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Re: AM: Should non-profits solicit donations through banner ads?

Subject:     Re: AM: Should non-profits solicit donations through banner ads?
From:     KMcsweeny <>
Date:     Sun, 18 Jan 1998 13:45:17 EST
Organization:     AOL (

In a message dated 98-01-18 12:51:33 EST, writes:

<< hen a radio/tv station runs a PSA for a non-profit,
 does it count as donation for tax purposes?  >>

Radio and television stations have an obligation to show service to the
community.  Regularly scheduled public service programming and announcements
(among other things) are included in the proof of performance they supply to
the FCC.  It's an obligation, not a charity.    Call it a cost of doing

There's a place for public service announcements on the internet, but before
more noise is added to a site, it would make sense for everyone to stop and
evaluate the value of their inventory, the scheduling of it, the placement of
promotional announcements either for off-net events in which the site is
involved or special event programming within the site...and then public
service announcements.  Too many websites look like they are just rotating ads
evenly on a twenty four hour basis without any consideration to who's out
there looking at any given period of time.   It's not all about highly
sophisticated trafficking software.  Sometimes all it takes is common sense.  

Television and radio stations have a much stronger handle on their available
inventory than most internet sites.  Experienced television executives
understand their demographics, the value of their inventory by daypart and
schedule accordingly.  For example,  you are unlikely to see a public service
announcement inside a top rated show during a sold out time of year.....The
one exception to that is when the station (or network) has developed a public
service campaign, which they are co-branding.  
Don't think there isn't money to be made by the stations in public service,
too.  It's not unusual for a major public service campaign to have advertisers
involved who pay for the privilege of being there.  And the time for those
telethons,  religious programs and "feed/save the children" type shows is all
purchased.  Those programs were, in fact, the original infomercials.

The bottom line is.  When you think public service, think of it from three
different perspectives:

1.  Is there a partnering opportunity with a non-profit that will result in a
     campaign that will drive money and attention to the non-profit and to the

2.   How much available inventory do you have on your site and what percentage
      are you willing to give away?  Do you want to work with one specific
      or spread the inventory around?

3.   Where is the inventory and when are you going to make it available?  If
      donating time to a non-profit, don't bury it so deep in your site that
no one
      will see it.

By the way, there's often confusion between PSA's and advocacy spots.  Ross,
you mentioned the UN land-mine ad.  That may have been public service...but
it's possible they paid for it.  

A year from now we're going to be talking how to manage political advertising
and will  the FCC rules that effect television and radio also impact the
internet?   Something to keep in mind for the future.

I'm hopping off the soapbox and heading to the gym.  Thanks for the chance to
toss in my two cents.


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