Some charitable organizations are downright puritanical when it comes to media relations, but it’s the successful nonprofit that practices unabashed self-promotion. The relationship between the media and its top sources of “feel-good” news is a symbiotic one that gives news consumers the break they need from bad news. Avoid a few basic pitfalls of nonprofit public relations, and your charity will gain the notoriety, legitimacy and donors it needs to better serve its cause.
Stumbling Blocks to Successful Promotion
- Being unavailable for comment. Whether you’re the director of a nonprofit or a volunteer who is charged with media relations, make yourself available at all times when a reporter has a question. Develop a rapport and keep the flow of communication going.
- Talking a reporter out of a story. When faced with a negative story, weigh your options before shutting down the questioning. See it as an opportunity to steer the conversation back to your main cause and fund-raising needs. A good conversation at this point could lead to a feature story about your nonprofit down the road.
- Waiting for the media to come to you. Get out there in social media and get a feel for what reporters are looking for, then find them a story within your organization. Make some news, then pitch it to the right reporter just when they need it most.
- Neglecting your web presence and nonprofit branding approach. Members of the media who come across a story idea will do one thing before calling you: scour your organization’s web site. Make your site comprehensive and user-friendly, and update it at least weekly.
The Big Picture Involves Reporters
Members of the news media can be beneficial allies, and no organization is more in need of their help than a nonprofit. Cultivate real, lasting friendships with members of the news media, and when the ultimate feature story about your group is picked up nationally, make those 15 minutes of fame last a lot longer with custom article mounting. It makes for beautiful lobby art that will impress donors for years to come.
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