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Public Relations 101: “Don’t Piss Off Donors”

Posted Mar 12 2010 6:35am

"Thanks for thinking of us. Now, take THIS!"

I‘ve only been doing public relations/public affairs for a few years… like, oh…10 or so when you include my time in the Navy.  But one thing I’ve known from the start.

When someone says something nice about your organization in print, especially when that person is raising money (however little it may be), you can do one of two things…

1.  Thank that person for what he/she is doing for your organization.

2.  Say nothing.

Now, did you notice what’s NOT on that list?

3.  Write an e-mail to the person who sent out the press release saying nice things about your organization, telling how he’s trying in his limited way to raise money for that organization because he really believes in them… and scold him for using the organization’s name in the title of the press release without checking with THEM first.

Do you know WHY that’s not on the list?

Because it’s something you shouldn’t do! You should do #1 or #2 — but NEVER #3… especially when you’re dealing with a person with a neurological condition that tends to make him irritable ANYWAY and such a communication would make him consider (but only for a moment) that there might be some OTHER organization that would like the money (however small that amount may be).

It just makes no sense.  I paid for placement of a press release that got thousands of placements and hundreds of reads, is all over Google, and it mentions this organization in the headline and gives them NOTHING but good publicity.  And it didn’t cost this organization a NICKEL!  I sent an e-mail to the organization outlining my plans, the retail price of the book, how much of a cut this organization would get.  And they responded.

Not with a “thank you for what you’re doing.”

Just this.

Thanks, Bill.  Actually, I saw your press release this morning on Wired PR  In the future, please let me know if you are sending a release with our name in the title.


I’m not saying I need my ass kissed or anything like that, but to be scolded after writing to them telling them that the release has already generated a few sales… and that means donations to their organization…

But I’m over it.

So, if you haven’t already, please check out “Deep Brain Diary” at  Read the preview pages.  If you think it’s worthwhile, and you feel like making a donation to the aforementioned organization, please do.

They do great work.  Could use a little more tact in the PR department, perhaps.  But they do great work.

You can read the offending press release here .  It’s gotten over 5,000 impressions already.

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