Nonprofits have the good fortune of having countless stories to share. As natural storytellers, nonprofit organizations are well-poised to capitalize on the value of a public relations program. Here are some nonprofit PR tips to help your organization:
1. Think visually
Building a great nonprofit PR story includes thinking about the visuals that will amplify its impact. How can you give your story maximum TV appeal? What can you do to strengthen the video that may run with your online news story? Compelling public relations programs for nonprofits seamlessly blend targeted messaging and appealing visuals to engage audiences. Whether you have prior event footage that can be used as b-roll for an in-studio tv segment or the good fortune of having a videographer on your board or staff, consider how a multimedia approach can help to maximize your news value.
2. Bring it full circle
Cause and effect. It’s a fundamental principal that allows organizations to bring their stories full circle. Public relations for nonprofit organizations can be challenging at times because those who deal with sensitive populations don’t always have clients who are willing and able to speak with media. In the absence of these first-hand accounts, it is important to have data to help tell your story. For example, if you are a mental health organization that serves hundreds of individuals each year, quantifying how many individuals you helped to advance their education, boost their job skills and reintegrate into the community can all help in strengthening your PR story. Which brings us to impact.
3. Focus on impact
Just as you’re focused on tying cause to effect, it is imperative to quantify impact to the extent possible. Numbers on how many people you served, specific action items you took at the legislature to move a bill forward, and the number of member organizations you’re connected with funding are all great examples of quantifying impact. If you have the good fortune of having a research partner or foundation funding to support a data study, gathering statistics first hand to demonstrate how your work has helped to move a population or region forward can be extremely valuable for strengthening your nonprofit public relations program.
4. Be social media friendly
Reporters share stories, not to mention look for sources, on social media. When crafting the key message points for your nonprofit PR program, make them succinct, salient and relatable. The great quote you give a reporter, may become the perfect tweet for teeing up their story. If a reporter is live tweeting from your press conference, succinct message points are also absolutely critical to ensuring the live updates the reporter is sharing are both accurate and easier for their followers to understand. Effective nonprofit PR strategies are integrated with other marketing channels, including social media marketing, so be mindful of how you can make your public relations stories social media friendly.
5. Maximize the value
While you may have been yesterday’s cover story, the value of your media coverage is far from over. It’s time to share that story on social media, put a link in your upcoming newsletter and add it to your website. Depending on the nature of your nonprofit PR story, it may also warrant a mention in your annual appeal campaign or there may be a quote to pull for an upcoming speech at your next fundraising event. Remember, you want to maximize the value, reach and impact of every nonprofit PR opportunity you get and that means not only telling a great story to the media, but maximizing the value after the story breaks.
A well-orchestrated nonprofit public relations program will resonate with donors, volunteers, partners and the community-at-large. While nonprofit PR requires an investment of time and resources, it can provide lasting value that stems from program development to fundraising.