March 2016
Communications & public relations advice for nonprofits                                                                                                                                                                                                

  Brought to you by your friends at Anat Gerstein, Inc.  

Video Makes the Nonprofit Star

Lisa's Family Reclaims Hope through Project Renewal

Video is a powerful medium that can highlight your organization's work through images and sound. There are a multitude of ways that videos are used to communicate and inspire. And, this time of year, a number of clients we work with prepare videos tied to fundraising appeals and benefits, or to highlight their work while seeking sources of funding.

We spoke with some of our favorite videographers (we've worked with them on a number of projects!) and asked them to highlight the key ways that nonprofits can use videos to advance their missions and accomplish their goals.

Benjamin Norman, Photojournalist and Director 
(he produced the video above)
"Less is more: All too often non-profits attempt to cram too much information into their gala videos. Many organizations want to use these videos to present to an audience all of their different aspects. This is not the time for that. You have the opportunity to compel hundreds of guests, all in the same room, to simultaneously pull out their wallets and contribute to your cause. The more you can humanize your nonprofit the more they'll want to help."

Save Renewal Farm
Save Renewal Farm

Kate Lord, Humanitarian Photographer and Filmmaker 
(she produced the video above)
"The most impactful videos follow one character's story. In a short period of time, introducing too many storylines can get confusing. Choose a client who has had a positive outcome from your services (or whose life would be negatively affected if services ended) and create a story arc, from the initial conflict to the organization's intervention to the successful outcome."

Why YOU should play tennis!
Why YOU Should Play Tennis!

Ed Caraballo, Founder, Smooth Image Media (he produced the video above) 
"Make your videos informational, like mini-documentaries, so the viewer walks away feeling personally enriched and therefore invested in your cause."

Our experts imparted more nuggets of video production wisdom you should consider, so visit our NonprofitTalk Tumblr blog to continue.

Will state ethics reforms silence nonprofits?

You will be hard-pressed to find someone to argue against the need for ethics reform in Albany. However, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), the government entity spearheading ethics changes, recently took a curious step toward what they deem ethics reform by requiring public relations firms that talk to the press about government issues to register as lobbyists and report their conversations. 

We find this troubling, and so should the thousands of nonprofits across the state. Nonprofits add a valuable perspective on legislative matters, often giving voice to the voiceless. We believe they could very well be silenced by JCOPE's move. 

You can read Anat's full column published in New York Nonprofit Media here. 

Last week, we and four other
public relations and communications firms filed a federal lawsuit against JCOPE to block this measure from being implemented. You can read 

Our Clients: Awards and Accolades 

Our clients continue to make news - and get recognition. City & State presented awards to Change Capital Fund and New York City Mission Society Gala Chair Jean Shafiroff at its recent Corporate, Foundation, and Family Philanthropy Awards event. We congratulate both on a job well done!

New York City Mission Society Gala Chair, Philanthropist and Author Jean Shafiroff
Change Capital Fund's Cecilia Tanaka, JPMorgan Chase and Greg Schiefelbein, Citi

And, our clients continue to be in the news. WPIX Weatherman Mr. G reported on New York Junior Tennis & Learning's free community tennis program serving New York City kids; Time Warner Cable New York 1 News profiled Breakthrough New York's afterschool program helping get high-achieving, low-income kids to and through college; the Association of Medical Schools of New York published a guest column in Crain's New York Business on foreign for-profit medical schools displacing New York medical students from clinical clerkships; and New York Real Estate Journal profiled Flatiron Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Brown as "Executive of the Month."

This season, we also mark four years with the Girl Scouts of Greater New York

Pitching Notes: Lauren Schram
Deputy Editor, Commercial Observer

Lauren Elkies Schram has been a deputy editor at Commercial Observer since January 2014. A native of Manhattan (a badge she wears with honor), she edits and reports stories on all aspects of the commercial real estate market. Previously, she worked for Crain's New York Business, The Real Deal and the (now defunct) New York Sun.
For those not familiar with the Commercial Observer, what should we know about its format and content?
We have a weekly print publication, which comes out on Wednesdays, and a website, which we update daily. We cover all facets of the commercial real estate market from the transactional side (retail and office leases, building purchases, and financing deals) to trends.
For our nonprofit audience, what stories are relevant to the Commercial Observer?
Building acquisitions or leases. I recently wrote a story, for example, about nonprofit drug and alcohol rehabilitation organization Phoenix House selling its Upper West Side building for nearly $27 million, more than 40 years after buying the property for $600,000.
Toward the end of last year, we reported that Brightpoint Health, a 25-year-old nonprofit that provides primary care and mental health services, expanded its office space at 2510 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx to a total of 7,000 square feet. In less of a transaction-type story, we wrote in January about nine artists and a nonprofit arts organization becoming the lucky recipients of subsidy grants for below-market workspaces in Dumbo in Brooklyn.
Nonprofits often struggle to get their stories told. What advice can you offer those who want to pursue a piece in the Commercial Observer?
If there is some kind of commercial real estate angle, send over a pitch! Finding a real estate angle is easier than it looks. For instance, with rents escalating throughout New York City, how does an organization like a nonprofit stay in the game?
Tell us about your background. Why pursue journalism?
As a kid I felt called to be a writer, although I thought it would be of a more personal nature. When I graduated from college, I landed an internship at the National Examiner, the supermarket tabloid that is under the umbrella of American Media. The editors promoted me to a reporter position and I was hooked. I love being able to investigate, probe, and inquire about people, places, and things on whatever beat I am covering.
What's the favorite story you ever reported on?

I really enjoyed doing a series on sex offenders in New York City and the ineffectiveness of the sex offender registry for Our Town newspaper, a community paper on the Upper East Side.  And when I was at the Sun, I established a relationship with the mother of Peter Braunstein, the man who posed as a firefighter and sexually abused a Chelsea woman on Halloween 2005, and she provided some great insights into her son, which made for interesting stories.

In general, I love interviewing high-profile executives for Q&As when I have the opportunity to learn more about what makes them tick. For example, I interviewed Tara Stacom of Cushman & Wakefield for The Real Dealand then her sister Darcy Stacom of CBRE for Commercial Observer.

To learn more about Lauren and her life and career coaching business, what attracts her to a story, and how to best connect with the Commercial Observer for a story, visit our Tumblr blog.




Anat Gerstein, Inc. is a full-service communications firm that works exclusively with nonprofits, big and small. Our clients represent a range of organizations, including social service, health care, education, and youth service groups; cultural, arts, and theater institutions; business and community development nonprofits; advocacy organizations; and foundations.


We specialize in helping nonprofits build brand recognition and reputation, and deepen and expand stakeholder relationships and partnerships. All of our work is focused on assisting organizations to reach their goals, including increased fundraising, volunteerism, client recruitment, attendance and participation, and furthering an advocacy agenda.


We currently work with 16 nonprofit organizations on a retainer basis -- providing them with year-round services ranging from media relations to functioning as their outsourced communications department. We also work with nonprofits on a project basis.  


To find out more, visit:


If you want to learn more about how we can help your organization, contact Anat Gerstein at 718-793-2211, ext. 100 or


anat gerstein inc.

Engaging stakeholders.
Connecting people to causes.
Building brand recognition and reputation.

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