How many times have you encountered the unfortunate fact that too many people don’t know you exist as a nonprofit organization working hard in your local community? You certainly know your story… the purpose of your mission, the population you serve, and your positive impact on the community. Your nonprofit lives and breathes every accomplishment, and just needs a little boost when it comes to disseminating information that can increase awareness to the general public.
In this era of rapid-fire information combined with a tech-savvy audience, you should be provided with all you need to convey your message in the communities you serve. Whether you serve a large community or small, connecting with the outlets capable of broadening your reach is paramount. Have you ever heard “out of sight out of mind” or “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”? There are a number of “phrases” we could throw out here but I think you get the idea. If you are not focusing any time and/or resources on reaching your audience then you are leaving opportunities on the table, and I assure you someone else will be there to pick them up. Not only can the media help your nonprofit reach funders, but it can also help funders feel like their dollars spent are getting the recognition they want to show the community their commitment to helping the cause.
We know this can be overwhelming, so keep reading to hear our best tips on making it simpler. If you’re looking for more, contact us for a FREE discovery call to see how we can help your nonprofit reach its media goals.
Before you try to create relationships with local media you must know who they are. You have to identify the television and radio stations in your area as well as newspapers and other print media like magazines. Watch their news coverage and read their articles. Determine what stories they cover. Are they quick to report on local stories concerning nonprofits and their impact? Are there issues they cover that could align with your services?
The advent of online media supplies an additional layer of potential media channels capable of reporting on the programs you administer and the vulnerable people you help. These nontraditional media resources are often smaller in scope and may be more accessible to engage. Ensure building connections by following outlets on all of their social media platforms and making attempts to connect by posting comments.
Make a Personal Connection
Reporters and other members of media staff are busy serving their community, as are you, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back right away. Persistence will prevail! First things first, identify your organization and the purpose of your call. Be sure to ask how you can best provide them with what they look for in a story. Maybe a human-interest story? This can help facilitate the start of a relationship. Consistent communication including press releases can help validate your role in the nonprofit community.
Ensure that you are accessible to reporters and their media organizations and can be easily contacted for stories, statements, or follow-ups. The easier you make potential communication and the more significant the content, you will have a substantially elevated personal as well as professional presence with the media in your area- both traditional and nontraditional.
Your Time to Shine!
This is your time to shine an informative, appealing spotlight on your nonprofit. But your preparation has only just begun. The media windows are small and can close rapidly therefore it is crucial that you have your message distilled with essential details to gain the most impact.
You must master the most important points you want to convey and be prepared to repeat them in order to drive home the message. Practice stating each idea plus a few bonus points to color the overall interest of the interview. Try to shake off any jitters by speaking slowly, loudly, and enunciating clearly. Your time is finite so don’t lose your thread because of the fear of public speaking or other distractions.
And do not forget to state your ask. What do you need? More funding? Donated items? Volunteers? Ask with clarity and purpose because those few seconds might be your only chance at media coverage.
Forming relationships with your local media may seem daunting at first, but your nonprofit organization can reap the rewards of community awareness by cultivating long-term, mutually beneficial connections across all channels. As in any relationship, know the players, be clear in your message, and utilize the advantages of consistent media communication.
Still, feeling uncertain? Maybe you don’t have the capacity to get this going? Whatever the case, KM Clark Consulting is here to help. No commitments, just conversation. Contact us here!