PR tips for nonprofits
Updated: Feb 18, 2019
Your message needs to get past the multitude of information that lands on a journalists desk. These tips will help you spread your message and become the go-to-person for journalists to contact.
Finding a journalist to publish information on your events, new research or personal stories in a major #newspaper or news station is gold.
Journalists want exclusive stories.
If you can find a journalist at a worthwhile #publication that is willing to put your stories forward, continue to feed them with new stories once in a while and they will appreciate it.
Whatever you do, do not send out hundreds of press releases to news outlets, when what news outlets want is a tailored approach to their particular audience.
"Value a journalists time by only giving them stories when a large event is happening, or use a lot of discretion for stories that are news worthy, and journalists are more likely to respond."
When I started out as a journalist at a local paper I was frequently given stories by a director of a music school in the city, some of those stories ended up being front page stories, and I was always ready to pick up a call from him and do my best to get his article in our paper.
Once a journalist calls you about a story, be as helpful as possible by offering him or her multiple contacts to speak to, as well as photos.
Don’t be afraid to follow-up on the story to see how it’s progressing and if they need more information, that way if you feel the article is going off message it may be possible to recorrect it.
I have had many people who wanted to see my article before it goes to print. While it’s not common practice some journalist are willing to double check to make sure spellings of names, quotes and facts are correct by showing portions of their article. But, for the most part, be prepared to relinquish final control of your message to the #media. The pay-off is still free advertising and the credibility it gives to your organization.
Another important consideration is to always show enthusiasm for your organization and the event or story you’re promoting.
Enthusiasm rubs off on journalists too and will reflect in their article. I was more inclined to write about what someone showed passion and excitement for.
Also aspire to be the go to expert in your field. It would be great if after a while the journalists are calling you to speak on behalf of subjects pertaining to your organization.
At times you may be called on to offer information that may not directly benefit your organization, but getting the word out will still bring attention to your cause.
Having written speeches for provincial ministers, I also know how important key messages are for them at each public meeting, event or media #interview. It is equally important for nonprofit spokespeople to have key messages that you stick to when #journalists call.