Read time: 4 minutes

For the past three years, the M+R Mediamarks Study has measured the media impact that 50 nonprofits made in a year.

For the past 6 months, our calendars were marked to release the 2018 study today to celebrate and share our latest findings. But there is no cause for celebration today.

For the past week, many organizations – including many of our clients – have been fighting the White House’s unthinkable family separation crimes against humanity with lawyers, ministers, protests, and crowds. Our strategic advocacy work with immigrant rights nonprofits has us starting and ending every day with emails and calls to reporters about the tragedy unfolding before our eyes. The advocates’ compassionate and courageous efforts are working. The media and world are watching.

This is why we are all here. To keep the world’s eyes on people and issues that matter. News stories and the social media posts that turn up their volume are critical to advocacy. While that rings loud and true today, we saw it throughout last year as well.

One of the most striking data points we found in this year’s Mediamarks was about the 2017 disaster coverage of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Maria, and the California wildfires.

Overall, we tallied nearly 13,000 news stories to make the study. When we zoomed in on the 500 stories that were shared the most on Facebook last year, 20 stories were disaster stories. Zero of those 20 stories were about the hurricane or wildfire damage alone. All 20 were about how people could help or how nonprofits were helping victims of the disaster. These stories matter.

We are in the middle of another national disaster. News outlets are already publishing the kind of “How You Can Help” articles that are usually reserved for acts of nature. We spent the morning pitching more outlets to publish these giving round-ups because we know from the 2017 data that these will be some of the most shared and impactful articles of 2018.

Lessons like this are why we make Mediamarks and want to share it with you.

You can read the full 2018 study here for more insights about how Cultural, Environmental, Health, International, and Social Service nonprofits are making media and making a difference.

For the first time, this year’s study measured and compared the media impact of both Medium ($5-50 million annual budget) and Large ($50-500 million annual budget) nonprofits. As you might expect, Large nonprofits made more media impact than Medium nonprofits. But Medium orgs still made up 40 percent of the year’s nonprofit news coverage. That’s amazing.

The data shows us an opportunity for nonprofits of all sizes to use the press to raise your voice and raise money to advance your cause. The headlines this week show us why we must.

We don’t often get to say thank you to all the people behind the scenes in nonprofit communications shops. The past year-and-a-half has been nonstop. Your efforts are making a difference. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and may the press be with you.

If you have questions or ideas for next year’s study, please reach out to us anytime at and @mrcampaigns.