Journalists love a good story. And a feel-good experience about how you’ve helped a person beat the odds or made an impact in your community may be just the story they are looking to write. Plus, that media attention can win the hearts of new donors and sponsors.
A thoughtful media strategy can help spread your message beyond current supporters. To get started, check out the five tips on the following pages. Bonus: Two organizations discuss how they integrated nonprofit promotional items into their media efforts.
1. Build relationships with reporters
One of the best ways to get more media interest is by getting to know members of the local media. To start building a relationship:
- Follow and interact with them on social media.
- Invite them to a face-to-face meeting to discuss your goals and results.
- Offer to provide a quote or share information about your industry.
- Maintain an up-to-date database of reporters who cover topics related to your organization so you can reach out when you have a story to share.
2. Create a virtual media kit
Keeping your “News” and “About Us” website pages current makes it easy for reporters to get access to information they need to build their stories. Be sure to include:
3. Post on social media
Keep social media platforms up to date with upcoming and recent news to help grab media attention—reporters often use social media to search for stories.
In fact, it can lead to all kinds of connections, as Dr. Rachel Goldman, Founder of Runway Heroes in New York City, learned. Runway Heroes creates fashion experiences for children with cancer. They do this in collaboration with fashion industry leaders to provide a confidence-boosting experience for the children involved. Over the last few years, the organization had the opportunity to partner with the New York Yankees® and TLC’s television show, Say Yes to the Dress®.
“The Yankees actually got in touch with us,” Goldman said. “They do something every year called HOPE Week, where they honor individuals or groups making a difference in the community.” For the Runway Heroes HOPE Week event, Yankees players and General Manager Brian Cashman walked the runway with children fighting cancer during the sold-out show that benefited childhood cancer research.
To help kids and guests remember the special event—and spread awareness—Goldman sends everyone home with a nonprofit promotional item. “We get a ton of donated products that the kids just love, and we put together gift bags for that,” Goldman said. “We realized it would be really nice for someone to be able to take something home and say, ‘This is Runway Heroes. This is where I was, and this is what I was doing on that day.’”
4. Partner with other organizations
Collaborating with other organizations opens doors for both of you to get coverage.
When a young cancer patient named Kimi, who had been sick for several years, told Goldman that she wanted to meet Randy Fenoli of Say Yes to the Dress, Runway Heroes reached out. Fenoli spent an entire day with Kimi at Kleinfeld Bridal and was introduced to Runway Heroes. The experience created a heartwarming story that shined a spotlight on both organizations.
“It’s easy to get media attention when you have Kleinfeld Bridal behind you or a Yankee player walking down the runway,” Goldman said. “So, we really try to tie in a celebrity host or a big brand that’s going to get attention to our organization and the cause. It’s a case of everybody wins—the kids and the brand!”
5. Host or participate in an event
Taking part in or hosting a well-planned event gives you an excellent reason to reach out to the media before, during and after the event.
When the Salvation Army of Gwinnett County in the USA Southern Territory was preparing for their annual Red Kettle holiday season fundraiser, they found a way to make it a true home run.
The group held a Home Run Derby Kettle Kick Off. Participants included personalities like former Atlanta Braves® players Mark DeRosa and Nick Green, plus local high school baseball and softball players who wore nonprofit giveaway jerseys.
“We invited the local media, including newspapers, online journalists and TV news reporters, to the event so they could share stories encouraging people to support and give to the Salvation Army throughout the Christmas season,” Director of Trade South Jeremy Rowland said.
Offer giveaways to supporters at your next fundraiser.
The Salvation Army ensured journalists had plenty of angles to cover. In addition to inviting families for fun activities, the organization offered nonprofit giveaways like baseball stress balls and megaphones, accepted on-field check presentations from sponsors, and invited people who benefit from the Salvation Army’s work to share their stories. “We showed video testimonials from people the Salvation Army has supported in the past on the jumbotron so sponsors could see the impact of their donations,” Rowland said.
Share your story
Telling your story to the media can open doors to finding more donors and sponsors. And when you plan an event that helps tell your story, remember to offer nonprofit promotional items to ensure your story is a win-win.
Note: 4imprint is a sponsor of both Runway Heroes and Salvation Army USA Southern Territory.
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