Lessons a PR Pro Can Learn from Lisa Dietlin’s “Transformational Philanthropy” Talk

On Wednesday, December 4, 2013 business and creative professionals gathered at Metropolitan Capital Bank & Trust (9 E. Ontario St.) for the bank’s quarterly “Women’s Empower Hour,” a complimentary series for proactive women in the Chicagoland area to learn and share ideas, stories and information over lunch. This discussion was hosted by the enthusiastic and knowledgeable Lisa Dietlin, CEO and President of Lisa M. Dietlin and Associates, Inc., a company quickly becoming the prime model for philanthropic leadership throughout the country.


As part of Margie Korshak Inc.’s Fashion, Hospitality & Entertainment team, I was excited for the opportunity to learn about the growing philanthropy industry, which currently accounts for a whopping ten percent of the business world according to Lisa’s research. I found much of her industry expertise could be applied to my team’s work in the public relations and social media industries. Here are the team’s favorite ideas from Lisa’s talk, applied to the needs of a PR professional:

Ask for permission to ask. Be open about your intentions with media contacts. Ask new contacts if you can talk with them about opportunities to work together in the future, before you start pitching. Setting up a discussion allows you to get more information so that when the time comes you can better tailor your pitch to the contact’s interests.

Thank a donor seven times. This is a business standard in the world of philanthropy. Gratitude is most effectively communicated by thanking donors more than once and in different ways. For PR pros, this is a great way to show your appreciation to your media contacts, as well as continue to build those relationships. Send a hand-written letter to the journalist who just got your client a great placement in a national magazine. A month or two later, buy that journalist lunch to say thank you again and discuss other opportunities to work together.

Save difficult calls for Friday morning. If you’ve got a difficult pitch to make, or perhaps you’re cold-calling for new business, try making those calls on a Friday morning, when the weekend is near and people are generally in good spirits.

Call potential donors that are difficult to reach eight times in two weeks and leave only three messages in that time. Has it been too long since you’ve heard anything about that radio segment you’re trying to secure? Are you looking to establish a relationship with a higher profile media contact? Do you have an impossible-to-get-a-hold-of contact? Try this strategy.

Do you have more ideas about how strategies in philanthropy can come in handy in the PR world, or vice versa? Please share!

Interested in attending the next “Women’s Empower Hour” at Metropolitan Capital Bank and Trust?  Contact events@metcapbank.com for more information.

For more information on Lisa M. Dietlin and Associates, Inc., check out: http://www.lmdietlin.com.

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