The Ogilvy Way of Public Service
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

The Ogilvy Way of Public Service

Each year, we invest an increasing amount of time participating in public service activities ranging from pro bono work to sponsorship of local charities and participation in community revitalization.

Paul Holmes

All Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide employees are evaluated on how well they meet our vision statement – Vision & Values.  Through our vision statement, we ask our employees to be ethical and responsible.  We consider the participation in company-wide or office public service activities to be a part of this Vision & Values statement.  The Ogilvy PR management and its employees take public service seriously.  Each year, we invest an increasing amount of time participating in public service activities ranging from pro bono work to sponsorship of local charities and participation in community revitalization and service events. In 2000, our employees spent thousands of hours conducting pro bono work for more than 25 different organizations with missions ranging from AIDS, hunger relief and services for the disabled to veteran’s affairs, the terminally ill, disadvantaged children and women’s health.  We have received praise for our participation with these organizations and won awards from the charities for our work.
 
HOW PUBLIC SERVICE ACTIVITIES ARE CONDUCTED AT OGILVY PUBLIC RELATIONS WORLDWIDE
 
Public service at Ogilvy PR generally falls into three categories 1) groups that help the communities in which we have offices; 2) organizations that our employees can learn from and use that knowledge with their clients; and 3) causes in which our employees have a strong interest.  As global company, we receive hundreds requests for pro bono/public service work each year.  One of the challenges is selecting which organizations we will partner with.  We conduct research to determine if the organization meets the guidelines set by each office and to determine if there is employee interest.  For example, New York Cares was selected by Ogilvy PR/New York because it helped the community in which we had an office and exposed our staff to multiple learning opportunities from the challenges faced by our inner-city youth to the disabled.  The Ogilvy PR Health & Medical Group in New York and Washington, DC represent several AIDS drugs and programs and so public service activities in those offices have included a number of AIDS-related causes – closely aligning a business goal with a charitable one.
 
To organize staff participation in these causes, many of our offices have formed committees to coordinate and promote employee participation in community activities.  For example, in 1997, our New York Office created the Action Committee specifically to lead the charge in increasing the public service activities of our employees.  Of the 241 employees who belong to our New York offices (including those of Alexander Ogilvy and B|W|R) more than 75 people belong to this committee and/or donate their time on a regular basis – a figure which exceeds the number of practitioners at many mid-size public relations agencies.  In our annual employee review process, our staff is evaluated on their level of participation in the committees and their activities.
 
THE TYPES OF PUBLIC SERVICE ACTIVITIES IN WHICH WE PARTICIPATE
 
Some of the principal public service activities that Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide employees participate in annually include:
 
Pro Bono Work
Names Project of the National Capitol Area: The Names Project sponsors the AIDS Memorial Quilt, for which Ogilvy PR has done extensive pro bono work since 1988, when we managed the second national display of the Quilt.
 
Veterans Day Parade: Ogilvy PR's involvement with the Veterans Day Parade is unique, in that our philanthropic contributions are an extension of paid work that we do with an existing client, which is a major sponsor of the parade.  We have always conducted media outreach promoting the Veterans Day parade, recruited UST volunteers through employee communications and coordinated the on-site activities of the volunteers. Were it not for the charitable spirit of these individuals at Ogilvy PR this worthy cause would not get the support they so desperately need.  This year, New York City hosted the official "Nations Day Parade" - much larger than in past years and while much more of our support was needed by the Veterans charity, our client's budget had actually decreased.  Because of this, the New York Office Action Committee decided to recruit volunteers to serve as parade marshals who received training and worked the day of the parade to help line-up and organize the more than 200 groups marching that day.  We estimate this in-kind contribution to be valued at more than $30,000.
 
DC Rape Crisis Center: The DC Rape Crisis Center is the oldest rape crisis center in the nation, with its executive director, Denise Snyder, often serving as a national spokesperson on sexual assault issues.  Ogilvy PR’s Health and Medical practice has been providing pro bono assistance to the DC Rape Crisis Center sine 1994, providing primarily media relations support and PR counsel.
 
Share Our Strength: Ogilvy PR has provided media relations support to Share Our Strength (SOS) – the largest private, non-profit source of funds for hunger relief in the US – for the past 10 years to promote an annual fundraising event for hunger relief called Taste of the Nation.  Each year we have developed and implemented a media relations program to increase awareness about the hunger problem in Washington, DC and to generate attendance for the Taste of the Nation event.
 
National Center for Therapeutic Riding: Located in Maryland, the Center provides physical and psychological benefits of horseback riding to children who have serious learning disabilities or who are physically, mentally or emotionally disabled.  Ogilvy PR has supported the Center for the past year with its positioning, communications materials and fundraising events.
 
Food and Friends: Originally founded to feed terminally ill AIDS patients, this organization has since expanded its mission to provide food for the needy in general.  Ogilvy PR has worked with Food and Friends for the past seven years by providing media relations and publicity support for the organization’s annual fundraiser.
 
Friends of the Chicago River: Our Chicago office works on a pro bono basis with Friends of the Chicago River (Friends), a non-profit organization working with citizen volunteers, school groups, local governments and businesses to coordinate and implement projects to improve the quality of the Chicago River.  Friends’ mission is to make the river more of an asset for the people who live within its watershed.  We helped the organization develop a process to regularly communicate with editors and reporters who cover environmental topics; and identify and communicate with government, community and media allies who would inform the public about the Chicago River’s transformation.  Ogilvy PR also sought to promote positive stories on the Chicago River and not support or encourage negative images.  In 1999, Ogilvy PR received the Friends of the Chicago River Corporate Leader Award for outstanding Public Relations efforts
 
MidAmerica Leadership Foundation: MidAmerica Leadership Foundation is a not-for-profit incubator of inner city human welfare ministries designed to improve the life in Chicago's impoverished neighborhoods.  The organization is preparing for the retirement of its visionary founder and a transition under new leadership. Ogilvy PR conducted a series of interviews with senior leaders and board members to identify key communications issues, and expects to assist the organization in communicating the new vision for the organization, both internally and externally, once a new president is identified.
 
Group Community Projects
New York Cares: Founded in 1987, New York Cares is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes more than 2,000 volunteers each month to serve on flexibly-scheduled, team-based projects that they coordinate in partnership with schools, social service agencies, and environmental groups.  New York Cares volunteers tutor children, feed the hungry, assist people living with HIV/AIDS, revitalize gardens, take homeless children on cultural and recreational outings, visit the elderly, and much more.  Our involvement in New York Cares Day has grown in proportion with to Ogilvy PR's expansion as a firm; 25 employees, from AAEs to General Manager of the New York office Paul Hicks donated 8 hours each for the fall cleanup on Saturday October 14 painting murals, planting trees and flowers and clean-up the grounds of a public school for developmentally-challenged children in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.  Additionally, many Ogilvy PR employees continue their involvement with the organization by volunteering on a weekly or monthly basis year round.
 
So Others Might Eat: SOME is a soup kitchen in Washington, DC that feeds the homeless two meals a day.  Volunteers work with SOME to help prepare and serve meals on the weekends.  Various Ogilvy staff members have contributed their time and energy to supporting this volunteer effort.
 
Ronald McDonald House: This fall Ogilvy PR teamed up with the Ronald McDonald House Charities to host a very special Halloween Party.  Without question, many of the children housed at the Ronald McDonald House are very sick, and their families are under a great deal of stress as a result.  Parties and fun activities that give relief, if only temporary are so important.  Ogilvy PR employees in festive costumes joined the children on Monday, October 23 to paint pumpkins, read stories, and pass out candy, among other activities.
 
Snow Angel Holiday Drive: Beginning in 1999, Ogilvy PR has been partnering with the Children's Aid Society (CAS) of New York to provide "holiday cheer" to some of the neediest children and families in the city.  This year, as part of the "Snow Angel Holiday Drive," Ogilvy PR worked with the CAS to sponsor 20 preschoolers who attend the Dunlevy Milbank day care center.  The company was divided into teams, and each team was responsible for one child, compiling new toys, games, books, warm winter clothing, etc., that are appropriate for the child's age and gender.  Historically, Ogilvy PR's participation in this holiday effort has been overwhelming, as the company's employees understand that many of these children are living under the poverty level, and our contributions may be the only gifts they receive for the holidays
 
Individual Employee Public Service Activities
PBS Special “God’s Gonna Trouble the Waters”: Ogilvy PR Senior Broadcast Producer Teresa Bruce, wrote and produced this PBS special on the native African-American communities of the coastal South.  The documentary celebrates the development and contributions of the Gullah culture and people of the South Carolina and Georgia barrier islands, and aired nationally on PBS in during Black History Month in 1998.  In addition to lending Teresa’s time, Ogilvy created all of the promotional materials for the documentary.
 
EVALUATION/MEASUREMENT OF SUCCESS
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The most significant measure of success of Ogilvy PR’s public service activities is the number of people participating in them.  Each year more and more employees donate their free time to work on these pro bono projects.  The success of our public service work also translates into a host of business goals, especially in the acquisition of new clients.  Additionally, doing good also helps Ogilvy PR retain its top employees, many of whom have indicated that they are inspired by working for a company that makes public service an integral part of its mission.
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