One-Time Purchases

In order to optimize your return on investment (ROI), we highly recommend an annual planning session with Fahlgren Mortine to outline your goals and objectives for the year and to establish a budget allocation. However, we recognize there may be instances when your overall media buy is a minimal amount, requires no planning and must be executed quickly. The following guidelines provide units flexibility to implement small, one-time media buys outside of the universitywide contract.

During a fiscal year, a unit may purchase sponsored/boosted posts or ads on social media for a maximum total spend of $2,500.

Additionally, a unit may, over the course of a fiscal year, procure a cumulative total of up to $2,500 in one-time purchases outside of social media for such things as:

  • Placements in specialized niche publications or channels such as Social Work Today, BizEd or First Bell; these could include print, audio and/or digital promotions.
  • Small placements in local newspapers.

Please note: Ads received as a part of sponsorships, memberships or special events do not require approval. These can be handled directly with the organization.


Digital display advertising* and paid search programs cannot be purchased outside of the contract regardless of amount. When running digital campaigns of this nature, particularly through search engines, it is imperative that the timing, context and details are coordinated universitywide to avoid instances where units unknowingly drive up costs as a result of the way these placements are purchased and viewed. Furthermore, FM has personal representatives within a variety of paid media outlets, including Google and Facebook, allowing them to facilitate advertising programs more effectively and to communicate directly if a problem arises with regard to spend, ad appearance, fraudulent traffic or any number of other potential issues. Individual users running digital advertising programs through major platforms, such as Google and Facebook, would not have access to this level of customer service.

* “Digital display advertising” includes any and all types of advertising that can be displayed on a website, from banner ads to videos. It can be purchased directly from a publisher (e.g., The New York Times or NPR) or it can be purchased via a third-party partner (e.g., Teads), which has access to thousands of publishers and can place ads on multiple sites at once.

Executing One-Time Purchases

If your media buy meets the above criteria, please follow the process outlined below to evaluate whether or not it qualifies for purchase outside of the universitywide contract using a procurement card (PCard). (Please note that even if your media buy meets the above criteria, you may still use the contract.)

To determine whether your media buy qualifies for purchase using a PCard:

  1. The media brief must be filled out and submitted (as per current process).
  2. UC will review each brief on a case-by-case basis.
  3. UC will advise in writing, within two business days, whether your ad buy qualifies for purchase outside of the contract through the use of a PCard. UC will notify UB’s procurement office of this decision to ensure efficiency.
  4. You are responsible for documenting business purpose and price reasonableness for each outside-of-contract purchase. In addition, you should keep a copy of the approval from UC with the PCard order for audit review.

Note: Looking at your budget holistically and planning for the fiscal year provides the most benefit (and ROI) for your unit. University Communications will therefore evaluate the process delineated in this addendum periodically to ensure the benefits of a universitywide contract are maximized. Your feedback on this process is welcome.