Mel talks about getting the best PR (public relations) for your organisation or charity - simple tips to get your event or charity noticed.
Working for a charity can be hard. There are board meetings, committees, and a lot of people working together in their spare time to get something going.
I have had a little bit of experience as media liaison and PR for a couple of not-for-profit groups and charities, and there is lots to know when it comes to dealing with media and getting the best you can out of your group to promote your organisation or event.
- For the media, always have the same point of contact. Whether it be for an event, or just setting up the organisation, the more consistent the message, and the better the media liaison/spokesperson is across everything media and PR, the more smoothly things will flow. Not only that, the media will get to know the one person rather than having to deal with many.
- Put together a marketing plan. Yes it might seem strange for a not for profit to do full marketing plans like a business would, but a charity or organisation can be treated like a business. You most probably aren’t paying for advertising, but getting a calendar together of when releases will go out, when photo ops are and when you expect articles/interviews to be printed or go on air is great for everyone to be aware of what is happening and keep things on track.
- For print, make sure your media release is clear and concise. Have all details about an event clear, with a photo opportunity available. You can send a photo (make it a good one!) as well, but in general most newspapers like to take their own if they can make it.
- For television or radio media, you might have to be flexible with times. Television crews don’t come to things that are later in the day because of their deadlines, and radio might have a certain segment they want for your event/organisation. Be accommodating as they are giving you free PR.
- Create a great photo op. Make the photo op fun; really stand out and very much obvious in relating to the event or organisation. For example, for the Lismore and Villages Relay For Life, wearing purple or yellow in the photo would be a great way to grab attention and make it obvious what the event was about, and also stick to the branding.
- Find the human-interest angle. Why was this organisation formed? What is the event for? More than likely it is to help someone. Maybe you can work out an interview with someone who is helped, or will be helped by your organisation. They are the backbone of the organisation’s existence and they are who the media and community want to hear about.
- Follow up! When you call, or send a media release, follow up with the people you sent it to. The best way to get in is to do a little hussling.
- Social media. Social media is a great way to keep supporters aware during down times for the organisation or charity, and also a great way to engage and promote. This should also be a job that is assigned to a couple of people, and guidelines should be drawn up for how to use the page.
- Don’t be afraid to call in a favour. Know someone that can help you announce the event at a bigger event? Know someone who could possibly sponsor? Well ask them for help! Businesses aligning themselves with charity is great for them so they are probably more than willing to help you out.
- Finally, keep it simple! If everyone has the same end result and a clear objective, the powers combined will create a great event or purpose for the organisation – concentrating on different agendas won’t be as effective.