Gaining publicity for a non-profit is not much different than for private sector companies and large associations, except for the fact that you usually need to work with fewer resources and equal if not greater creativity. Here’s a story of hard work and creativity.
I have been involved with FAAN (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network) for 16 years ever since our son, Sam, almost died from eating just one peanut. An estimated 12 million Americans have food allergies, and for some the condition is life threatening. I currently serve as Board Chair of FAAN.
Until we have a cure, the best we can do is create awareness, educate, advocate and fund research. Last week – about a year after an initial contact – we hit it big time for education, awareness and advocacy. The big day was December 30th. The New York Stock Exchange usually hosts public companies for the opening and closing bell ceremony. Several times a year, the NYSE Euronext invites non-profits to ring the bell. At precisely 4 p.m. 7 children with food allergies, their smiling parents, celebrity Chef Ming Tsai and FAAN CEO Julia Bradsher had the honor of ringing the closing bell. The ceremony was a win/win. FAAN received great exposure and publicity, and the NYSE adds to its reputation.
Earlier in the day, my son and I were interviewed by Harry Smith on the CBS Early Show. In two minutes, we must have plugged FAAN and its web site 3 times. The piece is still on the CBS Early Show web site and will be used in our marketing and outreach efforts.
The trifecta was the passage of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Management Act as part of the Food Safety Bill passed in Congress. This bill, several years in gestation, will provide guidelines to schools throughout the U.S. on how to appropriately plan and accommodate children with food allergies.
This was one of the most rewarding days of my career. Since we don’t have an effective treatment or cure for Food Allergies, awareness and good PR literally saves lives.