Purple Cat is a full-service public relations firm that serves non-profit organizations and small businesses. The firm was founded on the key principle that quality public relations strategies and affordability do not have to be mutually exclusive -- "effective" does not have to mean "expensive."

For many business owners the knee-jerk reaction to a sluggish economy is to cut or reduce expenses particularly in marketing or advertising. But is that really the most prudent move? See what research from the major U.S. recessions reveals. Click here  to get your copy of the white paper.


Maryland nonprofits can begin applying for free marketing support through a national program available regionally through Purple Cat, a mid-shore public relations firm, and Octo Design Group, Philadelphia. The program is open to all 501(c) 3 non-profits from Baltimore through the Mid-Shore. The deadline is July 20.

Since the Maryland program began eight years ago, 27 Maryland non-profits and one New Orleans non-profit have been assisted with projects valued at $85,177.

Last year Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers of Easton was awarded the Maryland CreateAThon® project, which was a board retreat session focusing on marketing and branding. In 2010 Evergreen Cove Holistic Learning Center of Easton was selected for the program and received a brand evaluation as its project.

Past Maryland CreateAThon® recipients include: Adoptions Together, Baltimore, American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula, Elkton, Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County SPCA, Annapolis, Arundel Lodge, Edgewater, Baltimore Child Abuse Center, Baltimore, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Baltimore, Buy Fresh/Buy Local Chesapeake Region, Baltimore, Calvert Hospice, Prince Frederick, Caroline Nursing & Rehab Center, Denton, Centro de Ayuda, Annapolis, Children’s Theatre of Annapolis, Foundation for Community Partnerships, Centreville, Four Rivers The Heritage Area of Annapolis, London Town & South County, Annapolis, Fuel Fund of Maryland, Baltimore, Live Baltimore Home Center, Baltimore, Mental Health Association of Talbot County, Easton, Mid-Shore Pro Bono, Easton, New Orleans Musical Legends, New Orleans, La., The Nickelby Project, Grasonville, Partners In Care, Pasadena, United Way of Calvert County, Prince Frederick, and West End Citizens Association, Cambridge.

To download a Word version of the application, Word file.

To download a PDF version of the application, PDF file.

For more information, please call (410) 604-2319. Good luck!

CreateAThon® is a national pro bono program available regionally through Purple Cat, a mid-shore public relations firm, and Octo Design Group, Philadelphia. The program is open to all 501(c) 3 non-profits from Baltimore through the Mid-Shore. Previously unselected applicants are encouraged to re-apply.

Applicants must complete a simple, three page form describing three wish-list communications, marketing or graphic design projects. Completed applications must be returned by Friday, July 22, 2011.

Since the Maryland program began seven years ago, 26 Maryland non-profits and one New Orleans non-profits have been assisted with projects valued at $82,897. Purple Cat and CreateAthon partner firm Octo Design Group are two of the 73 agencies that have joined the CreateAThon®  network by presenting programs in their regions. Since 2002 the national CreateAThon® effort has benefited more than 1,100 non-profit organizations with 2,500 projects valued at more than $11 million.

The application deadline is July 22, 2011.

Download a PDF file of the application here.

Download a Word file of the application here.

For more information call (410) 604-2319 or email create@purplecatpr.com.

The Charitable Gift Guide was created to match holiday shoppers frantically searching for meaningful gifts for “the person who has everything” with local 501 c 3 charities in Queen Anne’s, Talbot and Caroline counties, Maryland. We all have people on our shopping list who are hard to shop for. With the Charitable Gift Guide you can complete your holiday shopping AND benefit a local charity in 4 easy steps:

1. Match the interests of someone from your list with one of 20 charities in the Gift Guide.

2. Make a direct donation to that charity, noting the Gift Guide on your check or by phone/email.

3. Request a card be sent to you to use as the “gift” to your family member or friend.

4. Wrap the card to give as your gift, AND get a tax deduction (as allowed by law.)

Maryland Holiday Charitable Gift Guide is produced by Purple Cat & made possible by Ride Entertainment Group of Companies (Title Sponsor), International Money Management Group, Inc., Choptank Electric Cooperative and Impressive Printing Co. Inc.

Makes great client gifts too!

Click here to download your own copy.

The dreaded non-profit budget-planning season is now underway. I’ve been there and it isn’t much fun! Fortunately I never had to prepare a budget during a recession.

Since I started my business I have been an affiliate agency of a national program called CreateAthon®. The Maryland program is open to all 501 c 3 non-profits from Baltimore through the Mid-Shore.

Through CreateAthon® up to five marketing projects will be selected and completed for free. Previously unselected applicants are encouraged to re-apply. The deadline is July 12. As a unique component of the Maryland program all non-profits not selected are offered a three-hour pro bono consultation.

Since I started the Maryland CreateAthon program six years ago, 25 Maryland non-profits and one New Orleans non-profit have been assisted with projects valued at $80,847.

I will accept completed applications by fax, email and snail mail. Remember the deadline is July 12!

Click here to download a PDF file.

Click here to download a word file.

If you have any questions, call Purple Cat at (410) 604-2319 or email create@purplecatpr.com.

The other day I was thinking about the latest fall from grace and was wondering why we hold such high esteem for athletes, politicians, musicians and other famous people.

What about the owner/mechanic working under your car fixing that oil leak or the accountant working her 13th hour straight during tax season? Or you or me, the small business entrepreneur who had an idea and turned that idea into a business? You’ll never find us on a Wheaties box, but its not a bad idea.

After all it will be the small business sector that helps us climb out of this recession.  Although small businesses haven’t cornered the market on job growth and innovation, time and time again we have seen this sector make the difference when it comes to pulling us out of a recession.

My money is on the entrepreneur. However, I am a little biased. I still believe in the work ethic and American ingenuity!

cake5  Years and Counting:

Top 5 tips as I celebrate my fifth year in business

In what seems like a blink of an eye my business has turned 5 years old!  So have a slice of decadent chocolate cake to celebrate with me and enjoy some hot topics that have come up time and time again:

1. Positioning (what makes you unique?). Every business or organization has something (or should) that makes it stand out from its competition. Make sure you clearly communicate that uniqueness in all your communications collateral and everything you do.

2. Revenue streams/structure. Is your business set up to succeed? Check out the specifics in your business plan to make sure that you have sufficient revenue streams and price points to appeal to a range of customers.

3. Know when to ask for help. Entrepreneurs are born doers – a blessing and a curse. Often we have a tendency to want to do (or control) everything. Unfortunately that usually ends up blunting our creativity and burning us out quickly. Team up with other professionals like accountants, lawyers, and communications professionals so you can focus on doing what you do best.

4. Don’t forget to promote. Staying lean and mean during a recession is important, but you shouldn’t be invisible!

5. Know your target market (customers). Gaining a better understanding of the demographics of your customer base and how they connected with your business is crucial.

– Excerpted from the Chesapeake Business Ledger

For full text go to: 5 Years and Counting!

Despite the doom and gloom economic reports a recession presents as many opportunities as it does challenges. Before you prepare an intervention for me consider the following marketing and business advice:

1. Do what works. Think about what you did during your first year to get your business or organization off the ground. Now isn’t the time to experiment with interesting but untested marketing ideas.

2. Market your business or organization. I made this a separate item even though almost all these concepts involve promotion and attraction. It is that important. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can afford to cut or eliminate marketing your business.

3. Communicate your uniqueness. Positioning how you are different should always be prominent in all your communications.

4. Be flexible. Consider the economy and your customer and his or her needs. Is there something you could easily tweak about how you do business that would be helpful and would set you apart?

5. Be the problem solver. The restaurant industry took a look at tight family budgets and came up with many more set menu meals and “kids eat free” deals than previously. Do what you can to solve your customer’s problems and they will stick with you and you will pick up some new customers along the way!

Excerpted from the Chesapeake Business Ledger. For full text go to: New Year, New Opportunities

CB006061Expressing gratitude isn’t just something to do around Thanksgiving. In fact being gracious and saying thanks should be part of  how you communicate with your current customers. I’m sorry to break it to you, but your Mom was right “please” and “thank you” are important and apply to your business as much as they apply to your personal life.

Find at least two times during the year where you clearly communicate your gratefulness to your customers or stakeholders. Sometimes I send Thanksgiving cards to clients or acknowledge special anniversaries or birthdays. Other meaningful things you can do to demonstrate that your customers and stakeholders aren’t just numbers (or dollars) are:

Add a note of thanks to routine business paperwork like proposals, invoices or even your fax cover sheets. Try something like this: “Thank you for your business. We look forward to serving you again.”

Send a handwritten note. We get so many form letters and pre-fab mail these days, sending an actual handwritten note makes an impression.

Send a newspaper or magazine article with a note. Sometimes you run across a topic when reading the newspaper that reminds you about a client. Maybe it’s something you were recently talking about. Why not cut it out and send it to her or him?

Call them just to say hello. If your client is extremely busy, be respectful of his or her time and make it very brief or send an email instead.

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope you enjoyed the paddleball you received from Purple Cat at the annual conference of the Maryland Association of Nonprofits. Did it conjure up memories of fun and relaxation? Sure it gets frustrating at times, but boy is it fun! And as the saying goes “it is a gift that keeps on giving.” Thirty-five MANO attendees will be the first folks to take advantage of The Cat’s Meow, a special FREE promotion exclusively available through Purple Cat. Click here to sign up. MANO PROMO