Last Tuesday’s New York Times Op-Ed page featured an articulate, engaging paid "advertorial" placed by Rotary International. This piece, entitled "Ending Polio–Rotary’s Promise to the World’s Children," pointed to the Times‘ recent coverage of five children in Minnesota infected by the polio virus. Rotary International picks up on this puzzling finding to discuss the fact that children are still at risk from polio, and to introduce what’s been its top priority since 1985–the eradication of polio worldwide.
Turns out that Rotary with its PolioPlus campaign is the largest private-sector supporter of polio eradication, having raised more than $600 million. Moreover, over the holidays hundreds of Rotary members will travel, at their own expense, to polio-endemic countries to aid in immunization campaigns. The advertorial details Rotary’s work to fight polio worldwide, and pleads for readers to "join together to fulfill the promise of a polio-free world."
Good work on the part of Rotary International to link its work to world news. Relevance is everything. And who wouldn’t agree with the resolution to continue the fight. However, one key element was left out…the call to action.
What better opportunity to motivate current members to volunteer abroad or locally for immunization campaigns, to give, to renew their memberships (given this clear proof of the value of the organization? And what better opportunity to generate new memberships, and tell non-members how they can join the fight? I can find this info online at the PolioPlus website, but not in the ad.
Rotary, the investment was made to buy this ad space, and to craft a very powerful essay. Next time, remember to parlay the investment into action to generate results.
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