The Lab; Portnoy Media Group Blog

A True Friend takes home an ADDY!


Last year I joined the crew at Abandon Films to launch a short film about two guys and the friendship that they shared. It was a big hit and thousands of views later, the consensus was – Bravo!

The film was recently entered in the District 3 American Advertising Awards and came home with a Gold ADDY Award. Way to go guys!

A True Friend on IMDB


Portnoy Media Group uses the influence of social networks to expand your organization's voice and tell your story. We connect people with your mission and enable your brand to be shared, discovered, and connected. Work with us as we empower your organization to dramatically extend your online presence and increase donations.

Story Road Radio – Jason Brubaker


Jason is an artist in Los Angeles and author of ReMIND series (Vol 1&2) and he just recently released “Unnatural Talent: Creating, Printing, and Selling Your Comic in the Digital Age“. He’s had 2 successful campaigns on Kickstarter, one resulting in over 12oK!

In this episode we talk about the process of creativity, the best parts of stories and the brilliance behind his success.

Check out Jason:



Sithra Website

reMIND website


Josh Kaufman | Story Road Radio



Josh Kaufman is the author of the #1 international bestseller “The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business,” as well as “The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast!”

Josh’s unique, multidisciplinary approach to business mastery has helped millions of readers around the world learn essential business concepts on their own terms. Josh’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Time, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, and The widely-acclaimed Personal MBA manifesto and recommended reading list has been downloaded over 1.28 million times from

Plus, he’s a a guy with a sharp mind and gives us the lowdown about the early days and what got him started.

Connect with Josh on Twitter – @JoshKaufman


Amtrak introduces writers residency – LA Times

Is Netflix’s Deal With Comcast Good for Movie-Loving Customers?





Debut Episode – Story Road Radio


It’s finally here! Book marketer Tim Grahl is the brains behind several high-profile, bestselling authors. Authors like Dan Pink, Hugh Howey and so many more! His book, Your First 1000 Copies: The step-by-step guide to marketing your book, has been lighting up the best selling charts since it’s release.

1:15 – Commentary on the Olympics, The Walking Dead and House of Cards

7:20 – Interview with Tim Grahl


His Website –

His book on Amazon –

Watch the BBC or CBC Olympics.

Subscribe in iTunes


What do you mean by Acquisition?


“Hi Dan, reading through Non-Profit Narrative (love it, very inspiring) what do you mean by Acquisition? Specifically as a takeaway on pg. 53. Would this be in the sense of an “ask” after the event? Maybe acquiring more people into our story to tell the story? Would love a little help understanding this. Thanks!” – Michael Barsamian

Michael shot me this question via facebook and I thought this question may occur to more than one reader. He’s been kind enough to let me use this post to answer him.

Backstory and context:

This is taken from Chapter 3 of my book, The Non-Profit Narrative. Chapter 3 is when we move from theory to practicality.


In the book, I talk about arcs for campaigns. Events can work much the same way – there’s a life cycle to them. The image above shows how that event can work best. Take note that the event isn’t at the end of the arc, it’s about 75-80% of the way through the arc. 

Events are great but in large part they aren’t scalable. Classically speaking, your gala event or other large event happens as some sort of thank you or as a kick off from your largest donors to show momentum through the year. For a lot of organizations these were among the first things to cut in 2008-2009. But it’s been several years and they’re bouncing back.

In todays rough economy everything has to scale or have multiple payoff points. In the old economy the gala used to net big dollars, consume a ton of resources in time and dollars. If your event cost 10,000 and 100 attended, the net cost per person was $50 and that is never coming back. unless they gave over the $50 amount. And classically, that’s where it would stay. Now if that was a luncheon for donors that had given 10,000 or more in the last 12 months – that seems worth it. It’s a fine investment to make. However, it’s not scalable. The event happens, it impacts all the people in the room and then it’s over.

However, in the new digital economy for an 5-10% in resource we can use the same preparation to also impact our community and cultivate our current audiences.

So let’s take the same group. We want to have an event for donors that have given 10K and above in the last 12 months as a thank you. We set out to book the venue but now we also tease that we’re making preparations for a big thank you to our “Gold Circle Donors” (You mean you don’t have a name for your ultra donors? Change it fast!) Tease the event in in the prep by posting a photo to Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. the next day, do a quick 2-5 twitter/facebook posts about the qualifications to become part of the Gold Circle. This is also a great time to launch a blog post about those same qualifications. It’s a blog post so share all the info, share the lifecycle, share the page where your donors sign up to be part of that higher donor level. You’re now involving and informing your general audience on what it looks like to be a larger donor or a regular donor or whatever criteria you’d like to talk about.

With the details finalized, it’s time to begin the push for the event. If it’s a gala or on the level of fancy, I’m sure there’s a print element. Invitations are printed and sent in the mail. Take pics of the invites and share them through your social media channels. This may seem weird because it’s just mail… and maybe we’re getting too meta with taking pics of our invites… But please let me assure you, these pics and other activities help show momentum. Momentum is easy to get behind once the ball is already rolling. Todays audiences know that really well so show them what you’re up to, even if it feels silly.

A few days after the invites are out, start the tease via social media. If there’s a logo to share or if you can share the whole invitation, post it! Share about and thank sponsors as they sign on. Next up, email. Get your email targeted to the correct group and make it look like the invitation that you’ve sent out. But it can’t feel like a paper invite. It’s still digital, so be ready to receive RSVP’s and corporate sponsors from the email. Make sure you’re sending all the crucial information and have links to sponsorship, the ability to buy tickets. Eventbrite does some nice work for orgs and events. 

Over the next few weeks pepper info about the event through all communication channels. It should be a P.S. (read: call to action) on your corporate email until the event. As awards, special guests or talent is confirmed share that through your social media channels. Remember that pictures speak louder than your update. Plus the same photo can be used on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest – just not at the same time. If you’ve got options then know that square pics are better for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram and longer, thinner pictures work best on Pinterest.

Then as the event arrives, and it’s awesome. Make sure someone is blasting photos of the event out through all your social media channels… pretty much constantly while the event is happening. You can’t overdo it – release the hounds!

As the event ends, thanks everyone for being part of a great night. Thank your volunteers and take their picture. By showing who currently is helping you out, you’re giving vision to those who are debating volunteering next time. In a perfect world, you’ve had someone taking photos but you’ve also had someone capturing the event on video. Great b-roll of the mix and mingle and the remarks of your organizations leadership on how the organization is doing. You may also want to grab footage of the award that you’re presenting or the celebrities in attendance.

Because your event so well, I’m sure you had a program of some kind. And because you’re really smart, you created a video to sum up all the work you’ve achieved together this last year or to share a specific story of someone you’ve helped through your incredible organization. if you did that – GREAT JOB! You’ve just helped equip your social media channels with plenty of info.

If there was a video, get that on your YouTube/Vimeo channel ASAP. Once it’s there, share it through your channels and give the context. Tell the story of how the video came to be. Why was this person chosen? What are some of the crazy facts that you’ve achieved together in service or loving a problem. Give the vision – this is telling your story!

Prep that email with the story behind the video. Then link to it and ask your audience to share it. Prep 2-4 possible messages that your email recipients could cut and paste in their social media channels. Make sure they’re all less than 140 characters with your YouTube link included. Make sure your video has links to your site either in the description or through annotations. THIS IS SCALABLE ACQUISITION. You’ve created tools for your audience to share with their network the cool things that they’re apart of.  You’ve also empowered board members, staff and others to look cool by sharing a great story. All the data says peer to peer opinions matter far more than advertising, especially with millennials.

Any facts reported in the video can now be used to inform social media and allow you to yell from the roof tops about the work that you’re doing, THIS IS TYPICAL OR TRADITIONAL ACQUISITION. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn here, you’ve earned it. Your blog posts in the few weeks after the event should be sharing the photos and video that you have created from the event. Don’t forget to start teasing the next event or campaign so your audience knows what to be looking for.

This is how a campaign or event can be used to cultivate current donors and acquire new donors – plus all the work you did for a single event can now be shared with thousands.

A few caveats:

  • You have to create great work in invitations, photos and video.
  • If it’s embarrassing, slow or sappy, no one will share it.
  • Map these steps out on a calendar and set up reminders of what you’re going to be sharing each day.
  • These are instructions for a largely digital approach – acquisition though mailing lists is a afferent ballgame.
  • Keep your event program short – Don’t be self indulgent, this is about your donors satisfaction.

Thank you Michael for your question!

Michael Barsamian is an Area Director for Young Life in the Chino/Chino Hills area. (

If this kind of teaching is helpful to you, have your team sign up for the Non-Profit Storytelling Training class. For just $495 you and your team can walk through storytelling principles of your organization and strengthen the story that your telling, engage with your current donors and connect with new ones.

Watch the introduction here, for FREE!

Sign up for the class here 



SuperBowl Wrap Up


Tonights’ Super Bowl was a lot of fun to watch.. As long as you’re not a Broncos fan. Sorry, Peyton.

Here’s a look at my play by play during the game and what I think were the commercials to comment on. What was your favorite?

Big Winners:

  • Chevy – Cancer Week Partnership.
  • Toyota – Muppet Highlander.
  • Oikos – Full House Reunion FTW.
  • Jaguar – English baddies walk us through the paces of fun.
  • Pistachios – Stephen Colbert is a National Treasure!
  • Budweiser – Puppy Adoption couldn’t be cuter.
  • Coke – Apparently it’s controversial but in L.A. Hearing multiple languages is just part of the day.
  • Microsoft – Technology helping people + robot kid legs.
  • esurance – Technically not in the SuperBowl but what a way to go (John Krazinski and a Million bucks!)
  • (RED)/U2/Bank of America – Get a song for FREE and make the world better.
  • TurboTax – An idea that could’ve been used for any company, is funny and offbeat.
  • GoPro – falling from space. FROM SPACE!
  • T-Mobile – Tebow and self deprecating humor = wow.

Big Losers:

  • Soda Stream – no controversy at all, just hype.
  • RadioShack – An update is important, still not sure I ever need to go there.
  • Sonos – So boring and it wasn’t anything new.
  • Chevy – Bull Romance just isn’t cutting it.
  • Go Daddy – spray tans?!?! Really?!?!?
  • Chrysler – Self Indulgent Propaganda doesn’t work. #murica
  • M&M’s – it’s was ok, but they’ve been so amazing in the past.
  • GoDaddy – Quit her job…. ok?
  • Beats Music – Ellen was great, everything else… meh.
  • CarMax – Slow Clap.. Le sigh
  • Time Warner – Put enough stars in the spot so people will forget that we are terrible. (LA Customers lost the game for an hour)
  • Butterfinger – I’m not supposed to feel uncomfortable when I think of your product.

Still Deciding

  • Goldie Box – Repurposing another song, hopefully they’ve got the legal rights this time (See Beastie Boys Commercial)
  • Smart Car – Is shame a good tactic? Maybe?
  • H&M David Beckham – Well known star in a precarious position. This is about underwear?
  • Ford Fusion – Rob Riggle and James Franco come with explosions. Funny but not memorable.
  • Heinz – Happy and you know it and Grandma farts….
  • Bud Light – Lots of pomp for the Jersey Shore set. Not sure fit that’s good or just so well aimed at the right demo it’s lost on me.
  • Jeep – Restless ad leaves me wondering if they’re selling jeans for Levi’s
  • Audi – Doberhuahua
  • T-Mobile – Simple concept and simple message with simple music… May be too simple.

The Movies

  • Transformers 4 – What a doozy! WIN
  • Spider-Man 2 – Non stop Wow. WIN
  • Muppets 2 – They make fun of the internet. WIN
  • Noah – Explosions and the cradle of civilization apocalypse. WIN

JACK BAUER IS BACK!! (I’m looking forward to it)


Artist Profile – Macha Suzuki


Macha Suzuki is an incredible artist and I was able to spend some time with him in December.

Macha’s latest show “THIS IS THE END” will be at the Vincent Price Art Museum February 8th – April 25th. See info on the show at

Visit his website –


At Sea Events Teaser

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 12.34.58 PM

Last week we were in the East Bay for the first At Sea Event with Songwriter Mike Busbee. Busbee is the guy behind a lot of hit songs and has worked with Katy Perry, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts & a lot more. Here’s some shots from the event, more to come.


Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 2.15.46 AM

Back in 2007, the idea of a web series was pretty foreign. 4 guys, a car and a fair amount of expectation brought us together for the most sweltering 2 days of my entire life.  Drama and intrigue combined with a lack of planning that would make Honey Boo Boo proud.

I recently added the 5 episode series to YouTube for kicks.  Give it a viewing and Subscribe to my channel to not miss a thing.

The more time that passes the more I can’t thank Abandon Films enough for their incredible commitment to the project. Also big thanks to Tim Grahl for being my man crush.


Story Road Radio!


After a 2 year hiatus Dan is back at the podcast desk to bring you a solid story and a laugh or two.

Each episode explores behind the scenes on movers and shakers in media, marketing and non-profits. Hear from experts on what they’re learning and discover how it can help you and your business. Creating branding campaigns and promotions that are scalable, cultivating relationships and acquiring new people to your tribe using new media and social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.) and building community to help solve issues. Plus, we’ll have a laugh or two.