United States

New York

Ad Council During my 10-year tenure at the Ad Council, I helped build, innovate and grow the capacity of the organization in many ways:
  • To streamline and improve the evaluation of campaign impact for sponsoring organizations, I led a team of researchers and analysts in developing new metrics based on a more holistic assessment of media delivery, consumer engagement and target audience behavior change. 
  • I designed and developed standardized research processes for tracking campaign effectiveness. This formed the basis for the first-ever PSA normative database; new campaigns can now benchmark their performance on a number of standard measures.
  • I published case histories of Safe Gun Storage, Adoption, Drunk Driving Prevention and Autism Awareness campaigns, as well as other special reports and nonprofit manuals that you can
    download here
  • Recognizing that the Ad Council’s institutional knowledge was not always shared across the organization, I instituted, through technological, staff and procedural solutions, a cross-discipline knowledge management function that improved internal communications, documented best practices and increased understanding of “who does what and how.”
  • Local TV and radio stations provide “bread and butter“ support for Ad Council campaigns, but could these markets be tapped for further growth? I led an internal strategic planning initiative to help make the organization more relevant in local communities resulting in a 10% gain in support of Ad Council campaigns in the top 20 US markets.
  • Why do some campaigns get much more media exposure than others? I oversaw the development of a best practices multivariate analysis of campaigns, which identified the top 10 variables for achieving campaign success.
  • One major challenge when working in the donated media environment is getting ads placed in the proper media environment. I negotiated pro-bono support from Mediamark Research (MRI) for its syndicated audience data, which helped to more narrowly define campaign audiences and allowed our media outreach team to better identify media partnerships and fine tune distribution practices.
  • In order to get non-campaign projects funded, I secured over two million dollars in private foundation grants by networking, developing proposals, meeting with senior foundation officials and making compelling presentations. 
  • I appeared on local and national public affairs television programs, including C-Span, talking about engaging youth volunteers and the Ad Council’s response to 9/11.
  • I was a frequent guest lecturer at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University graduate program in Strategic Communications, Yale School of Management, and American University School of Communications.
Measuring the Impact of Artistic Activism When I first saw Steve Duncombe and Steve Lambert from the Center for Artistic Activism present their work, I was excited to learn how the arts and creativity could positively enhance the work of social activists. But does it work, and how can we measure the impact of such interventions? These are the questions we are currently exploring with seed funding from the Compton and Open Society Foundations. Following the development of a literature review and in-depth interviews with activist practitioners we are next planning toolkits and reports for the field and funders that will bring more knowledge and learning to the practice.
National Hemophilia Foundation Contracted to provide evaluation support on a few Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded programs, my team is now leading a needs assessment of older men living with hemophilia. Our literature review, patient and provider interviews, and survey of the 50+ hemophilia population is providing a rich portrait of the medical, psycho-social and financial issues faced by this community. The learnings will be used to provide a roadmap to the Foundation for developing new programs and policies.
Bard MBA in Sustainability Recruited to teach the marketing class for Bard College’s inaugural MBA in Sustainability program this past fall, I developed an original curriculum that combined traditional product marketing with social marketing theory so that my executive-level students were prepared to promote both brands and targeted behavior change. I brought in a fantastic group of issue experts to enhance my weekly online lectures and the monthly in-person residencies held in New York City. As part of their term project, I coached students in the development of marketing and communications plans for their employers or client organizations I helped them select.
Foundation for
Jewish Culture
Having established its New Jewish Culture Network as an opportunity to bring contemporary Jewish music programming to venues across the country, I was selected by the Foundation for Jewish Culture to evaluate the program and its first commissioned tour. Utilizing a mixed methodology of stakeholder interviews, audience surveys and observational metrics, I’ve provided the Foundation with key learnings and best practices for future activities.
Freedom to Marry A leader in the fight for marriage equality, I helped Freedom to Marry capitalize on the growing public acceptance of gay marriage. To guide them in their marketing and advertising efforts in states with pending legislation or elections, I analyzed existing data on attitudes and beliefs towards gay-marriage, led a planning session with senior advertising strategists and drafted a new advertising brief.

The childhood obesity epidemic has caused significant harm nationwide, and rates of overweight and obese Hispanic children are greater than those of the general population. The MiniMiti Adventures, an NIH-funded and -tested bilingual animated children’s program about healthy eating from LanguageMate was developed to help reverse that trend. I’ve worked with the company to locate funding and distribution partners for the program’s compelling educational content.

Let’s Get Ready

A successful, fast-expanding nonprofit that utilizes volunteer college students to provide SAT and college prep coaching to underserved high school students, Let’s Get Ready had never conducted a formal evaluation of its efforts. I created a comprehensive framework for them that includes the development of a theory of change model, a series of stakeholder interviews, and a quantitative analysis of the data they’ve collected from their various sites to understand what drives impact. The learnings and insights from this work have helped the organization build a system for continual learning and improvement.

New Israel Fund When a major funder approached the progressive New Israel Fund (NIF) with a million dollar matching grant and a desire to promote their advocacy message about recent threats to women’s rights in Israel, we needed to think big. Working with my colleagues at Citizen Group, I developed an advertising strategy and focus group tested provocative ads that were part of an international print campaign, which included a full-page insertion in the New York Times. The campaign helped NIF build greater national attention to the issue, engaged new supporters, and reached their fundraising goal in less than four months.
Park Slope Food Coop How do you deal with issues of bias and discrimination at a neighborhood institution that prides itself on progressive values? When I joined the Park Slope Food Coop’s Diversity and Equality Committee I helped them understand the breadth and scope of bias issues by developing, implementing and analyzing a membership survey at New York City’s largest food coop. Based on the findings, I led a strategic planning initiative to identify tactics and activities to raise awareness and change institutional behaviors regarding perceptions of bias and discrimination.


Non-profit arts institution Seeking to attract a younger, repeat-visit audience, a Boston institution turned to primary market research from S. Radoff Associates for assistance. I analyzed visitor exit survey data to help identify its core strengths among the under-30 cohort as well as new strategies and tactics to engage this younger audience.

Washington, DC

National Human Services Assembly

How do you communicate impact when you’re an umbrella organization of national human services nonprofit agencies? That’s the question I was asked to pose to the board of the National Assembly. Utilizing a combination of visioning exercises, brainstorming and benchmarking, I took the learnings from this engagement and developed stories/brand propositions to help engage key audiences identified as a priority for the Assembly’s growth.


The Heinz Endowments Named by The Economist as the most livable city in the US, Pittsburgh residents have turned a blind eye to some continuing distressing news: the region has one of the worst records for air quality in the country. Thankfully, The Heinz Endowments and its progressive Environmental Program have been at the forefront of an aggressive agenda of scientific research and advocacy to help turn things around. I’ve led them on an intensive market research program to understand resident and leadership knowledge, attitudes and beliefs around the issue. I then helped them turn research insights into a major media and advocacy campaign.

San Francisco

Air Traffic Control Recognizing the great power musicians have to promote social justice and advocacy, Air Traffic Control’s signature program is a retreat and training that provides artists with tools, resources and peer support they can apply to the issues they care about. I worked with the organization to upgrade their program evaluation tools, analyzed results from their most recent New Orleans retreat, and provided recommendations for future program enhancements.
Citizen Group When I met Robin Raj, the founder of Citizen Group in San Francisco, I knew immediately we were simpatico. We both share a love for good advertising and also see a huge opportunity to engage more people with a variety of social causes. Citizen works with corporations and nonprofits alike to create brand-building initiatives that have social and financial impact. The hands-on team combines the best of big agency, cross-discipline leadership and the resourcefulness of small shops to help make client budgets work harder. Since we started working together we have been developing new client campaigns on a host of educational and environmental issues.
Jewish Community Federation For over 100 years, the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund (JCF) has supported a variety of Jewish livelihood programs in its Northern California service area. While monitoring and reporting back from grantees have provided some indicators of investment impact, the bigger question of what JCF’s funding priority should be is in many ways unanswered. This new project seeks to answer the question, “What makes a healthy Jewish community?” Developing a working model, indices and metrics for measurement will be part of this exploratory program.
TechSoup Global

Much has been written about how corporate computing is transitioning to “the cloud,” but how are NGO’s responding? I worked with nonprofit tech experts TechSoup Global and research partner S. Radoff Associates to create a global research study to understand current barriers and opportunities to greater cloud usage. You can read more about the study and the press it generated here.


Metro Voices, Metro Choices What issues are important to average Atlantans and do the region’s leaders agree? That was the guiding question for this Ad Council community research and communications initiative to grow citizen engagement and inspire social change in the metro-Atlanta region. Leading a team of researchers and communications experts I conceptualized, helped fundraise for and implemented this effort that provided strategic program guidance to the local United Way and other key community organizations. A high-response online survey, town hall meetings and convening key leadership groups in the community were all part of the program.


Making Opportunity Affordable The Arizona Board of Regents wanted to know what differences in beliefs and barriers to action existed between senior administrators and faculty at community colleges regarding student completion rates and operating efficiencies. Working with leading educational research firm Public Agenda, I analyzed qualitative data from interviews and focus groups and developed a report highlighting implications for policy and programmatic improvements.


Student Voices President Obama set an ambitious goal of having the highest college graduation rates by 2020 and the Lumina Foundation has been making major investments to support higher graduation rates at community colleges. But what are the barriers facing students? Working with leading educational research firm Public Agenda, I developed research objectives, discussion guides and co-moderated focus groups with current students and recent dropouts. I drafted a report for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board highlighting specific barriers to college completion, as well as implications and recommendations for policies to encourage higher levels of college completion.

Princeton, NJ

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Thanks to generous underwriting from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ad Council was able to implement a major research-based multi-sector effort to reduce child obesity, the Coalition for Healthy Children. I wrote and edited the summary report on the initiative, including its comprehensive evaluation, which you can download here. A synopsis of the report was recently published as a chapter in the new textbook, Advances in Communication Research to Reduce Childhood Obesity.

© George Perlov 2019. All rights reserved.