Last October, Midpen Media quietly launched a new project designed to find ways to support other nonprofits in the community. During Free Speech Week we produced a free PSA (Public Service Announcement) Day. So many nonprofits were interested that we had a waiting list, so we’ve made our PSA Days a quarterly event. Copies of the completed 30- to 60-second spots were given to the nonprofits to use at their discretion and we broadcasted them on our channels including the Bay Voice Channel 27 which reaches San Jose, Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Los Altos, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Stanford and some unincorporated areas of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
Funders responded favorably to our new project and we owe a special thanks to Health Trust and Valley Water who stepped up to sponsor a total of three free PSA days. In March, we hosted PSA Day number two. This time, there was a funder with specific interests, one of which happened to be Food Insecurity. With costs continuously rising and those facing hunger and homelessness at an all-time high, food insecurity seemed like a timely cause to support. We were happy to host representatives from La Comida, Onyxx Village Connection, and the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners. We anticipate working with Fresh Approach and the Food Empowerment Project sometime in the near future. PSA Days three and four are slated for June and September. They too will serve organizations working in specific areas including the environment and LGTBQ+ services.
The process hasn’t been without some kinks, but overall, the 10 nonprofits we have served so far seemed happy. It’s been a good way to both build and reestablish community ties and freshen up our content. There is also a potential revenue stream if past participants decide to come back to us to record longer content. The possibilities are there. Right now, we anticipate collaborating with another 10-15 area nonprofits before the year is through.
Our own Mary Byler created a PSA for the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners and had this to say about the experience, “Making the PSA was great. I am so glad I took the Studio Basics class before making the PSA as it helped me understand what was going on behind the camera and it made the process fun and smooth. The team was very professional and the PSA came out even better than I had expected or hoped. I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat!”
Now for our wish list…If scheduling and finances align, we would host these days more often. Ideally, there is a funder or donor out there with an interest in amplifying not only our mission – free speech access – but those of the many vital organizations serving our region. That would enable us to offer more free PSA Days. If something compelling is happening in the community before the topic we are focusing on and what a nonprofit does align, there would still be funding that would enable them to record something as soon as possible instead of having to wait. If that donor happens to be you, please feel free to contact email@example.com.