Fundraising Publicity

Publicity is what increases community awareness of your fundraising need and your planned fundraiser. This article provides ten publicity tips that will boost your fundraising results.

The success of your fundraiser depends on how much publicity your group can attract. Community awareness of your fundraising need and your fundraising offering will always increase your results.

The best way to get publicity for your fundraiser is to do a press release. And the most important part of your press release is describing the most newsworthy aspect of your fundraiser.

For example, if your group is doing a spaghetti dinner to raise funds for a cancer patient, the spaghetti isn’t newsworthy. The story of how friends and neighbors are pitching in to help someone in need is what’s newsworthy.

However, if you’re doing a fundraising dinner and the event features an auction of rare coins to benefit a cancer patient, the newsworthy angle is the rare coins auction. Focus on what’s unique and different about what you’re doing or leverage the human interest angle.

News media want story hooks that will attract an audience, not put them to sleep; so write the summary paragraph of your press release first and make it as exciting and interesting as possible.

Then fill in the rest of the who, what, when, where, why and how information of your press release. A great picture is definitely worth a thousand words, so when you submit it to all the media outlets in your marketplace, include newsworthy photographs if at all possible.

Place follow-up phone calls to talk radio stations, television producers (well assistant producers anyway), and newspaper columnists. I’m not saying that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease, but it never hurts to proactively make a little noise!

More fundraising publicity tips:

Publicity Tip #2 – Use your website
If you don’t have one, get one. Use it to communicate your goals, thank your sponsors, highlight periodic offerings, recognize successes, honor individual contributors, give event updates, etc.

Don’t forget to promote your web site on all your materials.

Publicity Tip #3 – Actively seek more publicity
Get the word out about your fundraiser in as many ways as possible. Get into as many neighborhood newsletters, community forums, talk shows and other public forms of communication as you can.

Publicity Tip #4 – Utilize any gathering
Make announcements at other events to spread the word, display products, take orders, make sales, and recruit volunteers.

Take a joint venture approach to marketing your group or event by giving something of value back to all those help out, even if it’s only a lousy t-shirt (just kidding!).

Publicity Tip #5 – Goal awareness
Heavily promote the goal of your fundraiser in all communications, particularly with potential attendees, auction bidders, and sponsors. A good cause gets the checkbooks out!

Make sure that all participants know the specific reason why the money is being raised and specifically how it will be used.

Publicity Tip #6 – Communication
Use all available means of increasing awareness of your group’s efforts including roadside signs, e-mail lists, phone calling trees, newsletter, flyers, posters, bulletin boards, recorded hotline messages, etc.

Publicity Tip #7 – Sponsorship decals
Offer these free to supporting merchants and include them supporter memberships. Use the glass stick-on type for storefronts or vehicle windows.

This “branding” gets the word out to the community that your organization has a strong support base.

Publicity Tip #8 – Bumper stickers
Sell your organization year round with every fundraiser by offering one that says “Proud Supporter of _____.” Give one to every volunteer and group member.

Publicity Tip #9 – Flyers
Hit local mailboxes (follow postal regulations) and car windshields in shopping centers. Give fundraiser details in your flyer in a way that promotes sales and gives contact information.

Incorporate a coupon or free gift offer into the flyer that will keep it from being thrown away. Your merchant base will help provide the offers because this is free advertising for them.

For example, a flyer could include a car wash, dry cleaner’s discount, or oil change coupon. (Or even all three!)

Publicity Tip #10 – Build and use an e-mail list
Ask for an e-mail address for future newsletter distribution when you’re fundraising. Have opt-in links on your web site. Easily stay in touch with a monthly email update.

You can build an online community of supporters even faster by offering them extras available only at your site. Offer community forums to post information or read the latest news.

Put your fundraising publicity plan in place today. You’ll reap the benefits in continued growth and additional fundraising success for years to come.