Nonprofit organizations provide great benefits through services and products to local communities, positively changing the lives of families and individuals – your loved ones, friends, neighbors and colleagues. In most cases, they’re providing support with limited funds and resources, running on the time of volunteers along, while for-profit businesses have the advantage of better resources and full-time staff to support their endeavors. Often times, these disadvantages mean nonprofit organizations are put on the back burner with the media because their stories may not have the “flash” and grandeur available to the media from for-profits.
Focusing on nonprofit organizations, it’s especially crucial to keep a strong strategy behind PR efforts in order to effectively garner the attention of the media even with limited resources and time. Public relations require careful strategy to demonstrate information relevant to the audience. Implementing this strategy in a tactful and meaningful manor comes in the form of the newest PR buzzword – PESO – paid, earned, shared and owned media.
- Owned – content generated by the organization and thus messages controlled completely through their content
- Paid – paid advertising or sponsorships via media partnerships or other events
- Earned – information presented to the public via the media where the organization is a resource; or PSA/donated media via advertising
- Shared – social media mentions and virtual/social media conversations (“buzz”) surrounding the organization that builds through a word-of-mouth, viral network
These four avenues implemented strategically by any organization can garner attention related to its cause. Below are examples for paid, earned, shared and owned media and how to execute tools and tactics related to each. It’s important to consider added value with each, including compelling content the media can incorporate with mentions, such as images/video, trends, expert references, social media polls/campaigns, pop culture references, etc. Including these types of compelling content provide relevance for the media’s audience making the story more important.
- Media exposure and mentions via media sponsors/partnerships, including print, radio, television, digital outdoor, and online impressions
- Public exposure and mentions via partnerships, including other business’/organizations websites, press releases, broadcast media mentions, on-site/stadium events/exposure
Earned (Media pitches)
- How businesses are affected by the organization’s fundraising, including statistics and what that means for those employed by or benefiting from the products and services of those businesses; Relate it back to the end user
- Research and technology advances in the local area that support the organization, including scientific sources and news articles
- Profiles on each volunteers/donors and their connection to the organization and the community, including video interviews and photos so viewers can identify
- Benchmarks and milestones in industry advancements related to the organization and how they can be applied by families and individuals locally, including expert tips and trends for easy application
- Charts/graphics/statistics locally and what difference funds raised for the organization could mean to the community
- Map of communities within the area served most effected by the problems the organization serves to help
- Facebook poll quizzing social media users on statistics and facts
- Links to research directly impacted by the organization
- Hashtags to use on FourSquare and Facebook when you check in at locations related to the organization and its cause
- Create a PSA to distribute to local media outlets and ask them to share the video in order to help your specific cause. The PSA will serve as a vehicle to control the message and can be repurposed for earned media.
- Provide the media with statistics specific to the local community and how money raised by the organization can help to improve those statistics
- Create information graphics to visually represent statistics, event information and key messages that can be provided to the media for easy inclusion in their stories/mentions
- Video clips from organization events and locally-based families and individuals who have benefited from the organization
With all public relations efforts, it’s important to make the pitch newsworthy with an angle that allows the media and the media’s audience to relate without much thought. For example, correspondence and information provided to the media should be brief, in layperson terms, eliminating hype and sticking to fact and direct to what it means to the audience.