About PSAid & Smart Compassion

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Raising Awareness About Unsolicited Donations

PSAid is a nationwide, annual contest that calls for Public Service Announcement (“PSA”) entries that demonstrate why monetary donations are the most effective way to support international disaster relief.

USAID CIDI works to inform the public that cash donations are less expensive for donors and more beneficial to recipients than in-kind donations. Unsolicited donations – though well-intentioned – are often culturally, nutritionally or environmentally inappropriate for survivors. They also clog supply chains, divert relief worker’s time, take space required to stage and distribute life-saving relief supplies, and incur disposal fees at the affected country’s expense. Monetary donations, by stark contrast, can be used immediately by relief organizations to purchase exactly what is needed, when it is needed. Monetary donations provide familiar, culturally appropriate supplies to people affected by disasters. And since they’re bought locally, they also help support the local economy.

Through PSAid, contestants can help educate prospective donors about why monetary donations have substantially greater positive impacts on international disaster aid than material donations.

When Americans give responsibly, they provide support that is most beneficial to disaster relief and recovery efforts overseas. It is simple: save lives, save money – send cash. If you’re interested in educating the public about this message by entering the contest, read our rules and guidelines.

To learn more about international disaster relief, visit

What’s in it for me?

PSAid contestants benefit greatly from this career-enhancing experience. Past winners have seen their PSAs broadcast during NFL games and popular shows including Once Upon a Time and Family Guy, and printed in top-tier publications.

With sponsorship by the USAID Center for International Disaster Information (USAID CIDI) and support by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), winning PSAid entries are great resume and portfolio builders. Creative minds, advertising gurus and journalistic experts have supported this contest for years as judges and advisors, lending their skills and experience to this important cause.

And the icing on the cake: by educating Americans and promoting monetary donations for disaster relief, contestants play a critical role in improving the lives of disaster victims and the relief workers who support them.

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PSAid submission deadline


PSAid submissions will be accepted through April 5, 2017, by electronic upload through our online process. Winners in each category will be announced on or about April 26, 2017. For further details please see the contest FAQs and Rules and Guidelines.

Sponsors & History

PSAid is sponsored and run by the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) and is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID CIDI works with USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the US Government’s “first responder” to emergencies overseas, to inform people about the most effective public support of international disaster response.

Now in its 12th year, the annual PSAid contest has attracted more than 600+ impressive entries from citizens across the nation. PSAid winners have been recognized by many important public and private stakeholders in donations issues. In addition, a number of university programs have incorporated the PSAid competition into their curriculum of study. The PSAid program historically opens in the fall with the submission deadline at or near the end of the spring semester.


impressive entries