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Marc C. Whitt has been featured in a variety of interviews and profile pieces ranging from local newspapers and newsletters, to national magazines and websites. Check out the latest press mentions and learn more about their career.

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Sage Advice From a Seasoned Communicator

NonProfit PRO, January 20, 2021

Credit: Getty Images by 10'000 Hours

By Jeff Jowdy

Integrity and character come first — plain and simple.

That’s the bottom line shared by my friend Marc Whitt, a higher education advancement communications veteran, in his new book, “PR Lessons Learned Along the Way.”

“If, in our work, people can’t trust who we are and what we claim to be, then we lose the ballgame,” Marc told me.

Thus, began our conversation about advancement and his book.

Our integrity and character are the DNA of who we are Marc shared. It takes years to build a solid reputation but just moments to lose it, so it’s crucial we remember that whether we are on the clock or off, we represent our institutions.

One of the biggest challenges in fundraising is to get fundraising professionals out from behind the desk. It can be the same for public relations.

“It’s not a desk relationship; it’s public relations,” Marc said, citing the importance of meeting with media professionals, community leaders and people at your institution who can be sources for stories, connections and other information.

Marc pointed to the importance of tenure in the advancement sector. Thirty years ago, when he got his start, professionals were expected to work their way up.

“Now it seems like you start out high and you do a sidestep… there is no stair-stepping,” he said. “Regardless of what area in advancement you are in, it takes time for people to know and trust you.”

“There is a lot of merit to trying to have a good healthy tenure,” he said.

A proper understanding of the relationship between communications and fundraising is also important. They go hand in hand, Marc shared, but communications leaders too often are trained in the transactional and have neither experience nor understanding of fundraising relationship-building.

Marc told me about an early mentor, his first boss.

“He wisely told me it was very important to understand the basics of fundraising,” he said. “The philanthropy side is a significant area that PR people need to have a good understanding of. We need to do a better job of bringing our communications and development officers together.”

Marc believes that advancement professionals need to embrace social media as an important relationship-building resource.

“When social media started making its foray into our work and the public, you heard it described much more in terms of social networking,” he said. “I’ve noticed that over the last two to three years, you don’t hear as much about social networking as you do about social media.

“True social media is an incredible tool,” he said. “It can aid in so many ways in relationship-building.”

Marc believes that too many people get caught up in seeing the number of followers they have go up, acting more like “people catchers” than “people engagers.” Used correctly — to engage rather than to simply gather — social media can be one of the most important resources in a fundraisers toolkit when it comes to engagement and relationship-building.

Marc also has some basic advice for advancement professionals looking to grow in their effectiveness, their relationships and their careers: Be a sponge.

“Rather than coming in and being quick to come up with the plans, they need to take time to be able to observe the institution,” he said. “They need to reach out and sit down with people who have invested their careers there — listen and learn about the hits and misses.”

“It’s a PR position,” he said. “You need to sit down with donors. And if you’re in a fundraising capacity, you need to sit down with community leadership, media and others — just to get a good feel.”

Regular readers of Bedrocks & Beacons know I’m suspicious of professionals selling their wisdom — whether it be via a monthly subscription, webinar, consulting or a book — when their bio is light on in-the-trenches experience.

Marc is front and center with his 30 years of successful experience in higher education plus extensive involvement with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

He’s what my father would have called “the real deal.”

“PR Lessons Learned Along the Way” is ranked by BookAuthority as the No. 1 Best New PR Book to Read in 2020, one of the Best 100 PR Books of All Time (No. 12) and one of the Best 6 PR Books for Beginners (No. 2). It’s targeted to higher education and nonprofit public relations professionals, but it’s a must-read for anyone in advancement work and in a nonprofit leadership role.

Jeff Jowdy Author's page

Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.

Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.

Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.

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Richmond author’s book named among ‘Best PR Books of All Time’ and ‘Best Read in 2021’

The Lane Report, March 2, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. – “PR Lessons Learned Along the Way: Strategies, Tips & Advice for the Higher Ed and Nonprofit Public Relations Professional,” a book by Marc C. Whitt, of Richmond, Ky., has been named to BookAuthority’s Best PR Books of All Time list and ranked among its Best New PR Books to Read in 2021.

BookAuthority, a site for book recommendations by thought leaders, collects the most recommended books on business, technology and science – as featured on CNN, Inc. and Forbes. The site includes the most comprehensive collection of book recommendations from business leaders and experts such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Sheryl Sandberg and Jeff Bezos.

Whitt serves as director of media and strategic relations at the University of Kentucky and is a part-time instructor in UK’s Department of Integrated Strategic Communications. His book has also been named by BookAuthority to its list of Best PR Books for Beginners in 2021.

“PR Lessons Learned Along the Way” has been named by the Public Relations and Communication Association (PRCA), the world’s largest organization for public relations professionals, to its “recommended read” list, and was Amazon’s #1 “New Release for PR Books” (June 2020).

Whitt said his book was written for the young, mid-career or senior professional, or perhaps a college PR student who is learning the principles of the public relations profession. It is filled with strategies, tips and advice addressing pertinent topics including program leadership and management, crisis communications, social media, earned media, storytelling, philanthropy and donor communications, town and gown relations, branding and much more.

Whitt’s book is available through Amazon Books, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million and at most independent booksellers. 

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'PR Lessons Along the Way' receives stellar reviews

By Poppy Humphrey, United Kingdom Town & Gown Association, Manchester, England, July 1, 2020

PR Lessons Learned Along the Way: Strategies, Tips & Advice for the Higher Ed and Nonprofit Public Relations Professional Lands Amazon’s “#1 New Release in Public Relations” Spot for June  

Higher Education PR Veteran Marc Whitt Authors Book Named to Public Relations and Communication Association’s “Recommended Reading List” and Recommended by United Kingdom Town & Gown Association Leaders

 Lexington, KY (June 30, 2020) – PR Lessons Learned Along the Way: Strategies, Tips & Advice for the Higher Ed and Nonprofit Public Relations Professional, a book that has already received rave editorial reviews by higher education and nonprofit leaders from across the United States and United Kingdom, maintained Top 5 status in Amazon Book’s “New Release in Public Relations” category for the month of June – most of those weeks at the Number 1 spot, announced Adam Turner, president of Cherrymoon Media, a publisher based in Lexington, Ky. The book is available in print and Kindle formats via Amazon Books.

The 272- page book, named by the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) to its “Recommended Reading List,” is by first-time author, Marc C. Whitt, a 35-year veteran of higher education and nonprofit public relations. Whitt currently serves as director of media and strategic relations at the University of Kentucky Office of Public Relations and Strategic Communications and is a part-time instructor at UK’s Department of Integrated Strategic Communication.  The foreword is written by nationally-respected higher education journalist Melissa Ezarik, senior managing editor of Connecticutt-based University Business magazine.

Whitt has written a book filled with strategies, tips and advice addressing pertinent topics for those in higher education or nonprofit public relations. More than 20 chapters cover topics such as program leadership and management, crisis communications, social media, earned media, storytelling, philanthropy and donor communications, town and gown relations, branding, event planning and much more.

Interspersed throughout the book are many of the career lessons Whitt said he has personally learned and experienced during his career. He has taken these experiences and insights and shares them with the reader in an open, honest, inspiring and insightful way, said Turner.

“PR Lessons Learned Along the Way is written in a conversational tone,” Turner added. “That was intentional on Marc’s part and true to his personality and character.  He wants the young, mid-career or senior professional to feel as if they are sitting down with him over a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea talking shop as they learn from one another. Not only do I believe he has successfully captured this in the book, but so do many in the public relations profession who have reviewed it.”

Cooper Healey and Poppy Humphrey with the United Kingdom Town and Gown Association (www.uktga.org) have been enthusiastic readers of Whitt’s book since its release and have offered editorial reviews.

“Marc Whitt takes a complex subject and gives the reader straightforward, practical advice,” said Healey, chair of UKTGA. “One is reassured that the potential challenges associated with ‘town and gown’ can easily be overcome by following simple, common-sense guidelines. Not only limited to university, community and municipal issues, Marc deftly addresses the potential to enhance the economy by engaging with all sectors, particularly tourism. Marc writes in a comprehensive, easy to follow style with points clearly set out. A pleasure to read, this book is a must for all involved in the ‘town and gown’ debate.”

Healey’s associate, Poppy Humphrey, UKTGA’s North West Representative and an off-campus student affairs officer for Manchester Student Homes, concurs.

“(PR Lessons Learned Along the Way) is a true delight of a read that clearly sets out the strategic and practical approaches to developing expertise in the world of PR,” said Humphrey. “Marc Whitt draws on key principles harnessed throughout not only his career, but also intertwines these lessons with reflections from wider life experiences. Marc invites the reader to trip through the narrative, interspersing motivational and thought-provoking quotes which both challenge and inspire. Many of the principles can be applied not only in a work setting but as building blocks for life. Marc sets out a blueprint for successfully navigating the reader through the intricacies of managing town-gown relations, in both an eloquent and accessible way.”


About the Author

Marc Whitt is Director of Media & Strategic Relations at the University of Kentucky’s Office of Public Relations and Strategic Communications. He also serves as a part-time instructor in UK’s Department of Integrated Strategic Communication and is a former PR and marketing columnist for the national trade magazine, University Business.  During his nearly 35 years in higher education, Marc’s work has achieved measurable results garnering over 40 honors including back-to-back CASE Silver Medal Awards for Total Institutional Relations Program. In 2015, he received the James C. Bowling Excellence in Public Relations Award. Presented by the UK Journalism Alumni Association and UK Department of Integrated Strategic Communication, the award is given to the “outstanding public relations practitioner with ties to Kentucky.” That same year, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Eastern Kentucky University Department of Communication. In 2003, he was named an Honorary Alumnus of Campbellsville University.

Recently Onalytica, a firm that identifies social influencers, named him among the “Top 100 Public Relations Influencers on Twitter;” he was ranked 21st. Additionally, CASE Kentucky presented him with its Beth K. Fields Service Award for Leadership in Advancement.

In previous years, Marc has served on the Association of American Colleges & Universities Advisory Council on Communications and Public Affairs (two of his eight years as national chair), the CASE District III (Southeast US) Board of Directors and the International Town & Gown Association Board of Directors. He has consulted organizations such as the Christian Appalachian Project, The National Association of Music Parents, Witnessing History Education Foundation, among others.

Marc earned a Master of Arts Degree (1985) and Bachelor of Arts Degree (1982) from Eastern Kentucky University.

Marc and his wife, Jennifer, formerly of Paintsville, Ky., reside in Richmond, Ky., and are the parents of three children: Emily Fields (Mark), Elizabeth Muncie (Christian), and Jacob; and the grandparents of Annaleigh and Aubrey Fields.

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19 Best New PR Books To Read In 2022

BookAuthority, January 1, 2022

As featured on CNN, Forbes and Inc – BookAuthority identifies and rates the best books in the world, based on recommendations by thought leaders and experts.

PR Lessons Learned Along the Way made it to the Best New PR Books


BookAuthority is pleased to announce that Marc C. Whitt's book, 'PR Lessons Learned Along the Way: Strategies, Tips & Advice for the Higher Ed and Nonprofit Public Relations Professional', made it to BookAuthority's "Best New PR Books for 2022" -- a distinction awarded to this book for 2020 and 2021, as well. 
BookAuthority collects and ranks the best books in the world, and it is a great honor for author Marc Whitt to get this kind of recognition. 
The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

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Central Kentuckians take part in Taps Across America

State News

By Amber PhilpottPublished: May. 30, 2022 at 10:44 PM EDT

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - If around 3 p.m. Memorial Day, you heard Taps being played you were not alone.

For the third year in a row CBS marked Memorial Day by inviting musicians from across the country to honor our fallen men and women who have served our country by playing Taps.

Last year’s call for musicians drew tens of thousands of videos from all across the world and this year two central Kentucky men picked up their instruments to play.

On a day where we stop to pay tribute honoring the countless lives who make our freedoms possible there is a sound we all recognize.

From the front yard to a cemetery Monday at 3 p.m. local time musicians like Marc Whitt in Richmond did their part by picking up their instrument and saluting the best way they know how.

Taps is the somber 24 note bugle call played at American military funerals and ceremonies.

For the last three years CBS has put the call out asking folks like Terry Thompson of Georgetown to step forward in their community, no matter where they are and play.

Taps Across America is just another way to bring the nation together.

No matter a red state or blue state, just a way both Whitt and Thompson can use the simple notes they play to recognize the sacrifice of so many.

Both Thompson and Whitt are members of the Madison Community Band.

Taps Across America was inspired after CBS Evening News “On the Road” correspondent Steve Hartman in 2020.