Your online fundraising campaign is officially live and ready to accept donations. In fact, it already has received a few donations…from your family, from your close friends and from a few co-workers. Now what? How do you keep the momentum going without asking the same people to donate to you or your cause? Why not think outside the box a bit and look to the local media in your area?
It’s a fact that campaigns that receive news coverage raise 2-3 times more funds than campaigns that don’t. In fact, campaigns with news coverage also receive more anonymous donations – that means there are people out there just waiting to hear your story and give to your cause!
The local media is a great way to reach others in your community who may not know about your fundraiser. Local media outlets like stories with conflict and human interest because that’s what moves and interests their readers and listeners. Keep in mind that the media is bombarded with hundreds of story possibilities every day. You need to present your “news” so that your campaign stands out and gets the coverage it deserves.
The first step in getting media coverage for your campaign is to identify the news outlets you’d like to have cover your story. Put together a list of some of the local media groups in your area including TV and news stations, radio, newspaper and local bloggers. Try to get your information to the right people in the right places – find out who covers the particular type of story you have. For example, there is a specific person who covers community, children and family issues. That is most likely the person who will be most responsive to you and may be willing to share your story. It’s not recommended to contact more than two reporters from the same site/location.
You should reach out to multiple stations in your area. For example, your local ABC station might not be interested, but NBC might think it’s a great story. It is recommend that you contact at least 15-20 media outlets…after all, the more people that hear your story, the more likely someone will want to cover it.
These days, between Twitter and Facebook it is very easy to contact your favorite TV station, reporters and/or news anchor. Tweet your campaign link to the news station or a reporter, send a personal message on Facebook and/or make a comment on the news stations’ Facebook page with a link to your campaign and some background information about why you are raising money.
Another powerful way to contact a news outlet is via email. It is very important to not only tell the news outlet about your campaign, but to also emphasize how the story is relevant to them and why they should cover it. Here are a few key points to include in your email:
- Reasons why your story is relevant to a particular news outlet
- The main points of your story
- A link to your campaign
- Your contact information
Make sure to follow up a few days after reaching out. Getting press coverage is a lot like fundraising, you need to be persistent without being annoying.
If those you reached out don’t call you back immediately, don’t worry. And, if some don’t call you back at all…don’t let it get you down. It might just mean your fundraiser isn’t a fit right now. You still have to continue to get out there and share your story with everyone!
What happens if the media does want to talk about your fundraiser? YES! You did it! You already told your story, it’s on your campaign. Now you have an opportunity to talk about it in even greater detail. Be confident and be prepared. But most of all – Just Be You!