Paul Massey's picture

Paul Massey

Executive Vice President

Successful strategy is about getting from point A to point B. Few things make Paul happier than shaping and implementing successful strategies – whether it’s developing a creative CSR, sustainability or social issue campaign to help shift awareness and engage advocates for clients, or mapping out a trip to explore a different part of the world.  Paul partners with clients to spotlight the innovations, ideas and solutions that are helping to achieve a more sustainable and equitable future. He excels at asking the right questions, listening carefully, and framing strategies that deliver results. As the global head of Social Impact, Paul has provided counsel to clients on how to engage audiences on CSR, sustainability and social issues spanning global development, education and social justice. He leads Weber Shandwick’s work with Nike, Inc. to elevate the company’s innovation storytelling, oversees the firm’s work with Bank of America focused on global CSR and previously led the agency’s work with Pepsi on the Pepsi Refresh Project. Paul is a proud native of New Jersey. He received his B.A. from Rutgers University and Ed.M. from Harvard University.


Follow Paul on Twitter: @p_massey


Member for
6 years 20 weeks
Feb 21

Nonprofits & Branding: The Way Forward

Paul Massey

Nathalie Kylander and Christopher Stone, writing in the spring 2012 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, offer a fresh look at the strategic role of branding in the nonprofit sector.  They introduce a compelling conceptual framework called Nonprofit Brand IDEA and illustrate how nonprofit leaders can build and manage a strong brand.  They make a persuasive case for why branding should be a core strategic focus at nonprofit organizations, and not solely a communications consideration.  And, they address common points of skepticism around nonprofit branding as well as highlight nonprofit leaders’ insights on its unique value.   

It’ll be no surprise here that our team sees strong branding as a vital part of successful nonprofit organizations.  Strong brands position organizations to communicate who they are, what they do, and why it matters – in authentic, emotionally relevant and meaningful terms – and yield increased capacity to achieve organizational outcomes, such as mobilizing advocates, enlisting new allies or generating broader support from the corporate sector.  Strong brands can guide and inform organizational decision-making.

A strong brand can also create a virtuous circle, or what Kylander and Stone call the “Role of Brand Cycle,” where a strong brand leads to enhanced capacity, which leads to stronger outcomes, which in turn strengthens the brand.  

The Nonprofit Brand IDEA framework is grounded in four principles: integrity, democracy, ethics and affinity. 

Brand integrity refers to how an organization’s internal identity aligns with outside perceptions. 

Brand democracy refers to the idea that internal and external stakeholders are empowered to express the brand.

Brand ethics means that the brand truly represents the organization’s core values. 

Brand affinity means that the brand cooperates and coexists with partners and allies.  

Above all, the model prompts thoughtful questions and synthesizes great advice and counsel in one comprehensive article – a perfect starting point for nonprofits grappling with the role of branding in their organization’s work.   


Jan 27

Interested in joining our team?

Paul Massey

Our Social Impact team is growing – and we’d love to hear from you if you share a passion for working with corporations, foundations and nonprofits on social issues.

You’d be based at Powell Tate, one of Washington’s leading strategic communications and public affairs firms, and a division of Weber Shandwick.

Successful candidates will have experience developing and implementing programs to communicate how companies are creating business and social value, and/or working with nonprofits on brand-building, stakeholder outreach and public education campaigns.

Core required skills include strategic counsel of client teams, project management, writing communications plans, conducting media relations, building partnerships and leading social media engagement. Experience working on environmental sustainability issues is a plus. 

A sense of humor is a must, as is an ability to navigate a fast-paced environment. 

Qualified candidates will have a minimum of 5-10 years of CSR and nonprofit communications experience, preferably in an agency environment. 

To apply, please send cover letter, resume and compensation history to, referencing CSR/Nonprofit in the subject line. 

Powell Tate is an equal opportunity employer. EEO/AA.M/F/D/V.




Nov 2

The Role of Passion in Sustainability

Paul Massey

Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for the BSR conference on Redefining Leadership. Our Social Impact team will be sharing some insights from the conference here on this blog.

You couldn’t ask for a speaker with a timelier message than Al Gore to open this event. His message was clear: there has never been a better time, or a more pressing need, to accelerate the integration of sustainability into business operations.  Yes, sustainability is now firmly on the global agenda – but there are still plenty of obstacles to navigate.

 So, what to do?  Gore’s reference to Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 message to the U.S. Congress that “We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country,” seems a perfect starting point.  We have to get real about how current systems and business practices need to evolve to move beyond short-term-ism to a focus on longer-term value creation.  As Gore suggested, we need to decide if we give a damn about future generations.   With the arrival of the 7 billionth person (or, thereabout) this week – and forecasts suggesting that the world population will grow to be 8 billion by 2025, this takes on an even greater urgency. 

Finally, we need to bring passion to the work of sustainability – to inspire and inform people about, in Gore’s words, “the indisputable evidence on the need to act.”


Nov 1

Welcome to #BSR11

Paul Massey

Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for the BSR conference on Redefining Leadership. Our Social Impact team will be sharing some insights from the conference here on this blog.

Our team is in San Francisco this week for the 2011 BSR Conference– a gathering of 1,000 corporate social responsibility and sustainability leaders and advocates from 37 countries that starts today. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’re excited about our work with BSR to Storify the event.  This will offer conference attendees, and interested parties around the globe, access to real-time content from the conference.  Whether it’s takeaways from plenary sessions with Al Gore, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn, and Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito, or insights from discussion of topics such as the impact of technology on sustainability, effective engagement with consumers on sustainability, and more, the #BSR11 Storify channel will have a curated stream of conference highlights. 

Take a look below at some of the conference content and say hello to Eric, Jackie, Catie, Adrienne, Colin, or me if you’re in San Francisco, too:


Oct 25

Our Plans to Storify the BSR Conference

Paul Massey

Next week, our team heads to San Francisco for the 2011 BSR Conference.  (Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for BSR.) We’re looking forward to seeing familiar faces and to contributing to the conversation on how companies are leading the way to a more sustainable future.   We’re also excited about our work with BSR to Storify the event, which will offer conference attendees, and interested parties around the globe, access to real-time content from the conference.  Whether it’s takeaways from plenary sessions with Al Gore, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn, and Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito, or insights from discussion of topics such as the impact of technology on sustainability, effective engagement with consumers on sustainability, and more, the #BSR11 Storify channel will have a curated stream of conference highlights. 

Sep 19

What are the Questions on your Mind?

Paul Massey

At this point in the year, the conversation among our Social Impact colleagues is especially animated around two questions: (1) how the summer flew by so quickly, and (2) which topics we want to examine in our annual research project with KRC Research to illuminate key trends and notable developments in corporate social responsibility (CSR), or nonprofit and foundation communications.

In the past, we’ve interviewed top executives at Fortune 2000 companies to explore the impact of crowdsourcing in CSR and the drivers of corporate investment in CSR.  We’ve also conducted research with nonprofit and foundation executives to explore how their organizations are using social media and the value they derive from these efforts.

In building our upcoming research plans, we want to consider how changes in the communications ecosystem are creating new opportunities (and challenges) for corporate and social sector organizations to drive awareness and engagement around their work.  We want to shed light on the innovations, platforms, and strategies that are making the most significant impact in the work of companies and nonprofits to create social value.  

This year, as we develop our plans, we’d love to hear from you.  What questions would you like to see explored?  How are companies integrating CSR strategies more directly with business strategies? How are corporate leaders communicating their CSR investment in today’s economic conditions?  How are nonprofits bringing new creativity to driving advocacy in a saturated environment?  What are the most meaningful forms of measurement for social engagement?  Let us know what’s on your mind.


Feb 9

The Role of Crowdsourcing in Social Media

Paul Massey

Late last year, our team partnered with KRC Research to interview more than 200 top executives at Fortune 2000 companies who have responsibility for philanthropic, social responsibility or community outreach.  For more than a year, we’ve been fortunate to see the powerful impact of crowdsourcing in CSR through our work with Pepsi on the Pepsi Refresh Project.  

With this survey, we wanted to understand new developments in the CSR sector, in particular, the role of crowdsourcing and social media in raising awareness and driving engagement.  Here’s what we learned.

Forty-four percent of executives we surveyed say they have used crowdsourcing – asking customers to provide ideas and help in decision-making. Among those executives, an overwhelming 95 percent reported that it was valuable to their organization’s CSR programming.

When asked why crowdsourcing is so valuable for CSR, executives said it:

  • Surfaces new perspectives and diverse opinions (36%)
  • Builds engagement and relationships with key audiences (25%)
  • Invites clients and customers from nontraditional sources to contribute ideas and opinions (22%)
  • Brings new energy into the process of generating ideas and content (16%)

The fact sheet and PowerPoint below summarize a number of additional findings, including perspective on crowdsourcing from executives who haven’t used it, and several findings on the role of social media (including specific channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) in raising awareness and driving engagement for CSR.

We’re going to be talking on our blog about the implications of these findings and any questions they may prompt.  We’d welcome your questions or comments.   


Crowdsourcing & Social Impact in CSR

WS Social Impact Five Fast Facts CrowdSourcing

Dec 2

Why Corporations Invest in Corporate Social Responsibility

Paul Massey

For our team, as we considered topics to explore in our second annual Social Impact survey, one question rose quickly to the top: Why are corporations motivated to invest in CSR? And, what are the key success factors and lessons learned from recent CSR efforts? 

Today, we’re releasing the findings of our survey of more than 200 corporate executives in large-sized companies with responsibility for philanthropic, social responsibility or community relations, conducted in partnership with KRC Research in October 2010.

Here’s the major takeaway: Having an impact on critical issues is the number one reason why corporations are investing in philanthropic or socially responsible activities.

  • Other Motivating Factors for CSR: A second reason given for funding CSR is the opportunity to see an organization’s values in action. Interestingly, having an impact on critical issues (30%) outranked several more business-oriented motivations, such as building customer loyalty (15%), differentiating the company from competitors (6%) and engaging and retaining employees. The last finding suggests the need for companies to better understand the link between CSR and employee satisfaction, a topic we’ll explore later this month.
  • Nonprofits Critical to CSR:  The news for nonprofits is very positive, with 8 in 10 executives saying they consider nonprofits valuable partners.  Nonprofits are seen as ideal partners because they make their CSR investment more effective, provide a critical foundation and infrastructure, contribute expertise and help engage consumers. 
  • Senior Leadership Drives Success:  Nearly all executives reported that strong and vocal support from senior managers (94%) and well-defined objectives and outcomes (91%) are the most important ingredients in creating successful CSR programs.

What these findings highlight for our team is a shift in why CSR programs are undertaken.  Corporations are looking at community needs and asking how they can narrow and better focus their resources and expertise to foster genuine change on specific critical issues.  Given the urgent need for action in the U.S. on vital issues such as education, health and wellness, economic development and environmental sustainability, that’s encouraging news. 

We’ve highlighted key findings and our perspective on the strategic implications they present for corporations and nonprofits in a two-page PDF that you can download.  You can also view a detailed PowerPoint.  Let us know what findings you find interesting and if they prompt questions you’d like us to explore on these pages.


WS Social Impact CSR Five Facts

Sep 21

Social Good Summit, initial takeaways

Paul Massey

Social Impact was a partner in the Social Good Summit, along with Mashable and the UN Foundation. We'll be sharing some insights from the conference here on this blog.

Kicking off United Nations Week, journalists, nonprofits and celebrity advocates met in New York yesterday to focus on how new-media technology can help us reach the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

Attendees heard from actor Ed Norton about Crowdwise, the social good site he founded, and from Ted Turner about how social media can help push the world toward nuclear non-proliferation.

Here were some other highlights:

  • (Red) CEO Susan Smith Ellis set the tone by announcing that her organization has set the goal of ensuring that no child is born with HIV/AIDS by 2015. “Social media will be the engine of our success,” she said, while sharing this video.
  • Adam Conner of Facebook pointed out that the MDGs were written before the advent of the social Web. In 2000, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter did not exist. Online gaming was a fraction of what it is today. “Bringing the social context of that to real-world problems is a tremendous opportunity,” Conner said. “There is a huge possibility for online action that results in real-world results.”
  • Sherri Rollins Westin explained how Sesame Street is promoting social awareness around the MDGs through the new character Kami, who is HIV-positive. “Kami makes it okay to talk about HIV/AIDS,” Westin said. “She provides basic facts and models healthy ways to grieve a loss.”
  • MTV CEO Judy McGrath said that anyone who creates media content has an opportunity to impact change. MTV was the first TV network to mention HIV/AIDS. “Social media can make it easy for people to take action,” she said. “And young people genuinely care about global issues like poverty and disease.” McGrath concluded by telling the crowd something it probably didn’t know: Snooki from Jersey Shore volunteers.
  •        Jack Leslie, chairman of Weber Shandwick.
  •   Our own Jack Leslie, chairman of Weber Shandwick and chairman of the U.S. African Development Foundation, stressed that engagement means talking to people about what   they care about. “Think of people as advocates, not consumers,” he said.
  •  Addressing the summit via Skype, Wine to Water founder Doc Hedley said: “If you find something you care about, no matter who you are or what you do, you can make a difference.”

Weber Shandwick was proud to be a partner in this meaningful event, and we look forward to continuing our efforts supporting nonprofits and foundations as they work toward the Millennium Development Goals.

Sep 7

Crowd sourcing for online giving?

Paul Massey

Crowdrise, a social networking site that generated some good buzz in May when it was launched by Edward Norton and three partners, was the subject of an interesting  article in Sunday’s New York Times.  Crowdwise makes it easy for people to  create pages in support of causes they believe in and rally people to join their teams, showing support through small dollar donations.  It’s also a way to organize people around volunteer projects.  

For nonprofit organizations, it’s an appealing new option for recruiting supporters – and inviting them to energize their networks in support of a cause.  The site distinguishes itself with a healthy sense of irreverence (always good), and opportunities for participants to earn points, and ultimately, prizes.  It’s not the only platform of its kind (see: Facebook Causes or, but it stands apart with its lively personality, clear focus on engagement and a fun mix of celebrity participants.

As we head into the last quarter of the year, a season of many fundraising requests, I’m curious to see how organizations integrate Crowdrise into their outreach in creative ways, as well as how people (just like you and me) use the platform to draw attention to causes they’re passionate about.   Ultimately, that’s what’s most appealing about the site – how easily it can help people become fundraisers.  That, and of course, Crowdrise’s tagline: “If you don't give back no one will like you.”‬‬