Filed under: Nonprofits
February 26, 2015
Securing media coverage for your nonprofit organization can be frustrating, especially when you take the time to send a press release and never hear anything back. But journalists are on a tight deadline and don’t have the time to respond to every pitch. In order to make your press release stand out, follow these three simple strategies: pitch a relevant story angle, write like a journalist, and add a personal touch.
The number one question newsroom editors ask before covering a story is “why should I care?” To make your story matter it needs to have a timely angle or tie into a local/national trend. For example if you are promoting water conservation, lead in with a startling statistic about California’s drought or an upcoming event like Earth Day. Another strategy is to pitch a follow-up piece on a story the journalist has covered in the past. If the reporter did a story about overcrowding at an animal shelter, suggest they meet with your no-kill nonprofit about how to get more cats and dogs adopted.
It is also important to make the information in your release easy to find. “Put the contact information right up top followed by a sentence or two summarizing what it’s about,” recommends Danny Willis with the Bay Area News Group. Business jargon or over-the-top statements are red flags for media professionals. The easier you make it for journalists to cover a story, the more likely your story will be picked up.
Finally when you are ready to submit your release, send it to reporters or producers personally. Journalists rely on a handful of interview contacts for most stories, so the goal is to get on their short list. Reporters are always looking for passionate experts locally, who are willing to be interviewed at a moment’s notice. Build relationships with journalists in your city and then follow-up with them personally after sending a press release. If a media organization does reach out, never turn down an interview request because as the old adage goes “any publicity is good publicity”.
For other ideas about how to get press coverage visit GreatNonprofits’ Social Media and Marketing Kit at http://goo.gl/z45Qvo.
Brittany Freitas is a media professional, with 5+ years of experience producing and reporting local television news. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 15, 2015
Muttville Founder Sherri Franklin
At the crack of dawn, Sherri Franklin awakens to a household full of old dogs. Franklin is the founder and CEO of San Francisco based Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. On any given day, she has a dozen grey muzzles of all sizes camping out at her Potrero Hill home. Franklin had always had a passion for animals, dogs in particular, and more specifically, senior dogs. As a volunteer for the SF/SPCA, she saw too many older dogs get passed over for adoption. One day, she rescued one—saving it from certain euthanasia and finding it a new home. Her ad-hoc rescue work grew, and in 2007 she founded Muttville. (more…)
January 12, 2015
For an excerpt of, "Matterness" click on the image.
Here Are Five Steps to Get You Moving in the Right Direction from Allison Fine, author of “Matterness, what fearless leaders know about the power and promise of social media.” For an excerpt of Allison’s book, click here.
- Think Abundance. Do you spend more time in meetings discussing what could go wrong or what could go right? Is your organization afraid of what people out there could do to harm your organization, or are you excited about engaging in their natural creativity and enthusiasm? Are critics treated as whackadoodles intending to do harm or as friends who are frustrated and want you to do better?
- Start Speaking With Not At Your Constituents. Stop using social media to just broadcast messages at people and start using them to ask real questions the answers to which are important to your efforts.
- Work with Your Crowds. Get in conversation with your crowds wherever they are. Ask them to do something creative with you, learn something together, gather information and intelligence, co-create an event together – before your ask them to buy a ticket!
- Gather Your People On Land. Gather ten or so donors together in someone’s home and talk about your cause with them. Discuss whether and how you make them feel like they matter. Do your communications feel personal? Does it feel like you only communicate with them to ask for money? Are they learning more about the cause?
- Figure Out What Scares You Most About Social Media– And Do It. Find a friend to teach you how to tweet, and spend a half an hour a day on Twitter. Talk to a critic on your blog, directly, like a human being, for the world to see. Encourage your younger staffers to use social media to talk about the organization (with some ground rules and talking points) and let them make mistakes. The sky won’t fall – I promise.
Allison Fine is among the pre-eminent guides to the social media revolution. Her new book is Matterness: What Fearless Leaders Know About the Power and Promise of Social Media. Matterness explains how and why people and organizations are better together with social media. It implores organizational leaders to stop focusing in the mythical fears keeping them locked behind their walls and to start working with rather than at people. In the end, the book explains that we don’t need better people; we need better leaders
January 9, 2015
The traditional season of giving may be coming to an end, but there is still time to give back or make a meaningful contribution to the community. But how do we get started? What groups should we give to in our community? (more…)
January 8, 2015
Creating a video for your nonprofit organization can be a daunting task. But the benefits of getting behind the camera, or in front of it, are worth it. “1.8 million words is the value of one minute of video,” according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research. Videos inspire people to get involved or donate to a cause. It is estimated that 100 million internet users watch online video everyday. If you’re ready to get started, here are some simple guidelines for creating a video narrative: (more…)
January 7, 2015
The holidays may be over, but the good will and spirit of sharing doesn’t have to stop. In fact, the winter weather continues for at least a couple of months and we have far too many neighbors and residents in our cities spending frigid nights outside, with no shelter. If you were overcome by activities over the holidays, maybe now, in the new year, you’ll have a chance to help those in need. Here are some organizations that work year round, collecting warm coats, shoes, and blankets. Hopefully you will be moved and encouraged by their stories to help those in your own community who are in need.
A “bag of love” filled with a handmade blanket, a stuffed animal, and a few of life’s necessities give a child a sense of security in uncertain times. Top-rated by GreatNonprofits in 2014, Bags of Love, based in Eugene, OR, has distributed over 5,000 bags to children in crisis since 2008. As one volunteer states: “…each person plays an important role in making Bags of Love reach as many children in our community as possible, whether it is sewing bags and quilts, filling bags or delivering bags, serving on the Board, or helping with fundraising events.”
In partnership with firefighters, Rotary and other civic clubs, local
businesses, and community agencies, Operation Warm provides brand new winter coats to at-risk children who live in need. The gift of a brand new winter coat brings a child happiness and warmth and empowers her to attend school and play outside on cold winter days. Located in Chadds Ford, PA, Operation Warm helps kids across the US. “Working with this organization has opened my eyes not only to the problems facing the underprivileged in our country, but that there are thousands of volunteers and campaigns to do something to stop it.”
Cradles to Crayons (C2C) provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. With locations in Boston and Philadelphia, C2C’s special “Gear Up for Winter “campaign supplies kids with the cold weather gear that they need to stay warm and safe from October through February. At the Boston office, kids over the age of five are welcome to volunteer. Kids and adults inspect, sort, and package all new and like-new donations into customized “KidPacks.” It’s never too early to start teaching your kids how to give back to their community.
From its headquarters in San Francisco, CA, One Warm Coat (top-rated by GreatNonprofits in 2014) works to provide any person in need with a warm coat, free of charge. What a simply stated, heartfelt goal! The organization began as a coat drive on Thanksgiving weekend in 1992. Last year over 600,000 people in need received a coat of their own and over 17,000 children received a new coat. When a recipient puts on a new coat, he or she is warmed physically and spiritually, by knowing that someone cared.
The staff and volunteers at My New Red Shoes believe that every child, regardless of his or her circumstances, should feel confident and positive about going to school. Ultimately, their goal is to provide new shoes and clothing to as many young people in need as possible. For those who give, My New Red Shoes cultivates compassion by connecting the broader community to its mission and the children they serve through volunteerism. As one volunteer said, “Growing out of a simple idea to offer homeless children the dignity they deserve on the first day of school, the organization impacts thousands of youth in our community.”
What good can a simple item, like a warm coat, do? According to Operation Warm, a recent survey sent to organizations that receive coats recorded these positive answers from respondents:
- 99% believed that the coat reduced the financial burden on their family.
- 75% believed the coats had a positive impact on school attendance.
- 100% believed the coats had a positive impact on their children’s emotions and self-esteem.
Survey respondents went on to state that the coats helped their children feel happy, smart, proud, or worthy.
It’s not too early to start a little spring cleaning. You might find a little used or gently worn coat that would be the perfect gift for someone in your community who could really use it. Check out your local churches, social service or local government agencies that serve your area. Chances are, someone can direct you to an organization that would gladly take a coat or two off your hands. Or check out the organizations described above; they all accept online donations. GreatNonprofits is another wonderful source of information about caring organizations in your neighborhood and across the globe.
December 29, 2014
Image courtesy of Charity Defense Council
It’s the home stretch for donors to make tax deductible charitable gifts in 2014. To help donors choose wisely during this season of giving, some websites focus on overhead costs to judge a nonprofits’ effectiveness. But contrary to popular belief, overhead costs don’t tell the whole story. “Don’t ask if a charity has low overhead. Ask if it has big impact,” according to entrepreneur and author Dan Pallota. (more…)
December 22, 2014
It’s been a great year, everybody! To wrap up the year, here are great infographics of GreatNonprofits’ Data Summary for 2014! (more…)
December 10, 2014
This year “GivingTuesday” generated at least $45.7 million for nonprofit organizations. That’s up roughly 65 percent from 2013 according to givingtuesday.org. Here are five ways to keep that momentum going through December and beyond:
Cultivate Social Media
Interact with donors and viewers on social media by thanking them, re-tweeting, or replying to direct messages. For example Irwin Naturals, an alternative health company, posted a picture showing how their fundraising project helped a retirement home decorate for the holidays.
Also amplify your message with visuals and infographics. Utilize free tools like Picktochart, Visuall.y and InfoActive. You can find the top 12 websites at http://www.practicalecommerce.com/. Another option is to upload and edit videos with your iphone using videolicious and camtastic.
Tools like storify or tagboard.com can showcase mentions to donors. This tagboard from GreatNonprofits’ 2014 Top-Rated awards exemplifies how nonprofits are using videos, testimonials, and awards in their social media. The Cambodian Children’s Fund combined a visual of their clients with the award. Summit Adventure featured one of their participants talking for 30 minutes about the impact of their program. You can also use certificates like the one on the right. (more…)
December 10, 2014
GreatNonprofits welcomes Parker Blackman as the new Board Chair, and new board members Bill Crane, former VP of at LinkedIn, and Reed Colley, CEO of FlightPath!
Parker Blackman is the Founder and Principal of Parker Strategies. Previously Blackman served as Chief Operating Officer and West Coast Managing Director at Fenton, the largest public interest communications firm in the nation. During that time he successfully led the San Francisco office, established Fenton’s Los Angeles office, built the firm’s digital capabilities, and led the transition from a public relations to an integrated communications firm.
Blackman served as partner and lead strategist for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, First 5 LA, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Playworks. He has consulted for movement leaders including Arianna Huffington & Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
“Parker Blackman will be a terrific asset for GreatNonprofits. His work at Fenton in organizational leadership and communications strategy was legendary,” said Mal Warwick, who is retiring after eight years as board chair. (more…)