Non-profit Sector Shows Improvement in Brand Equity Despite Several High-Profile Missteps According to 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study

Best Friends Animal Society is Non-Profit Brand of the Year; Hospitals dominate Top 10

New York, N.Y., March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Animals have a special place in our hearts and families. As such, the national animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society is recognized by consumers as the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Non-Profit Brand of the Year. Additionally, several other animal-focused non-profits that are new to EquiTrend include National Wildlife Federation, the Humane Society of the United States, Audubon, ASPCA and PETA. However, besides Best Friends Animal Society, only the Humane Society of the United States and ASPCA scored above the non-profit average.

“Animals, both as pets and as wildlife, are an important focus for many American families. In recognition of this, for 2011, EquiTrend is taking a stronger look at the non-profits that support these causes,” said Jeni Lee Chapman, Executive Vice President of Brand and Communication Consulting at Harris Interactive. “It is great to see the work of many of these non-profits get recognized.”

High Profile Missteps

After suffering unfavorable press in 2010, last yearís highest ranked brand, Susan G. Komen for the Cure ranks second with a decline in intention to donate. Susan G. Komenís decline, coupled with an improvement in brand equity for last yearís second ranked brand, St. Jude Childrenís Research Hospital, closes the gap between these two non-profit leaders.

Another non-profit that suffered several missteps in the past year, National Public Radio (NPR), also experiences a significant decline in scores and falls below the non-profit average.

“Consumers have great respect for organizations working for a greater good, but that doesn’t mean they ignore negative publicity about these organizations,” said Ms. Chapman. “Consumers are aware that they have alternatives as to where they donate resources. In a highly competitive space, brand equity can be quickly lost.”

Four of the top 10 non-profits are hospitals

For 2011, several hospitals place in the top 10 non-profits. Tied for third is Shriners Hospital for Children and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, followed by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

The other non-profit brands that round out the top ten include the National Kidney Foundation, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Diabetes Association and Goodwill.

Many non-profits make significant brand equity gains in 2011

Despite some negative publicity for a few higher profile non-profit organizations, the non-profit sector overall has continued to show improvement in brand equity among consumers since 2007. Several non-profit organizations have demonstrated strong brand equity gains this year including: American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Feeding America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Habitat for Humanity, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, March of Dimes and Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Additionally, several non-profits that have had one or more years of score improvements rise above the non-profit industry average including: Autism Speaks, Children’s Miracle Network, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Easter Seals, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, Reading Is Fundamental and World Vision.

Methodology

The EquiTrend® study evaluates measures including: Equity, Consumer Connection, Commitment, Brand Behavior, Brand Advocacy, and Trust. The keystone to the program is Equity, which provides an understanding of a brand’s overall strength and is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality, and Purchase Consideration.

This year’s Harris Poll EquiTrend® study was conducted online among 25,099 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over between January 11 and 27, 2011. A total of 1,273 brands were rated in 53 separate categories. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 60 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over on the basis of age sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, and income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The EquiTrend® study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Interactive.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

For a complete listing of all the brands covered in the study, contact Dagney Cassella at 212-539-9600 or dcassella@harrisinteractive.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us — and our clients — stay ahead of whatís next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.