In the December newsletter the feature article discussed why holding a fundraising event annually helps build publicity. One of the points I mentioned regarded using the internet to build publicity.
Newsletter reader Joan C. asked,
“How do you post fund raising events online? You mentioned this in the latest newsletter – and its a terrific idea – but I have no idea how you do it!”
There are several ways to get your fundraising events online, most of which are very cost effective (often free). I’m going to explore two different categories of online publicity – getting exposure on other websites (like news sites) and secondly, effective strategies for your organization’s own website.
Getting your organization’s event publicized online can help you generate attendance at an event and/or support for your cause. The keys are getting your information listed on as many sites as possible and reaching local media who would want to feature a story about your event.
Press Releases Get Media Attention
Press releases, sometimes also known as news releases, are used to announce your organization and its activities to the media. The purpose is to catch the attention of editors and journalists who work for newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations with the result being a story about your organization.
While newspapers charge for ad space, if they produce a news story you will get much more coverage than you would with ad space — and it will be free. The public naturally trusts and listens to news stories more than they do advertisements so this increases the perceived level of credibility of your organization.
Find Specific Media Outlets:
Go to the websites of your local media outlets and look for information about submitting news stories. Many will accept press releases via email, but it is best to find out which method they prefer.
Google – Search for media websites
Media Post – Media outlets, USA
ABYZ Newslinks – Media outlets, International
Online services will get your news item out to the widest possible audience. Some services charge a yearly fee and others per press release. However, there are several good sites that will let you submit your press release for FREE or a very low cost.
PR Leap – Submit press releases
PR Web – Offers free and paid submission, click on Register Free for the free
Even if you contact your local media directly, it is also wise to submit your press release to distribution services such as PR Leap or PR Web. These websites automatically send their stories to many websites including Google News and Yahoo News.
Widely distributing your press releases has several benefits:
- Gaining the interest of regional or national news media
- Getting incoming links to your organization’s website
- Further increasing your organization’s profile and credibility
- Reach web surfers on sites such as Google News who may be interested in your cause – these could be potential donors or organizations with whom you can partner in the future
Get Your Event Listed
Your organization can gain further exposure by contacting other groups in your area. If the group maintains an online calendar ask if they will list your event. Perhaps they would even include a feature story or short post about your event if it fits within the style of their website.
This is also a great time to find out if you can visit and/or speak at their group meetings to inform them of the upcoming event.
Who to Contact:
- Chamber of Commerce
- Travel & Tourism Bureau
- Civic Clubs like Kiwanis, Optimist, etc.
- Non Profit Management / Resource Center
- Similar or Complimentary Organizations in Your Area (i.e. schools contact other schools, arts organizations contact other arts groups)
What to Expect
Publicity can help your organization find new supporters and encourage people to attend fundraising events. But remember it should be just one part of your total strategy which should also include advertising, partnerships, direct mail and direct one on one selling of event tickets.
Generating publicity for a fundraising event will also bring long term benefits.
Most of the time these are unseen benefits and you may not know which news stories had the most impact.
Nevertheless the quantity of publicity, news stories and newspaper
articles over the long term brings justifiable rewards.
The more the public is exposed to your organization the more
likely it will be that they will come to support you or attend future
Read Part Two: Publicity from Your Website
For more information about publicity and writing press releases the following websites may be of help:
FREE Press Release Tutorial