Jan 12 2011

Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR to specialize in grant writing

joanne

Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR has added grant writing to its list of services.  This is the result of much heartache over the loss of state funding for public schools and libraries, and tough times for non-profits that serve underprivileged youths and their families across the US.

It took a friend of 30+ years to fire me up and get me to do something to try to help. She writes grants for the Washoe County School District in Reno, and it’s not unusual for her to bring in $6-8 million in one month for the district. In September of 2010, she raked in $27 million. The day I found that out is the day I asked her to be my mentor. She agreed and has been teaching me the tricks of the trade for the past three months. Certainly it’s going to take me a lot longer than that to get it down, but I’ve made a start. The first step is most important, right?

I’m currently working on my 6th formal grant. It’s interesting, and somewhat surprising, how closely the grant proposal process aligns with PR planning. You start with research in order to grasp an understanding of  the situational landscape. Then you define your mission, state your goals, outline your strategies, and determine how to evaluate success. The proposal is the pitch. It’s much longer, of course, but our knack for keeping it brief and to the point makes us a rare commodity among grant writers, and makes our proposals stand out.

Once I tackle private grants, I’m going to turn my attention toward federal grants. This is where the real fun begins….


Sep 13 2010

With reputation on the line, companies respond to social media pressure

joanne

A lot of good has come of social media in the way of corporate responsibility and accountability. Now, companies that once didn’t give a damn about their publics are just as focused on reputation management as they are on revenue growth. This isn’t news. It’s long been the topic of discussion among business and finance media, bloggers and social media enthusiasts who herald the use of social media as a changing force in the dynamics of corporate responsibility.

Last week, Joanne Taylor PR, a boise-based PR and marketing firm, experienced and benefited from this phenomenon. During the summer, we worked on a campaign for a top search engine. Our contract does not allow me to discuss which one but you can probably figure it out. The campaign was focused on educating small businesses about a new set of services specifically designed for them. It was a fun, and a lot of work.

But payment, which was promised upon completion of the work and receipt of invoice, was slow to come. I let it go for a few weeks and then began to inquire about it. The agency that managed the work answered by saying, on three separate occasions, that the check was on its way. Last week, I found out that the check was not on its way, and I decided to get a bit vocal.

I found the names and email addresses of several people who managed the agency that managed the work. I sent them messages politely making them aware of the situation. I didn’t go twital (that’s like going postal but on twitter) but I did post a few tweets to @s who I knew would see them, and understand the implications if word started to spread. Several companies have experienced the results of social media outcry, and most who are aware of those results probably don’t want to go there. It wouldn’t look good for a company to launch a we-help-small-businesses-succeed campaign and then not pay the small businesses that did the work on time.

Anyway, the response was immediate, and three hours later I received an email saying I would be sent a tracking number in the morning and receive a check the next day. Both happened… now let’s just hope the check clears.

If you want to read more about companies that are doing more to balance reputation and revenue, here’s a related article from Forbes: Making Money in the Reputation Economy.

Thanks for your time and interest. Leave a comment, if you’d like, about how social media has helped you or your company.