Participant Recruitment Advertising

For those with research projects involving direct participant recruitment through paid advertising: Although we would encourage you to use the services of Fahlgren Mortine (FM), a cumulative media spend per project grant, not to exceed $9,999.99, will be allowable outside of the Fahlgren contract. Please note this applies to all funding sources.

However, any paid media that exceeds $5,000 and does not utilize FM, will require competitive quotes or single-source price justification. The only exception is if a vendor is written into the grant and the project is using RF funds. Please contact Bethany Scibetta,, for more information.

Examples are as follows:

Example 1. You were awarded a research grant for a particular study within which you have $7,000 to spend on recruiting participants. The study will take place over the course of eight months and you will use the ad dollars evenly over this time period.

Question: Should you engage with FM or can you purchase media on your own?

Answer: You can absolutely contact FM through a participant media brief and work with them on the media strategy and execution. However, since the ad budget falls below the threshold of $9,999.99, you are eligible to purchase media on your own but must obtain competitive quote or utilize single-source price justification.

Example 2. You have been awarded a research grant for a study within which you have $12,000 to spend on recruiting participants.

Question: Do you need to engage with FM?

Answer: Yes. Since you are planning to spend above the threshold of $9,999.99, you will need to contract with Fahlgren Mortine.

Question: But I don’t plan to spend more than $9,999.99 with one vendor. I plan to spend $4,000 with vendor A, $5,000 with vendor B, and $3,000 with vendor C. Do I still need to work with FM?

Answer: You do, since the cumulative spend will be more than $9,999.99.

Question: What if the recruitment, and hence use of the $12,000 budget, will occur over a two-year period? Can I spend $9000 in one year and the remaining $3000 the second year, thus not exceeding the threshold of $9999.99 per year?

Answer: No, the threshold is per project, not per year. No matter the time frame, the threshold remains $9999.99.

Please note that this outside-of-contract exception does not apply to paid search campaigns (e.g., Google AdWords) where units of the university risk bidding against one another, thus driving up the cost of the campaign. In this instance, the unit/researcher must work with our universitywide media agency because of the logistical complications involved with selecting keywords. FM will be able to assess and coordinate these purchases to ensure there no conflicts or complications, and be able to monitor and optimize results.

The use of Fahlgren Mortine to handle creative needs is optional.

Begin Working With Fahlgren Mortine

As noted above, the media agency will work within any budget level. To begin working with FM and leverage their capabilities and expertise, fill out a media brief below.

If your project's advertising budget is under the threshold of $9,999.99 and you elect to handle paid participant recruitment on your own, you must abide by UB’s procurement guidelines and thresholds regarding obtaining multiple quotes, along with all other procurement standards.

Media Brief for Participant Recruitment

Get your plan started by completing the media brief.