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Public Relations/Publicity for a non-profit


QUESTION: Hi Mary Ann,

I am currently in the planning stages for my non-profit and I wanted to ask about a publicity budget. I have gotten a few proposals from experts here in San Diego and to my surprise it is well over $10,000 per month for some press releases and media relations. Can you elaborate on costs for a non-profit that will be assisting individuals get jobs w/ training. We are looking to reach the entire state with our message.

Thank you, James.

ANSWER: Hello James,

Thanks for taking the time to write.

IMHO, no one should pay $10K a month or close to it for publicity if they are a small business - especially a non-profit organization. What was the company offering you?

Be sure you thoroughly research marketing & PR vendors.  Look at what successes they have had; how long they have been in business, if they have solid education or specific expertise to your industry.

Also, get references yourself.  Don't go by what you see on line via the company's website or even Yelp.  Instead, do a Google search on your own and look for the press releases the firm has sent out.  These should mention particular companies and quotes from people who represent the client.  A quick call or email to that client should give you an honest assessment of the work.

A marketing/publicity company should also provide an account executive assigned just to you, have scheduled meetings/calls, provide timely reports (accountability is critical), etc.  Everything should begin with a meeting where a client articulates what it wants to accomplish.  Together, both client & agency then build a strategy with a road map and timeline.  Using those tools, success is better measured -- and so is ROI.

Do your research.   Talk to other non-profit groups and small businesses in your area and ideally you will find someone within budget that has already helped a colleague.

Please contact me for more detailed information.  Thanks again for writing.

Mary Ann McQueen Butcher

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


To follow up, do you feel if I go into an organization with a budget in mind and ask what they can do for that is more appropriate and keeps me in the know of how much it is going to be? Also, do you work with non-profits in San Diego?

Thanks, James


Sorry for the tardy reply.

It is ALWAYS OK for non profits to go to an agency with a budget.  The same is true for any other kind of business (i.e., for profit).

Two things are important when I meet with a client:

1.  What is your budget
2.  What are you trying to accomplish

If the two are reasonable, it's then possible to move forward.

To answer your second question:  Yes, we work with non-profit organizations all over the country.

Mary Ann McQueen Butcher

Public Relations

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Mary Ann McQueen Butcher


Because of my almost 30 years of experience, I can answer questions on Public Relations Corporate Communications Crisis Management Community Relations Traditional Marketing Social Media Marketing Media Relations Product Launches Tradeshow Marketing Technology Marketing Entertainment Marketing Reputation Management & Repair Multicultural Marketing Media Planning


Mary Ann McQueen Butcher is one half of the team that runs Authentic PR. She has worked as a successful executive for four Fortune 500 companies, responsible for the sales & marketing for a dozen sales offices and multiple TV stations. Her experience is backed up by her undergraduate degree in Journalism and her MBA in International Marketing. Mary Annís 25+ year career has taken her from being a Network TV Executive to a serial entrepreneur who has successfully helped hundreds of companies of all sizes. Mary Ann has spent much of the last six years helping organizations learn how to make a splash without spending way too much cash! She has also successfully launched products nationally and globally for Intel (EyeOnMarket and Pentium), Cisco Systems (Linksys) and PepsiCo (Aquafina Alive, Diet Pepsi Max) and many more. Mary Ann lives in Huntington Beach and loves everything about Southern California.

Ladies Who Launch PRSA AMA Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce

Many major newspapers and magazines in the US

MBA, NYU Stern School of Business, International Business with an emphasis in Marketing

Awards and Honors
Multiple sales and marketing awards from Intel, Cisco Systems, Pepsi and the Walt Disney Company.

Past/Present Clients
Pepsi Cadillac Ranch (Restaurant) A Leg Up Rescue 7-Eleven McDonald's Corporate Westfield Shopping Malls Tony n Tina's Wedding King Ranch Market and many, many more

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