Most nonprofits want the media to cover them. But, too often, they don’t have the story the media wants.
Your organization can change that by positioning itself as a resource and expert. You do that by hitching your wagon to holidays and breaking media events.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are coming up. The media is interested in stories that are more interesting than brunches and barbeques. If your organization works with children in foster care, you can talk about how your agency makes a difference for children whose parents are absent. Highlight a foster parent who serves as a surrogate parent for children in care. If you work with at-risk families, talk about how your organization keeps families intact.
May is Older American’s Month. If you have volunteers who are seniors, identify one or two who are making a second career out of giving back to their communities by tapping into their experience, skills and knowledge.
Look ahead on the calendar and figure out upcoming holidays, observances and community events that are logical story possibilities. Identify potential stories and prepare clients, volunteers and staff to put your spin on the stories.
The media also love to localize national and international breaking news stories. When problems with our education system make headlines, talk about how your mentoring organization helps kids with academics.
If your organization works on social justice issues, talk about how your agency is working to solve problems in your community that are similar to those receiving national attention. In the wake of police shootings around the country, organizations in various communities are exploring how to avoid “becoming another Ferguson.” Share what you are doing to address racism in your town and build relations with law enforcement.
When there is an international disaster, such as the Nepal earthquake, notify the media if your organization is collecting funds to aid those affected by the disaster. Make sure that what your organization does is appropriate and doesn’t cause problems for aid agencies, such as sending truckloads of toys and used clothing overseas when funds for food, water and shelter are more practical.
Don’t manufacture a program or project just to get coverage. To win the media’s trust, your story pitch needs to be genuine, a real part of what your agency does.
What are you doing to get the word out about your organization?