6 Ways to Get Free Media Coverage for Your Nonprofit

Megaphone with sound waves coming out over a crowd in the backgroun with the text, "Get free media coverage for your nonprofit"

As a nonprofit organization, you are always looking to obtain “Free” advertising. Invite representatives of news channels, radio stations, magazines, newspapers, and blogs to your event. You never know who is going to show up. Even if they do not come to the event itself, they may still publicize your organization as a public service. Beyond doing this, there are several more ways to achieve publicity through media outlets that will cost you nothing but time. Donations of air time for local TV stations, etc. are tax deductible sometimes.

1 – Where do the interests of your community lie?

Pop art girl with megaphone

The best starting point is to figure out what the local community is interested in. Specifically, see what your local and regional news stations are covering. Stay current with breaking news and get your organization involved.

Who is most likely going to cover your event? Looking into reporters who specialize in specific areas, such as human interest stories, can raise the chance of getting your event picked up. Through this research, you can even figure out people to contact that would happily cover the story of your event and organization. No need to inundate the weather man with every press release you have.

Often, it is very easy to find email addresses to contact all manner of media outlets or individual content producers. Social media presents a lot of opportunities to get in touch quickly. As a backup, head over to the contact form on their website.

2 – Network, Network, Network

web of connected dots

Put feelers out to see if anyone in your network has contacts. Your staff as well as organizations that you have dealings with can be great resources. Over time, if you demonstrate your expertise you may even be contacted in the future whenever an expert is needed for comment. Now, you can’t pay for that type of publicity.

Show up in person to drop off any materials. By forming a personal connection, you and your organization will gain a lot of good will.

3 – Press Releases Reap Rewards

News playing on a TV

Press releases can be sent to newspapers, magazines, etc. before events to drum up attendance and donations. Give them a story they will want to write. Put yourself in the shoes of a journalist. What is the “angle”? Make it something that they will be able to scan quickly and understand the major points. Human interest stories usually prevail.

Outline your event: What are you going to accomplish with the funds raised? Who will be helped? How have previous events turned out? Give a personal and emotional story about past accomplishments. Get people excited and engaged. Make sure potential donors know specifically how they are helping and not just giving to your general fund. If any of your fundraising is occurring online, send media outlets a link.

You should even send a news release after you event has concluded. This lets the community know how effective your organization is.

Don’t stop at just sending your press releases to written word media organizations. Send them to TV networks, radio stations, and anything else you can think of.

An online press kit on your organization’s website can save everyone a lot of time and even reach outlets that you would never have thought would cover your event. This is a much more passive approach for handling press releases. Include a gallery of high quality photos, information about your board, organization history/mission, etc.

4 – Arrange Interviews

Hand holding a news microphone

Schedule an interview with a local radio station as another avenue for publicity. You can even try calling in during open call times: bonus points for getting on air during rush hour.

Contact your local TV broadcast stations. Set up an interview or news spot for their morning reports. A lot of 9-5 workers catch the morning news as they head out the door. 

5 – Be Courteous

Silhouette of a phone

Remember, most of these people you are contacting are working on a deadline. Try to be prompt in contacting them if they leave you a message. Plan ahead by giving out additional contacts within your organization to make sure there is always someone that can be reached.

Above all, don’t pitch during a cold call if you are unsure if they want a story. If your story does not get picked up, do not fret. This is a long term plan. Over time you will be in so many people’s minds that the numbers game will be in your favor.

6 – Follow-Up and Thank-You’s

Open envelope

Maintain these relationships that you cultivate by always following up. Make sure always to thank them and let them know how much they helped. Hand-written notes are definitely a nice touch. Personalization will go a long way.

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Ultimate Donations streamlines the often convoluted task of planning fundraisers and charity events by guiding you to discover donors more rapidly and effectively. If you have requested donations previously, you might be all to familiar with how tiring and time-consuming examining potential donors can be. Ultimate Donations has done a significant part of the research into who is most likely to donate to your organization. If you want a particular donation, we have the data on what is available.