While Donating is on the Rise, it’s Important Americans Know the Best Way to Give

College contest winners develop PSAs to help spread ‘Cash is Best’ message through design challenge

WASHINGTON--()--The USAID Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) and USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance are proud to announce the winners of the annual PSAid contest, a public service announcement (PSA) design competition for college students. Winners in the 17th annual contest created PSAs to explain why ‘Cash is Best’ when donating to international disaster relief efforts.

Research reveals that the number of people donating in the U.S. is on the rise. However, not everyone is providing items that suit the needs of communities affected by disasters. Most people don’t realize that material donations—like food, water, and clothing—are expensive to ship, are sometimes culturally inappropriate, and require sorting and storage which can actually hinder relief efforts. When it comes to international disasters, monetary donations are fast and flexible, allowing humanitarian organizations to directly purchase what is needed on the ground, while also helping to stimulate the local economy.

This year, winning entries were selected among 128 submissions from 179 students spanning 16 universities and community colleges, in the categories of video, static image, and GIF PSAs. University educators played a key role in this contest by sharing the opportunity with students, incorporating it into their curriculum, or offering extra credit for participation. The winning PSAs will be used in CIDI’s ‘Cash is Best’ outreach efforts. Past winners have been featured in prominent media publications, aired during popular television programs, or were included in popular streaming services such as Roku, Apple TV, Disney+ and others.

“This opportunity allowed me to gain valuable career experience while using my work to help further develop a great cause that is bigger than myself,” said Christion Carter of Howard University, member of the 1st place team winning the GIF category.

Congratulations to the 2023 PSAid Contest winners:


  • 1st: Cash is Best, Armani Brown, Damani Falconer, Christion Carter, Shaterra Robinson, and Chynna Anthony, Howard University
  • 2nd: Cash Swipes Right, Edwardo Cruz, Arizona State University
  • 3rd: What Cash Can Become, Riley Perdue, Arizona State University

Static Image:


A panel of experts from the fields of humanitarian assistance, communications, and design served as volunteer judges and included: Alberto Ferreras, author and filmmaker; Monica Parada, associate creative director, Ogilvy; Armetta Parker, board member, Caravanserai Project and former communications agency executive; and Peter Yeo, president of the Better World Campaign and senior vice president at the United Nations Foundation.

“I’m thrilled to have been a judge for this year’s PSAid Contest. It is not only a great opportunity for college students to get experience designing meaningful PSAs, but the ‘Cash is Best’ message is an important one for many in the U.S. who want to help during international disasters. I hope the winning PSA’s will help to illuminate the importance of this message,” said Peter Yeo, president of the Better World Campaign and senior vice president at the United Nations Foundation.

USAID also promoted the contest submissions on social media allowing the general public to vote for their favorites in the People’s Choice contest.

People’s Choice winners:

The winning entries can be viewed at PSAid.org. For more information about the ‘Cash is Best’ message and how to best help surrounding international disasters please visit CIDI.org.


USAID CIDI was created in 1988 by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance to inform the public about the advantages of giving monetary donations to relief organizations and warn about the risks of donating unsolicited material goods. Through its ‘Cash is Best’ messaging, CIDI’s goal is to support donors and relief agencies as they work to provide quick, effective, and efficient relief to people affected by disasters. CIDI provides donations guidance to individuals, groups, embassies, businesses, and corporations. For more information about USAID CIDI and helping international disaster survivors, please visit USAID CIDI at www.cidi.org.

*The research referenced was conducted on behalf of CIDI in November 2022.


Jackie Benitez, (239) 281-9928


Jackie Benitez, (239) 281-9928