The USAID Center for International Disaster Information (“USAID CIDI” or “Sponsor”) 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 while showcasing your bold thinking, originality and creative ideas.

PSAid challenges entrants to create PSAs that illustrate how to donate responsibly when supporting disaster relief overseas build support for relief work carried out by well-established, US-based international disaster relief organizations. Entrants compete for national, “evergreen” distribution of their PSAs.

All entries must be received no later than 11:59PM EDT on April 5, 2017. The key contest dates are:

  • Entries due: April 5, 2017
  • Winners in each category announced: On or about April 26, 2017

We would be happy to place a reminder call to you in spring 2017. Contact us at with your name and contact information and a request for us to call you in spring 2017.

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 delivering 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 – from fashion to business and news to sports.

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, Glee, Two and a Half Men, David Letterman, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dr. Phil, The People’s Court and Jimmy Kimmel Live, among others. Winning print PSAs have been featured in Rolling Stone, Scientific American, TV y Novelas and Washingtonian Magazine, to name a few.



Yes. CIDI is a government entity and a part of the Office Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). 

 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.
  • Monetary donations are 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.
  • Material donations, including canned food, bottled water and used clothing, are expensive to transport, slow to arrive, rarely meet survivors' urgent needs, frequently clash with cultural norms and often interfere with professional relief work by obstructing space needed to distribute life-saving supplies and diverting relief workers' time.

Contestants are encouraged to review USAID CIDI's Guidelines for Appropriate International Disaster Response. USAID 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 effected 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 student PSA submissions to fulfill our mission.

Yes, entries become the property of USAID CIDI and will not be acknowledged or returned.

We would rather the PSA encourage the public to channel their desire to help via monetary donations, and deter people from the notion of giving inappropriate items that will not best help survivors. One of the greatest misconceptions regarding international disaster relief is that goods and products are urgently needed after a foreign disaster. Supplies, particularly food and clothing, can almost always be purchased locally – even in famine situations. Local procurement provides the triple advantage of stimulating local economies (providing employment, generating cash flow), ensuring that supplies arrive quickly and reducing transport and storage costs. Also remember that certain foods, particularly in famine situations, can make survivors ill. Contestants should keep this information in mind to help them illustrate why “Cash is Best” in their PSA entry. 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 how to best help when an international disaster occurs. Americans can truly make a difference in international disaster relief efforts and by making monetary donations and helping in a way that is most beneficial to disaster survivors themselves.

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 (online signature). 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. Entry
  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 EDT on April 5, 2017.

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 a Contestant (or a Contestant Group member) at
  2. Create your PSA.
  3. Upload the PSA to
    1. If a print/banner ad submission, be certain to upload both required formats and to 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 and on time. 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 seen on the website until all materials are in order.
  6. If everything is found to be in order, the PSA is accepted.
  7. 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 group entries. There is no limit to the amount of group members and all members must register at First, teams should designate a group leader who will register on the Web site as a Contestant. At registration, the leader should select “create a group.” A group ID will then be assigned. All additional group members will then register themselves and each will indicate that he or she is a member of the group by indicating the group ID number. In order for an entry to be complete, all members must register. Only registered group members will be credited as being affiliated with a PSA. 

Contestant registrations are required for entrants wishing to officially enter the PSAid competition. Public registrations are for other site visitors who wish to receive communications on the competition, view entries and add comments to entries. 

 Do NOT include:

  • Domestic disasters – the focus is specific to international disaster response
  • Any disparaging remarks, questionable content or specific product names
  • Requesting viewers to send donations to the USAID CIDI; the 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

All entries will be judged 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, which will be the top 5 in each of three categories: Best Print/Banner Ad PSA, Best Video PSA and Best Infographic/GIF PSA. The top 5 entries from each category will be ranked from 1 (most effective) to 5 (least effective). 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 for both categories. 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 and creative in concept and best 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 26, 2017. Winners will be notified by both email and phone.



Students can submit their own print/banner, video or infographic/GIF PSA that demonstrates why monetary donations are the most effective way to support international disaster relief. USAID CIDI educates the public that the most effective and least expensive way to help people affected by emergencies overseas is through monetary donations to established relief organizations. Unsolicited in-kind donations, though satisfying to give, often disrupt relief operations by taking up space and diverting relief worker’s time and attention. Not to mention, unsolicited household items are expensive to ship and are often times culturally inappropriate for disaster survivors. It is simple: save lives, save money – send cash. Your PSA entry should educate the general public about this message. 


  • 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 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 the 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 with a complementary banner that would appear on a national magazine or newspaper’s website. 


  • Domestic disasters – the focus is specific to international disaster response
  • Any disparaging remarks, questionable content, or specific product names
  • Requesting viewers to send donations to the USAID CIDI; the 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

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_2017
  • Video entries should be exactly 30-seconds in length
  • Video entries should not exceed 100 megabytes in size
  • Video entries should be developed for high image and sound quality
  • Acceptable upload formats are .MP4, .MPEG or .MPG only. Maximum upload size is 100MB per file
  • 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 Actors must electronically sign this section.

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.