Just recently, I heard about a pretty nifty way for non-profits to get a great print advertising deal in the local paper.

First of all- a disclaimer: I only know about this working in my local newspaper. I have never heard of it working in others, but I can’t think that my little rag in northern Michigan invented this practice. Therefore, I suggest you do some calling around to see what you can arrange.

Obviously, newspapers want to sell as much advertising as they can. But, they also have strict deadlines. Sometimes a paper will sell all of its advertising space, while other times, they won’t be as fortunate.

In these instances, when large blocks of ad space are left un-purchased, the ad sales reps become desperate. They try to make as many deals as they can before the paper has to go to print. In these last-minute situations, however, the ad reps are in a bind, because many companies won’t have print-quality ads ready to go. They have to make them from scratch, which can take time, which the ad reps don’t have. It can all get rather stressful.

In order to solve this dilemma, my local paper has struck deals with several local businesses to sell them a full page ad, which normally costs around $800 per run for a drastically reduced rate of $150! This is an amazing savings; however, the ad has to be pre-made and just ready to slip into the print run. No fuss, no muss.

In addition, the business has to commit to a certain number of these ads per year to get the deal. From what I understand, they don’t have to snap up the offer every time it comes around, but there is some sort of expectation that they are regular players in this game.

Of course, this also means that the cheap, full-page ad has to be generic. It can’t advertise anything time or price sensitive. But, it’s great for general awareness. All-in-all, I think it’s a great deal.

Now, how does this benefit non-profits?

Most non-profits I know don’t want to enter into a binding agreement that will cost them $150 several times per year- even if it is a great deal.

Therefore, what I recently saw happen was pretty ingenious. A local non-profit used a connection it had to a company that had one of these full-page deals in place. The non-profit, which was a school, wanted to advertise for next year’s enrollment. So, the school had a graphic artist whip up a full page ad, and the for-profit owner agreed that as soon as he got another chance to take the full page at $150 he would. Then he allowed the school to run their ad at his bargain price. The paper had no problem with this, as the ad was ready to go.

I don’t know if the business owner or the school paid the $150, but for the exposure and attention a full-page gets, it was definitely worth it.

As I said at the beginning, I don’t know if every paper does this kind of a deal, but it would sure be worth a few phone calls to see if your non-profit can take advantage of this pretty amazing savings idea.

Posted on 28 March 2011

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