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CREATIVE ALTERNATIVES
Print Advertising

Advertisements are very useful for promoting long-term, issue-oriented campaigns or for raising short-term awareness of a cause. They can also help membership-based organizations attract new members.

When selecting ad space, you can sometimes specifically target people predisposed to your message. Newspapers (and radio and TV) have geographic-based circulations, but can also provide you with demographics for their audiences. Magazine circulation is mostly interest-based. If your message appeals to outdoor recreationists, you can target outdoor recreation magazines and web sites, for example. If your message concerns children's issues, you can pick outlets that focus on family and women's issues.

The one drawback to paid advertising is price. For most nonprofit organizations, the cost of even a small, black-and-white ad is prohibitively expensive. Standard four-color ads are even more expensive. Explore the growing number of issue-specific web sites that offer paid advertising (web banner advertising). These can help you reach a targeted audience at a much lower price. Radio ads are also relatively inexpensive. However, if the issue is not too time-sensitive, and you're willing to be patient, there are ways to get your ads printed for free in some magazines.

Magazine Ads

Magazine ads can be useful for promoting long-term issue-oriented campaigns. They can also help membership-based organizations attract new members. Unlike a newspaper - which is usually discarded daily - or a radio PSA - which floats briefly across airwaves and then vanishes - magazines have a relatively lengthy shelf-life and are often passed from one person to the next. Add magazines that are read in grocery lines, on airplanes, at the doctor's office and in other waiting rooms, and their reach become immeasurable. A single ad could impact hundreds of thousands of people.

Magazine advertising can also be specially targeted to people predisposed to your message. Unlike newspapers, which often have a geographic-based circulation, magazine circulation is mostly interest-based. If your message appeals to outdoor recreationists, you can target outdoor recreation magazines. If your message concerns children's issues, you can pick magazines that focus on family and women's issues. If you want to reach people interested in international issues, there are magazines targeted for this area as well. For an extensive listing of special interest publications, look through the Yellow Book or another media guide.

Getting free ads

Just before the magazine is ready to go to print, magazine layout people often find they do not have enough material to fill the entire publication. A story might take up less room than expected. Or an item may get pulled or cut at the last minute. Writers may not meet their deadlines or promised photos may not appear. Sometimes paid advertisers pull their ads. Whatever the situation, this unfilled space - called remnant space - is a nightmare for magazine design people, but a golden opportunity for you.

When magazine people find themselves with a hole to fill at the final hour they will often fill it with anything relevant and ready to go. So, if a small ad from a nonprofit organization that fits into the empty space and is camera-ready just happens to be sitting on the design table... Well, there's a good chance they'll use it.

How can your ad be the one in the ready-to-use spot?

Use these cues to remind you, then read on!

Step 1, be prepared

  • List your magazines
  • Get the advertizing "specs"
  • Collect ad samples

Step 2, design your ad

  • Make it generic
  • Include a photo and slogan
  • Make it fit the "specs"
Step 3, send it out!


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