The USAID Center for International Disaster Information (“USAID CID) seeks Public Service Announcement (“PSA”) entries that illustrate how to donate responsibly when supporting disaster relief overseas. Specifically, we are looking for your print, video and infographic entries to inform and engage the public on effective donations which showcase your bold thinking, originality and creative ideas.

PSAid challenges college students to create advertisements that illustrate how to donate responsibly when supporting disaster relief overseas, and build support for relief work carried out by well-established US-based international disaster relief organizations. Students compete to have their work displayed in national publication and on TV.

All entries must be received no later than 11:59PM PDT on April 3, 2018. The key contest dates are:

  • Entries due: April 3, 2018
  • Winners in each category announced: On or about April 27, 2018.
  • We would be happy to place a reminder call to you .. Contact us at [email protected] with your name and contact information and a request for us to call you in spring 2018.

    The competition is open to all US citizens and legal residents, over 18 years of age as of entry date and living in the United States (defined as the 50 states and Washington, DC).

    All winning PSAs will receive national distribution and will be showcased through USAID CIDI’s websites and online channels, reaching millions of viewers. In addition, PSAid winners will gain valuable career experience in a creative, competitive, public platform and deliver critical messaging nationwide.

    The official Contest Rules and Guidelines are available at All entrants must read and understand these guidelines for their entry to be valid. Entrants must submit original work; entries that have previously won awards are not eligible.

    The PSAid competition will include the categories of Print/Banner Ad, Video and Infographic/GIF. Within these categories, contestants are encouraged to submit entries that could be used in online and print publications across a wide variety of industries.

    In addition to professional growth and experience, entrants contribute to effective international disaster relief through their PSAs.

    No. Although we have found that students are more engaged and inclined to participate in this opportunity when it is presented on a course syllabus, students may feel free to submit contest entries independently and outside of a formal course. 

    Once the winning submissions are selected, USAID CIDI will work with local and national print and online publications to place the winning submissions into circulation as a PSA for USAID CIDI and international disaster relief efforts.

    No, no prior approval is necessary to add PSAID to your syllabus.

    Yes. All students, regardless of education level, are encouraged to participate and submit contest entries.

    Winning broadcast PSAs have aired during episodes of Family Guy, The Bachelor, Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory, , Two and a Half Men, Modern Family, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, ,  and Jimmy Kimmel Live, among others. Winning print PSAs have been featured in Rolling StoneWashington Times, Washingtonian Magazine, Virginia Living, Closer, Scientific America, and Upscale Magazine.


    Monetary donations are less expensive for donors and more beneficial to recipients than material donations because:

    • Financial contributions are easily convertible to meet the international disaster survivors’ specific and immediate needs.
    • Cash is more efficient, allowing purchases to be made quickly and locally at a bulk discount, and at lower transportation and distribution costs.
    • Monetary donations allow for purchases that are fresh and familiar to survivors, and that are nutritionally, culturally and environmentally appropriate. Monetary donations also support fragile local economies and enable local markets to recover more rapidly.

    Cash donations save money by helping aid groups avoid delays and steep transportation and administrative costs associated with material donations. CIDI offers helpful information for contestants on their website. Contestants should review information both at and

    The mission of CIDI is an important one – to inform U.S. citizens about the best way to directly help those affected by disasters around the world. CIDI itself is not allocated taxpayer funds for direct communication purposes. For that reason, CIDI relies on the generous donation of advertising space on behalf of publications as well as creative college students’ submissions to fulfill our mission.

    Yes, entries become the property of USAID CIDI and USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

    Your PSA should encourage the public to channel their desire to help via monetary donations, and deter people from giving inappropriate items that will not help survivors. One of the biggest misconceptions about international disaster relief is that goods and products are urgently needed after a disaster. Supplies, particularly food and clothing, can almost always be purchased locally. Local procurement provides the triple advantage of stimulating local economies, ensuring that supplies arrive quickly and reducing transportation and storage costs. Also remember that certain foods, particularly in famine situations, can make survivors ill. Contestants should keep this information in mind when they create their PSAs. And remember, it isn’t about telling people what not to do – but rather to take their good intentions and interest and inform them of the best ways to help when disaster strikes.

    No. All submissions made to the PSAid contest can potentially be used for CIDI communications and marketing efforts.


    All contestants must register online and sign an electronic certification form along with any personal release forms Entries must be uploaded to A .pdf copy of the forms needed to complete your entry are located on the Resources page of the website. 

    For an entry to be complete, we must receive your:

    1. PSA
    2. Registration and certification information
    3. Any applicable personal release forms

    All items are completed online at A .pdf copy of these forms is available on the Resources page of website. All items are due no later than 11:59 PDT on April 3, 2018.

    All submissions must be original works. Entries may not have been entered into any other contest or won any other award. 


    The steps for entering are:

    1. Register as an Individual Contestant or for groups, designate a group leader and the group leader will register the group at
    2. Create your PSA.
    3. Upload the PSA to
      1. If a print/banner ad submission, follow the formatting guidelines for your PSA specified here.
      2. If a video submission, it must be in one of the specified formats listed here.
      3. If an infographic/GIF submission, be certain to upload both required formats and to follow the formatting guidelines for your PSA specified here.
    4. Submit the required registration information online. This includes basic information and the release authorizations from actors or/and owners of proprietary material within the PSA.
    5. Contest administrators review and approve the registration information and PSA for completeness. If there are problems or issues with any part of the submission, the contestant(s) will be notified in order for necessary adjustments. The PSA entry will not be displayed on the website until all materials are in order.
    6. When the submission period ends, the judges review all the PSAs and select three winners in each category.

    You may submit one entry per submission category. Please note that the three categories will be judged independently of each other.

    No, all entries must be uploaded electronically to

    For contestants who desire to work in teams, entries may be submitted as a group. There is no limit to the number of group members, but the group leader must register all members at First, teams should designate a group leader who will register on the Web site as a Contestant. At registration, the leader should select “group entry.” A group name will be selected through the submission form.

     Do NOT include:

    • Content regarding domestic disasters – the focus is specific to international disaster response
    • Any disparaging remarks, questionable content or specific product names
    • Any request for viewers to send donations to the USAID CIDI. USAID CIDI does not accept donations
    • A word of caution about too much focus on material donations – keep your message clear and don’t rely on past entries to guide your submission
    • Entrants should not have any trademark products displayed in their PSAs.

    All entries will be viewed by a panel of disaster relief and media professionals who will select three winners in each category. The judges’ decisions are final.

    The judges will review all entries for overall impact, originality, memorable content, delivery/artistic skill, and clear and concise messages. The judges are looking for the entries that best convey both the importance and the impact of appropriate international disaster relief.

    USAID CIDI staff will vote in a preliminary round for the finalists each of three categories: Best Print/Banner Ad PSA, Best Video PSA and Best Infographic/GIF PSA. After USAID CIDI staff selects finalists in each category, a panel of external judges will vote in a final round for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. All judges will review entries for appropriateness and clarity of message, factual accuracy, originality, delivery/artistic skill and overall impact. Most importantly, the judges are looking for PSAID video, print and infographic entries that are original, creative in concept, and convey the importance and the impact of appropriate international disaster donations.

    Following the judges’ decisions, USAID CIDI will announce the winners in each category on or about April 27, 2018 Winners will be notified by both email.


    Students can submit their own print/bannervideo or infographic/GIF PSA that demonstrates why monetary donations are the most effective way to support international disaster relief.

    • PSAs should inform the public of how to best help international disaster survivors.
    • Ideally, PSAs should build on the interest of people ready to donate to an international disaster relief effort and demonstrate how they can channel their interest into optimal (monetary) donations.
    • Monetary donations are the fastest and best way to provide effective relief to international disaster survivors.
    • Material donations like canned food, bottled water and used clothing, take time and money to transport, rarely meet survivors’ urgent needs, and often interfere with onsite professional relief efforts.
    • The public’s help is crucial, and appropriate forms of giving (monetary) can make a lasting and positive impact in an international disaster situation.
    • When choosing a charity to give to, always select well-established, recognized international disaster relief agencies with a track record of providing relief, with program professionals on-site and the capacity to provide assistance to those who need it most.

    The print/banner submission requirements are:

    • For the print ad, the file name should be: Print_LastName_FirstName_2017
    • Print/banner PSAs should be formatted as an 8”x10” image in EPS format with a minimum of 300 DPI resolution – you also must include a JPG copy of your PSA to be viewed by judges and the public on the website.
    • The JPG should be 72 DPI and with maximum dimensions of 1350px x 900px. We recommend you first design the PSA in EPS format and then convert it to a JPG (following the above guidelines) to ensure minimal loss of quality when resizing. It is important to note that the competition judges and the public will only view the web JPG version of your entry – this is the version the judges will vote on, which will ultimately determine a winner. Therefore, when converting the EPS to a JPG, please be sure that the JPG image is still readable and clear.
    • Print ads should be in CMYK color space
    • All images and fonts should be embedded
    • For a banner ad, the file name should be: Banner_LastName_FirstName_2017
    • The website banner ad should be a JPG sized at 300 x 250px

    All print submissions must include USAID CIDI and USAID logos. Print advertisement packages should be designed to be placed successfully as a full-page PSA in a national magazine or newspaper.

    If you are not the original author of the imagery or artwork you are including in your print entry, you should obtain permission from the source you are securing any copyrighted imagery from or purchase the materials from a royalty-free website. 


     Video submission requirements are:

    • The file name should be: Video_LastName_FirstName_2018
    • Video entries should be exactly 30-seconds in length
    • Video entries should not exceed 1 gigabyte (1,000 MB) in size
    • Video entries should be developed for high image and sound quality
    • The Video entry that is submitted initially should be a low resolution version of the original video with these specifications:  .MP4, .MPEG or .MPG file format, H.264, 640 x 480px screen resolution, at 15 frames per second, not to exceed 40MB. The file name should be: Video_LastName_FirstName_LowRes_2018. If you are a finalist, you will be contacted to submit your high resolution version at that time.
    • Acceptable upload formats are .MP4, .MPEG or .MPG only. Maximum upload size is 40MB per file for low resolution submission.
    • All video submissions must include a standard end tag. The end tags are available on the Contest Resources section of the PSAid website, and must be included exactly as provided.
    • Please make sure the sound for a video PSA is of a quality suitable for presentation on television and other public media outlets. The need for clear enunciation cannot be overstated. Encourage all speakers to project through the end of sentences as to not diminish volume at the ends of sentences. Increase the volume for quieter speakers, and vice versa in order to insure the consistency of volume throughout the video.

    You must obtain consent from any actors who appear in your PSA. Entrants will be required to declare that they have consent from any people appearing in their PSA. Note that consent requirements may vary from state to state. A section on the PSAid website, titled “Personal Release Form”, is available at

    If you are not the original author of the imagery, artwork or music you are including in your entry, you should obtain permission from the source or purchase the materials from a royalty-free website. 

    In the perspective of this contest, an infographic is a visually engaging depiction of subject matter and data that appeals to your target audience. The infographic should be a static document that educates and visualizes the information. The GIF is a collection of animated images created by joining a set of frames into a single file for sequential playback. In summary, the infographic should be a static graphic depiction of the information and the GIF should be an animated depiction of the information.

    Entries should be submitted in both print and GIF formats. Infographics will be used as digital posts and should be developed to work on multiple social media channels. The requirements for infographics & GIFs are:

    • The file name should be: Infographic_LastName_FirstName_2017
    • Infographics dimensions must be 8’’x10”
    • The infographic should be submitted as a 72 DPI JPG
    • The original design file (EPS, PSD, etc.) should be included
    • All images and fonts should be embedded
    • The information should be clear and accurate
    • You must use the data provided to ensure the message is clear and on track

    All infographic submissions must include USAID CIDI and USAID logos. It is important to note that the competition judges will only view the Web JPG/GIF version of both your print and banner formatted entries – this is the version they will vote on, which will ultimately determine a winner. Please upload your Infographic PSA JPG in the dimensions within the range provided that make the most sense for your entry, while also making sure this version is readable and clear when viewing online.


    While the use of images, music and other works in the public domain may be incorporated into entries, materials that infringe on the rights of any third party may not be used. Only use images from google that are listed as “Labeled for reuse with modification.” You do this by entering your search term and clicking “Search tools” in the Google menu. Then click “Usage rights.” Finally, click “Labeled for reuse with modification.”

    Your file submission should be no larger than 30mb.