Ep 6: It’s All About the Message – My Conversation With PR Guru Howard Bragman [PODCAST]

nonprofits are messyAcademy Award winning producer Steve Tisch (Forrest Gump, American History X, Risky Business) once said of my guest Howard Bragman, “At the end of the 7th day, God realized He needed a publicist. So God made a couple of calls, everyone recommended Howard Bragman, and the rest is history.”

Howard Bragman has been a communicator, educator, entrepreneur, writer and lecturer for more than two decades. In 2005, he founded strategic media and public relations agency, Fifteen Minutes. In addition to his agency work, Howard was an award-winning adjunct professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and is the author of the bestselling book, “Where’s My Fifteen Minutes?”

Howard has also done a great deal of work in the nonprofit space and has won awards from such groups as AIDS Project Los Angeles, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, The Life AIDS Lobby, and Congregation Kol Ami.

In this episode, I talk with Howard about nonprofit messaging, something that unfortunately, many nonprofits do not do very well. Howard has specific, practical advice for the biggest organizations and those just starting out. Whether it’s a fundraising message or an elevator pitch to someone just finding out about your work, you want to give just the right information that will stick with the listener. Howard tells us how to do that.

We discuss everything from core messaging to consistency to event messaging, and everything in between. We even drop a few names from time to time.


  • How to make your message like duct tape – STICKY!
  • Why, even when their work is often so much more compelling, nonprofits don’t message as well as corporations.
  • Consistency, consistency, consistency (see what I did there?)
  • A little shorter…a little shorter…just right. Tailoring your message for a specific event.
  • How so many special events are just way too long.
  • The value of “mission-centric” events.
  • I’m soooo tired of messaging fatigue, what can I do about it?
  • What to do if you want a celebrity on your board.
  • A great trick to keeping your fundraising costs lower.
  • What an amazing privilege it is to serve on a nonprofit board.