industry-recognized credentials.


The iterations of Goodwill?s ?Donate Stuff. Create Jobs.? campaign that ran from September 2013 to April 2015 helped to garner more than 363 million pounds of donations to Goodwill organizations, half of which can be attributed to digital media. According to Goodwill, the return on investment of digital was 10 times more than other media types, in addition to driving donations. 

Created pro bono by ad agency VML, the campaign?s imagery shows miniature figurines in action, performing a variety of skilled jobs, alongside life-size donated objects that can lead to job training and placement opportunities. All PSAs conclude with the tagline, ?Donate Stuff. Create Jobs.,? and direct audiences to visit the mobile-optimized Goodwill.org to find their nearest Goodwill donation center.

"Mobile continues to be a critical channel of consumer engagement for Goodwill," Ms. Lawson-Zilai said. "Because we ask consumers to part with their 'stuff' rather than their money, as normally occurs with nonprofits, the call-to-action we want our consumers to follow is to visit their local Goodwill to donate their stuff. 

"Goodwill?s bread and butter is donated goods," she said. "We use donated goods to help fund our mission of providing employment placement, job training and support services such as financial education and mentoring. 

"As part of the call-to-action, we offer a mobile optimized experience for our Goodwill Locator on our website, as well as via our native smartphone app available on iOS and Android devices. By making it easy for our consumers to locate their nearest Goodwill on their devices, we lower the barrier for the participation."

Mobile giving
Goodwill and the Ad Council are also partnering with YouTube creators, including Jenn Im, Hayley Williams, Kailee Mann, Ambrosia Malbrough and Symphani Soto, who will serve as ambassadors for the campaign and extend campaign messaging.

Each creator will kick off the partnership with a new video on their channel discussing the impact of donating to Goodwill and encourage her followers to donate and become job creators.


The outsized response to Goodwill?s use of digital channels in terms of campaign donations is all but a guarantee that this new PSA campaign will be the first of many efforts in making greater use of digital, social and mobile platforms.

Charitable organizations have had relatively slow uptake of mobile technology, but they seem to have bridged the gap recently. The American Red Cross' newest mobile application, Hero Care, aims to connect military service members with their families and vice versa, showcasing mobile?s unique abilities as the most ubiquitous digital channel (see story). 

And Girl Scouts of America is assembling against sideline support with its latest initiative, which urges consumers to invest in young girls through a mobile donation platform (see story).

"We know that many people recognize the Goodwill brand name," Ms. Lawson-Zilai said. "But few are aware of our mission. 

"By actively reaching out to millennials to help them understand the 'good' that donating to and shopping at Goodwill can do, we hope to build brand loyalty and awareness with this generation," she said. "Millennials are the next generation of donors and shoppers. 

"We want to be sure we are engaging influencers who genuinely care about our mission and can share that message with their followers and audiences. Influencers bring the same type of credibility, if not more, as celebrities do to a brand."