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Marketing and Public Relations

Like any other business, you should highlight the work of your literacy organization through different forms of media. 

In marketing your agency’s work, you may see increased donations, more volunteers and more learners.  Most importantly, though, you raise awareness about literacy


What exactly are marketing and public relations?

Marketing and public relations can include: 

  • promoting your organization
  • advertising your services
  • telling the public about upcoming events

While there are nuances, people often use the following terms interchangeably:

Advertising
One-way message about your services (banners, fliers, bookmarks)

Promotion 
Public messages about your services (letters to the editor, public service announcements, radio or TV spots, your website/newsletter and word-of-mouth)

Publicity
Prompting interest in your services through media 

Public Relations
Events, messages or press coverage to increase your organization’s goodwill in the community

Sales
Value of your services

"Promoting Issues and Ideas" by M. Booth and Associates, Inc. illustrates the nuances:

"... if the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying 'Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday,' that's advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that's promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor's flower bed, that's publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that's public relations." If the town's citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they'll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and, ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that's sales.

Use all of these marketing and public relations strategies. 

Keep your marketing costs low:

  • recruit volunteers in marketing, photography, graphic design, etc.
  • ask printers to provide services as an in-kind donation
  • ask radio/TV/newspaper to donate time/space for promotions

 

Resources

Marketing 101 (ebook)