Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay.


In the wake of the war in Ukraine,  Media Matters Worldwide and Direct Relief  worked closely to build a paid media plan that drove brand awareness and donations that would support Direct Relief’s success in Owned and Earned channels.


CHALLENGE: As catastrophes break out across the globe, Direct Relief receives an influx of traffic and donations coming through their owned and earned media, however, that support is usually short lived as people’s attention moves on quickly. When the war broke out in Ukraine, Direct Relief asked MMWW to put together a paid strategy to help boost and sustain a high level of visibility of their on-the-ground efforts. MMWW happily took on this challenge as a pro-bono media campaign.


SOLUTIONS:  By understanding the media journey of our core audiences, we were able to Identify high awareness channels that Direct Relief had never used before in both digital and Out-Of-Home. We then identified a mix of lower funnel direct response channels to leverage the substantial increase in awareness. Finally, we built a communications plan to reach out to all our publishers and partners to secure free media inventory to help us support Direct Relief’s mission.


RESULTS: Media Matters Worldwide was not only happy to help Direct Relief free of charge, we were also able to secure 100% donated media inventory from 12 partners including: GumGum LG, Nativo, Warner Media, Viant,, NBC Universal, Situation Publishing, Spotify, and Martin Agency. In total, the campaign drove more than 14MM impressions, 42,000 new site visits and $196,000 in new donations. MMWW was able to extend Direct Relief’s high visibility from the war in Ukraine for an additional 6 weeks and drove a donation rate 2x that of owned and earned channels proving the importance of having a full-funnel and well-rounded media plan as part of your marketing strategy.



“Working with the Media Matters Worldwide team was incredible especially when you consider they provided their help on a donation basis. They brought an expertise to us that we don’t have internally and haven’t had historically. The level of engagement we received and the expert knowledge we have access to now is astounding. You wouldn’t know it was a pro-bono arrangement because It’s a real investment. MMWW took the time to understand Direct Relief’s strengths and our limits in terms of resources and were able to make the most of it and execute a strategy.

And the impact is real in terms of the dollars that were raised and the people who were engaged and now know about Direct Relief who otherwise wouldn’t have, had it not been for this partnership. This is one of the largest, if not the largest, responses we have ever deployed and I’m receiving texts from friends all around the country who have seen Direct Relief pop up in places we’ve never been before from elevators to dentist offices to newsletter feeds – all places that MMWW was able to get donated. It’s hugely generous and the dollars raised will make a real difference.”  – –  TONY MORAIN, VP OF COMMUNICATIONS, DIRECT RELIEF