Marketing on Zero Dollars: What To Do When Media Actually Show Up

A Fundraiser’s Journey, Kelly Updike for PCNRC Kelly pic

I recommend that you don’t have a news-announcement event – you should plan and implement your event for itself, not for a news conference. It’s a bonus when news media arrive to cover it! And way less stressful to you, your board and the staff.

So, you’re having an event and have invited news media, now what?

Make a plan that includes:

  • Press packet with your event information and a copy of the news release, which you can email to all the news media again after the event. Also include basic information about your organization.
  • Staff member/s or key volunteer/s ready to escort or assist news media throughout their stay with you.
  • Staff member/s or key volunteer/s (can be same or different from above), selected, prepared and practiced with one or two key messages, to speak for the organization with the news media.
  • Escort for late-arriving news media.
  • Worthwhile reporting experience: Be sure your event merits their time and attention.

Tips for talking with media

  • Be friendly and confident. You are the expert on this particular event or topic and that’s why they are talking to you.
  • Be firm when you need to be. Can’t have photos or video of clients’ faces? Perhaps long-distance or back-of-head views are okay. Tell them when they arrive and they will respect your wishes.
  • Know the message you want to convey and stick to it.
  • Reporters are people, too. They are busy and sometimes new to our region, so provide history, context and background information in order for the reporter to fully understand and thus correctly report on the event.
  • Never ask to preview what the reporter is writing or taping. They will laugh at you, so I’m just trying to save you some embarrassment here.

Understand that the news reporters’ job is to convey an interesting message to their viewers/readers/listeners. You are responsible for helping them get it right. Never assume they know what you are talking about and be armed with your titillating tidbits. Felix Unger, from the Odd Couple TV series, said it best HERE.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Nonprofit Questions Answered by “Rita” and “Dr. Conflict”

Have you ever looked at the “Ask Rita” and “Dr. Conflict” archives on the Blue Avocado and Nonprofit Quarterly websites, respectively? We at PCNRC often reference these national publications. Both sites are similar in structure: a question marknonprofit professional can submit a question to the website involving some sort of workplace conflict or difficulty. Then, the question might be answered by “Rita” or “Dr. Conflict”!

“Ask Rita”

Blue Avocado’s “Ask Rita” feature leans more toward the legal side. If you browse the archives, you’ll find questions about job descriptions, volunteer insurance, performance evaluations, and much more! The “Rita” feature is actually written by three HR attorneys, so the answers state things in clear legal terms.

My favorite “Ask Rita” article? “Firing Someone for Slamming Their Nonprofit Employer on Social Media: Legal Update.” Spoiler Alert: The answer is more complicated than you might think.

“Dr. Conflict”

Nonprofit Quarterly’s opinion feature called “Dr. Conflict” is written by Mark Light, MBA, PhD. A lot of the questions in the “Dr. Conflict” feature concern board difficulties, as well as personnel problems, such as office bullies.

As is the case with “Ask Rita,” it’s worth your time to browse the archives. Who knows? Maybe you’ll stumble upon a question you can relate to, and perhaps you’ll find “Dr. Conflict’s” answer helpful for your own situation.

My favorite “Dr. Conflict” article? “About That %$@# Troublemaking Board Member…

Job Opportunity: Cornerstone Youth Center-Executive Director

Cornerstone Youth Center has one available position.


Executive Director

Position Summary

Incumbent provides fund development, visionary leadership, direction, and communication to achieve Cornerstone Youth Center’s (CYC) vision and maximize CYC’s mission performance and impact

Expected Results

1. Fund development to ensure a balanced budget,
2. Increase in CYC’s organizational capacity through administration of CYC programs and the development and supervision of staff and volunteers,
3. Foster adaptive and collaborative relationships with community partners,
4. Ensure financial sustainability, and
5. Maintain and grow the governance capabilities of the Board of Directors

Continue reading

Job Opportunity: Wellspring Interfaith Social Services-Assistant Director of Youth Services

Wellspring Interfaith Social Services has one available position.

Wellspring Interfaith

Assistant Director of Youth Services

Position Statement

The Youth Services Assistant Director helps coordinate programming that provides social, recreational and educational growth experiences for youth. Youth Service programming includes the Youth After School Program, Youth Summer Day Camp and Overnight Camp.

Position Description

• Helps plan, implement and evaluate all youth programs;
• Purchase or otherwise provide for necessary program and activity supplies within a  budget;
• Supervise, as directed by the Director of Youth Services, regular and seasonal youth program staff;
• Maintain appropriate records, statistics and correspondence including, but not limited to, program attendance, client files and financial expenditures;
• Maintains and adheres to all of Wellspring Interfaith Social Services’ policies and procedures;
• Helps plan and implement training opportunities for regular and seasonal youth staff;
• Assist in Wellspring’s fund development efforts as required;
• Provide case management working with other agency representatives as appropriate;
• Maintain and develop new collaborative relationships with other community organizations;
• Maintain and develop new outreach programs in an effort to expand the scope of direct services to youth;
• Support the marketing efforts of Wellspring as it relates to the Youth Services programs;
• Provide reports and attend board, staff, committee and community meetings as required; and
• Perform other duties as assigned.

Continue reading

Job Opportunity: McMillen Health-Executive Director

McMillen Health has one available position.

McMillen Health

Executive Director


As McMillen Health grows nationally, the CEO has been spending more time traveling. In order to maintain the administrative and fund development activities, we are expanding our staff to include a new Executive Director (ED) position, which will report directly to the CEO and have daily operational oversight of McMillen Health.

General Summary of Duties

Executive Director (ED) will have daily operational responsibility for McMillen Health’s staff, programs, expansion, fund development, and execution of its mission. S/he will initially develop deep knowledge of core programs, operations, and business plans. As a member of the Executive Management team, the ED will assist the CEO in the successful growth of the organization. In collaboration with the other Directors, the ED will act as CEO when the CEO is traveling for business.

Continue reading

Fundraising in 2015: The Nonprofit Research Collaborative Report and Survey

nonprofit research collaborative

Have you read the Nonprofit Research Collaborative’s (NRC) recent study titled “Special Report on Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns”? The report is available for free on their website. It covers fundraising and campaign findings in the nonprofit sector for 2015. Or, in specific nonprofit language, it’s about “capital, endowment, comprehensive, or special campaigns in addition to charitable receipts at nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada.”

In case you haven’t yet read about the report on the NRC’s website or through other sources such as Nonprofit Times, here’s a quick run-down of some interesting findings:

Boost in Fundraising

Overall: “59% of respondents saw fundraising receipts increase from January through June 2015, compared with the same time last year. This is an increase from 52% in 2014, and similar to results in 2013, which saw 58% of respondents reporting an increase in funding receipts.”

Education: “Charitable receipts rose at 71% of Education organizations, much higher than the 58% seeing increases as of mid-2014.”

Social Service: “63% of Human Service organizations saw charitable receipts increase, much greater than the 48% reported last year. This is the first time that more than half of Human Service charities have seen an increase as of mid-year since we began tracking in 2011.”


Overall” “27% of organizations reported being in a capital, comprehensive or combined campaign as of summer 2015 and 19% reported being in a special campaign. This means nearly half of all organizations in this survey had a focused effort to raise funds.”

Education: “Education organizations are more likely than all other sub-sectors to be in or to have previously conducted capital, endowment, or comprehensive campaigns.”

*Source: NRC report

earYou Can Contribute!

The NRC’s winter 2016 study on fundraising is currently open. You can complete it on behalf of your organization here. This is your change to contribute, so let your voice be heard!

February 23@4: Press Releases

What: Six ways to make sure reporters won’t delete your press releases!

Who: Jaclyn Garver, Media Relations and Communications Coordinator at Ivy Tech

JGarverJaclyn Garver is the creator and editor/primary writer of Green Light, a section of the College’s news and events blog for the campus and community. She has also written blogs for previous employers like The Journal Gazette, including the successful new-to-Fort-Wayne blog, Making Myself at Home. Jaclyn has a degree in newspaper journalism from Kent State University and specializes in writing conversational copy that addresses and connects with her audience.

When: Tuesday February 23, 2016 from 4-5 pm

Where: Allen County Public Library, Main, Meeting Room C

Why: New to the press release game? Let me give you some simple, basic tips to assure the most reporters possible open–and read!–your news releases. And the best part? You can incorporate most of these tips right away.

Please note that this program is intended for individuals who have limited or no knowledge of press releases.

How: Sign up here to attend.

 23 @ 4 Programs provides attendees with an overview of a topic with reviews of quality resources and materials packed into 60 minutes. These are not intended to be workshops or classes, but rather resource review programs that require less of your time and more of your interest to peruse the materials on your own.