Non Profits Raise Funds Without Buying Ads Or Mailings

Non Profits Raise Funds Without Buying Ads Or Mailings

Non-profits: Raise Funds without Buying Ads or​ Mailings
When non-profit organizations aren’t out changing the world, they’re appealing to​ supporters and the public for donations .​
Fundraising is​ a​ constant challenge for non-profit organizations and it’s not because people don’t want to​ give the money – it’s because people don’t always know that there’s a​ need.
Fundraising efforts include direct mailings, advertising, and marketing campaigns .​
Each of​ these is​ costly and there’s no way to​ guarantee return on investment .​
Wouldn’t it​ be nice to​ be able to​ gain exposure and elicit donations without having to​ dip into the coffers? You can – they’re called editorial placements, or​ as​ we in​ media relations like to​ say free advertising.
Newspapers and magazines live and die by their content .​
If people don’t want to​ read what they’re printing, they’re in​ trouble .​
Being able to​ offer a​ print publication (or even a​ broadcast network) with a​ story that will entertain, educate, or​ inspires its readers is​ a​ challenge, but well worth it​ if​ it’s printed .​
Which of​ the following newspaper placements do you think will garner more public response: an​ ad placed in​ the weekender or​ volunteer opportunity sections describing your organization and asking for donations; or​ a​ touching feature story about how the organization is​ making a​ difference in​ the community? The feature story will almost undoubtedly send more people to​ an​ organization’s Web site than an​ ad, and the funny this is​ that the feature story cost the organization nothing to​ secure .​
Why does the public respond more strongly to​ a​ feature than an​ ad? Because appearing in​ the media provides instant legitimization .​
People tend to​ trust the organizations or​ people they see in​ the paper or​ on TV .​
If you run a​ non-profit animal shelter that is​ featured on the weekend nightly news’ adopt-a-pet segment, chances are the public will think of​ you first when looking to​ adopt a​ pet as​ opposed to​ if​ you simply placed an​ ad in​ the Sunday paper every week .​
So how do you obtain free advertising? By reaching out to​ the media every chance you get .​
Smaller organizations that utilize community support can offer personal feature stories on certain overachieving volunteers .​
The media loves a​ good feel good story: how one volunteer has made such a​ difference, how a​ beneficiary of​ the organization’s services is​ thriving now, and so on .​
How did your organization start? Did someone sell their business to​ establish a​ women’s shelter? Does a​ local mother care for homeless animals on her farm? Here are some ideas to​ help inspire you to​ develop a​ story for your organization or​ cause.
Every person has a​ story .​
Discover the stories behind the people in​ your organization and make the media aware of​ them .​
By story, I​ mean a​ simple, conversational story – the type you might tell a​ friend .​
Pitching a​ story to​ the media doesn’t mean you have to​ write it​ and offer it​ in​ its entirety .​
When you pitch a​ story, you simply let your media contact know about it .​
They’ll decide if​ it’s a​ fit and pursue it​ further .​
To get an​ idea of​ the kinds of​ stories the paper and local networks like, spend a​ few weeks tuning in​ or​ scanning the pages .​
It will be obvious the kinds of​ things they’re looking for .​
Pay close attention to​ the journalists and reporters who write on topics related to​ yours .​
These are the people you are going to​ want to​ contact with your story.
Local outlets want local stories, and this can represent multiple opportunities for media coverage .​
For instance, if​ the person your story focuses on lives in​ a​ town other than where your organization is​ based, you can pitch the story to​ both locales .​

Let the world know what’s happening.
Hosting or​ sponsoring an​ event can garner more attention than a​ two-line announcement in​ the calendar section .​
What is​ the story surrounding your event? If you’re launching a​ clothing drive for professional attire to​ help women get jobs, highlight a​ success story, such as​ a​ woman associated with your organization who overcame hardships and landed a​ great job that changed her life .​
If you’re hosting a​ casual fun-day dog show for kids to​ benefit a​ local animal shelter, find a​ pet owner who plans to​ enter his or​ her adopted shelter dog .​
Even your fundraising events can be promoted through editorial placements .​
You don’t have to​ have a​ high-profile MC or​ a​ gala to​ make the news .​
If this is​ an​ annual event, how do you expect to​ surpass last year’s donations? How were the funds used? If they built a​ library or​ added a​ wing to​ a​ senior center, what’s the story behind that?
Announce Everything
Organizations in​ large cities face direct competition for donations and media coverage .​
To help improve your chances of​ media attention, do everything you can to​ stay in​ the news (or at​ least in​ the minds of​ the news writers in​ your area) .​
is​ there a​ staffing change or​ new hire (a positive one)? Announce it .​
If you’ve added a​ service to​ your organization, announce it .​
In sales and marketing, a​ consumer needs to​ hear about a​ product seven times before he or​ she will buy it, on average .​
The same is​ true for donations to​ non-profits .​
The more often the public sees your organization in​ print or​ hears about it​ on the radio or​ on television, the more likely they will be to​ consider donating .​
Keep that in​ mind the next time you’ve got news to​ share!
Media relations is​ about building relationships and having an​ idea of​ what the public wants .​
It’s not as​ complicated as​ it​ may seem, after all, you are the public .​
What do you want to​ read? What would be interesting to​ you? Talk to​ your co-workers and friends and find out their opinions .​
Identify the media people in​ your area who cover the types of​ things you and your organization do and begin to​ build a​ relationship .​
Before you know it, you may have them calling you for a​ story.

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