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QED Initiating Memo

Date: 3 February 2004

Dear Ms. Ozgood,

Thank you for considering me as a sub-contractor for a new QED project. As it happens, I have been formulating an idea, based on my extensive background in public relations, for a project that could be ideal for QED to pursue. With more that 20 years of marketing experience, I have observed that effective use of Public Relations is the most cost-effective means for promoting an organization’s products and services. At the same time, I have noticed many worthwhile nonprofit organizations struggling for attention with very limited resources for promotion. While basic public relations is relatively simple and requires only modest tools — such as a basic word processor, fax, phone and Internet connection — it is often misunderstood and viewed as costly or superficial.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (nccsdataweb.urban.org), there are more than 1.2 million nonprofit organizations in the United States, including more than 100,000 in California, with over 10 million paid employees and roughly 100 million volunteers. As a group, "nonprofit organizations" cover a wide spectrum of size, scope and sophistication, but the overwhelming majority are small, with fewer than fifty staff, and have a mission focused on service. Clearly, with numbers like these, the target learners have a broad range of skill and knowledge. This proposed instructional product would be directed at managers of small and medium-sized nonprofit organizations who have promotion, communications or fundraising responsibilities. Many of them have the common need to promote their organizations and events, educate the public, raise funds, recruit volunteers, advocate causes and communicate ideals. By developing even a rudimentary understanding of how to craft a simple press release, work with the media, assemble a press kit and coordinate a press event, organizations can address many of these needs with almost no financial outlay. A number of these activities are also especially well suited for delegating to volunteers.

Instruction can serve as a cost-effective way to help these managers and their staffs, paid or volunteer, develop a toolkit of publicity skills that will help them achieve their goals. However, for the same reason that these organizations have limited funds for promotional activities, their training budgets are also restricted. Using an Internet or CD-based instructional product will give the target audience an economical and flexible, interactive way to study at convenient times and places, without travel expenses. These media would also facilitate distribution of reference materials including templates for press materials and links to useful websites.

Because nonprofits have limited budgets for marketing, knowledge of how to get the most impact with the least expenditure is critical. A small investment in training can pay for itself many times over. At the same time, the subject matter is relatively straightforward and can be produced without high development costs. Much of the material could also be repurposed for an even broader audience in the small business community.

I hope you’ll agree that this product could be rewarding for both QED and its target audience.

Very truly yours,

Susan Connell

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© 2003, 2004 Susan Connell, Educational Technology Student at San Diego State University