The Creative Nonprofit Podcast Episode 015

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Everything has become media, and obviously, nonprofits want to be in it! My guest this week, Dr. Shani Horowitz-Rozen researches just this, and joins us to share her insights into the relationship between media and nonprofits – particularly looking at how nonprofits can better utilize mass media to make strategic change happen.

Dr. Shani Horowitz-Rozen is a scholar and professional communication expert. She helps change-makers to communicate their story of social impact.

Her work combines communication research and marketing techniques to help businesses, nonprofits, and activists design their communication strategies and increase fundraising opportunities. She has more than a decade of experience working as a professional marketing consultant for nonprofits, in the US and Israel.

Dr. Horowitz-Rozen holds a Ph.D. in communication and political studies (2015, Bar-Ilan University, Israel), and was a fellow at CUNY’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society International Fellows program (2017). Her research focuses on mass media coverage of philanthropy, donors, and nonprofits and the media’s role as a philanthropic actor.

Her recent academic article “Framing philanthropy in time of war” was published at the International Journal of Communication (2018).

Dr. Horowitz-Rozen writes about media and philanthropy in her blog on Medium

You can read more about her work on her website:  and on twitter @ImpactNarrative

In this interview we dive into everything from why you might not want to be in media coverage, how the media industry is changing based on $1.8 billion dollars of funding, and how we can have better chances of being in the right media for the right reasons.

Everything we talked about in this episode:

  • What brought Dr. Horowitz-Rozen to this career [1:51]
  • Article about the $1.8 billion dollars in funding given to media organizations [4:47]
  • The money spent on media is not just about fighting fake news, it’s about dealing with the crisis around the mass media financial model [6:44]
  • There was a bump in media funding after the Trump election, as expected [9:15]
  • Trends in nonprofit journalism [10:28]
  • Dr. Horowitz-Rozen’s major study, Mass Media Campaigns for Social Justice: The Case of Holiday Philanthropy [16:46]
  • Headlines that are recurring and returning can make people bored, they can max out their usefulness after a couple of years [18:20]
  • Not every country has the same “food-based” giving trend [20:20]
  • How non-food-based nonprofits can leverage this holiday trend [22:28]
  • There is so much push for nonprofits to be in mass media, but Dr. Shano Horowitz-Rozen is constantly asking, why? [25:10]
  • What difference does the medium make in covering nonprofit news? [29:02]
  • Mass media as an actor of social change [33:00]
  • Does mass media purposefully having an influence on philanthropic behaviour go against traditional journalism? [35:11]
  • Things to understand before you take to your media strategy: [38:37]
  • Understand what constitutes “mass media”
  • Understand it’s way more than “mass media say my name”
  • Understand that journalists are real people
  • Understand the media perspective on what you’re pitching
  • Why the act of writing a press release is useful to you [46:16]
  • Advice from a journalist to nonprofits [47:59]
  • How to Reach Dr. Shani Horowitz-Rozen, Website, Twitter, Medium [52:20]
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