There IS such a thing as free advertising

Local group Ad 2 Madison will help out a Dane County nonprofit — pro bono — that needs marketing assistance but lacks funds, staffing, or expertise.

Tight budgets and small staffs are a reality for many nonprofits. Having an effective marketing campaign is crucial to raising awareness and donations, but whether it’s through a lack of funds, staffing, or expertise, nonprofit marketing efforts can often fall short.

Ad 2 Madison, a local nonprofit organization itself for communications professionals ages 18 to 32, has been helping other Dane County nonprofits since 2005 through an annual public service campaign designed to assist worthy 501(c)(3) groups that otherwise can’t pull off their own marketing efforts.

“Adopting a nonprofit annually is just one way we are able to give back to our neighbors who do so much for us throughout the year by supporting our group of young professionals who are learning and growing in the marketing industry,” notes Amber Sandall, Ad 2 Madison’s public service chair and a marketing writer at Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation.

As part of its annual public service campaign, Ad 2 Madison members share their time and marketing expertise — pro bono — in order to help selected nonprofits reach their organizational goals.

In past years, Ad 2 Madison has assisted local organizations such as Community Living Connections, Mentoring Positives, Logan’s Heart and Smiles, Gio’s Garden, Literacy Network, HOPES, and the Madison Parks Foundation.

“Last year we worked with Community Living Connections and helped them with their first fundraising event, including promotion and running the silent auction,” Sandall says. “We raised nearly $14,000. We have also helped Mentoring Positives increase their exposure and visibility in the community by assisting with their annual fundraiser and spearheading an organizational re-brand, which provided the non-profit with a recognizable, universal look. We were also excited to work with the Madison Parks Foundation, completely updating their website and implementing a comprehensive social media campaign to increase awareness of the nonprofit.”

This year, Ad 2 Madison is looking to partner with a local 501(c)(3) organization that has a plan or idea to increase the awareness, marketing, communication, and fundraising capabilities of their organization, but lacks the staff and/or technical expertise to fully realize their plan. Organizations are invited to apply to partner with Ad 2 Madison on a tailor-made campaign, directed by the selected nonprofit, that can drastically increase the impact the organization has on the Dane County community, according to Ad 2 Madison’s website.

“We have a great team this year, with a diverse set of skills,” Sandall says. “We’re prepared to help our selected nonprofit with anything from big-picture marketing planning and strategy, to driving awareness or fundraising campaigns, to volunteer recruitment, to digital/social media strategy — and really anything in between. There’s no project too big or too small that we won’t consider.”

Applications are open to organizations that qualify for a 501(c)(3) tax status and must be submitted here by Monday, Aug. 15 at noon. An interview will take place before one nonprofit is selected. Interested nonprofits can apply online or download and fill out a PDF application.

Completed PDF applications, as well as any questions, can be sent to Sandall at

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