Fundraising Marketing

How to Promote Your Fundraiser to Press

on February 12, 2016

​Getting press around your fundraiser isn't as hard as it sounds. If your fundraiser is amazing (and it is) then people will want to hear all about it.

Old time member of the press

There are millions of resources for how to get your campaign the press attention it deserves. A lot are directed at PR for nonprofits but can also be applied to individual fundraisers. For instance, nonprofit database Guidestar offers some great tips for starting a starting a PR campaign. So does Nonprofit Marketing Guide.

You should also definitely check out the Five Best Practices for Nonprofit PR Programs from PR Newser here. This list does a great job explaining ways to engage with a large audience.

That said, we've also laid it out in a way that's super simple (and specific for CrowdRise campaigns) below:

1. Write an awesome email and pitch:

Here's the thing: you don't need a press release for every great campaign. As nonprofitpr.org (a great resource if you don't know it) recently wrote about how a press release isn't always the best fit for every campaign.

Sometimes, you just need a really great pitch. This can just be a brief summary of your fundraiser, why you're doing it, and any other background information. It should be short. Don't include every single detail, but let 'em know you're happy to talk their ear off if they're interested. Also, it's important when pitching regionally that you highlight the fact that you're located in the community your contact covers. See below for an example:

Hi [PRESS PERSON],

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I live in [YOUR COMMUNITY]. I have started a fundraiser on CrowdRise to [short summary of what you're doing]. Please check it out at [CROWDRISE FUNDRAISER URL] and see more details below. I'm just hoping to get the word out and raise some money for this amazing cause. I'd love to chat with you about it all at your convenience.

Thanks,
[YOUR NAME]

[STORY DETAILS]

2. Identify your target outlets:

Look for the local media (hometown newspapers, television stations and local websites) that cover your area, as well as regional outlets (the newspapers, TV channels and websites that originate in the large metropolitan area closest to you).

Google News is a great place to start. You can select the "News Near You" option to see what the local news media outlets are covering. You can also search by a keyword that's relevant to your campaign, and that'll help you identify local outlets covering similar trends/topics.

Once you've identified your target outlets, you can do a little digging, either by looking online or via phone, to find out the name of the writer/editor/producer who seems like they'd be interested in your story — that could be someone who covers important causes, community events, human-interest stories or your local area (or the correct answer could be “all of the above” as long as you aren’t inundating one outlet with outreach). Email is great but phone works too. If you decide to give 'em a call, you can either try to pitch your fundraiser directly OR you can ask for an email address to send it.

Here's the most important thing: find the right person or people to cover your story. And then think about what she/he/they are most interested in hearing from you. Personalize your pitch for them the same way you personalize a story you might tell your bff.

3. Tap into a trend

​Notice your local or trade media outlets are covering a particular issue or trend a lot? Look for a natural connection that can help make your fundraiser feel timely and relevant to their readers. You can't fake it, but if you can find a real organic tie-in, it may provide some context and help reporters and editors understand your story better.

If you find a member of the press that has written articles you like, or that seem similar to yours, tell them that. A little flattery goes a long way... Something as simple as the following can help grab their attention:

​I loved the piece you did on wombats at the Sandusky Zoo. The part about how much money it costs each year to recreate their natural habitat was so fascinating. I'm wondering if you might be interested in another story... 

Wombat grazing
4. Share your story:

Share the email and pitch (from step 1) with your target outlets and offer a local spokesperson to discuss the importance of the campaign with the reporter or producer.

5. Follow up:

We recommend following up on an email pitch with a call the same day. If you do not get in touch with anyone and do not leave a voicemail, it's cool to call the contact back the next day. This isn't dating. There's no 3-day rule, but just don't snapchat them. That would be weird.

6. Make sure the link is included:

Guess what? Members of the press sometimes fail to include the single most important thing in an article like this: the link to your fundraiser. If you're successful and get a great article without the link, follow up immediately and ask them to add it.

7. Share it on Social Media:

This is a no-brainer, but we're going to say it anyway: tell the world about your press coverage on social media. Your supporters will be psyched to see the recognition you're getting.

A great way to start sharing is to come up with an overall message to share, and then customize to each platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Facebook is a great place to start because it doesn't limit your characters so you can write as much as you want but still best to keep it concise like...

​Check out this amazing article in The Huffington Post about my CrowdRise fundraiser to help my next door neighbor with her medical bills [LINK}

Facebook will automatically pull the thumbnail image attached with your URL but if you'd like to add your own image, definitely check out this comprehensive guide to social media image sizes.

For Twitter, you'll have to condense it a bit and don't forget to @mention and tag the writer and the outlet. Everyone loves a little love (including @CrowdRise). You can even make it a little personal like...

Thanks @HuffingtonPost for writing about my @CrowdRise fundraiser to help my next door neighbor with her medical bills [LINK}

You may have to condense it to stay within Twitter's 140 character limitation.

Lastly, if you decide to post it on Instagram you may want to either take a screenshot of the article, or just post an image either from the article or the fundraiser. If you want to dress up your image a bit, check out free editing tools like Canva.com.

You can keep the text the same as Facebook but make sure to tag the appropriate parties.

It's important to note that links aren't clickable from Instagram captions so if you want to have your link easily accessible you should put it in your Instagram bio. Here's an example:

​Check out this amazing article in @huffingtonpost about my @crowdrise fundraiser to help my next door neighbor with her medical bills. Link in bio.

When sharing, it also might help to tag your city. This can be done by geotagging the location or by using a hashtag. For example:

​Check out this amazing article in @huffingtonpost about my @crowdrise fundraiser to help my next door neighbor in #Chicago with her medical bills. Link in bio.

For more information on how to use hashtags, read this super helpful guide from Mashable.

8. Let us know:

We love seeing CrowdRisers in the news. If you get some coverage, share it with us here. That way, we can share it too. Win.

9. Take a bubble bath: 

Come on. You deserve it. May we recommend Trader Joe's All For One Soap? It's fragrant, yet subtle. You're welcome.

Trader Joe's Soap