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Fall fundraising season is well underway, and chances are your organization has a fundraising event on the horizon. A key piece to your success is strategic promotion. We all know events can be pricey, and when budgets get stretched thin, it's tempting to put marketing efforts to the backburner. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to spread the word that don't cost a penny.
In part 3 of this series we talk about methods for distribution. When you’re done writing your press release, look it over from an outsiders perspective. Does it pique your interest? Would you want to know more about the event or the cause? When you feel confident with the release, you have several options for distributing it to local media outlets. Press Release Series We developed this mini-series to guide you through the process of writing effective media releases to promote your charity auction fundraising event. Part 1: Why Press Releases Are Important Part 2: How to Write a Press Release Part 3: How to Distribute a Press Release Build Relationships with Media Contacts One of the best ways to ensure your press release gets picked up is to cultivate relationships with media contacts. Just like with potential donors, spend some time well before the actual solicitation - in this case prior to sending press releases - building a relationship with the right people at the news outlets in your community. Try to identify the editors and reporters who would be most interested in what you have to say. It starts with a simple phone call or hand written letter – not an email – introducing yourself and the organization you work for. Position yourself as an expert on whatever topic your Nonprofit mission is centered around and simply offer yourself as a resource. Whether your Nonprofit helps foster children or manages environmental projects, explain your mission and let them know you are always willing to offer a perspective. Follow up with these people every month or two just to check in and see how they’re doing. These days, hand written letters – especially for print media folks who tend to be a little more old school – can go a long way. During this courtship (yep – that’s what you’re doing!), don’t forget to personally invite them to any events you have, big or small, regardless of whether you are trying to get publicity. How do you get their contact information? Sometimes all it takes is a name. You can usually find this on an organization’s website or in the publication itself. Once you have a name, you can send letters or call the front desk and talk your way through. Another way to get through is to contact the sales department who can usually point you in the right direction.
Click Here to Enlarge This is an actual press release we did for one of our Nonprofit clients. Although it takes place post-event, it still serves as a good example to illustrate some of the components discussed below. In part 2 we cover best practices for how to write an effective press release. Keep in mind that press releases are not written for a public audience. You’re writing to the media in hopes they feature your story, so keep it short and sweet - typically about one page in length. Press Release Series We developed this mini-series to guide you through the process of writing effective media releases to promote your charity auction fundraising event. Part 1: Why Press Releases Are Important Part 2: How to Write a Press Release Part 3: How to Distribute a Press Release Writing an exhaustive press release that leaves no room for reporters or journalists to ask questions is less likely to get picked up. Use facts to intrigue and inform. Include important details like the date and location, as well as attention-grabbing information that will get the media interested in your organization.
Press releases are an excellent and inexpensive tool for Nonprofits trying to increase awareness and attract more supporters to a charity auction event. Press Release Series We developed this mini-series to guide you through the process of writing effective media releases to promote your charity auction fundraising event. Part 1: Why Press Releases Are Important Part 2: How to Write a Press Release Part 3: How to Distribute a Press Release What is a Press Release? Press releases are an official statement issued to newspapers and media outlets providing information on a newsworthy announcement, event or issue. They serve as an initial outline for journalists to develop a potential story for TV, print or the Internet.