This is a sponsored feature provided by BT MyDonate
PR is an essential component of fundraising. Whether you’re a small charity or an active fundraiser, it can be tricky to get your message heard but, with a little planning and some tactical use of technology, PR can help you get the message out and donations in. BT MyDonate, the free online fundraising platform from BT, gives you our low-cost, most effective top tips to maximize your PR.
First, get a plan in place. Decide who you want to get your message out to. Friends? Family and neighbours, colleagues and the local community? Make a list of all the media that reach your audience and might give you coverage. For example, the local press is often keen, particularly if there is an opportunity for a good picture. Also try radio, community newsletters and parish magazines. Next, identify contacts at each of these and then look at the kind of stories they already cover, familiarise yourself with their style and make sure you know the publication deadlines.
Are there any natural opportunities on to which you can piggyback? Is your charity launching a new campaign or coming up for an anniversary of some kind? Good. You’ve got a plan. Now you can make a start. A fundraising page on BT MyDonate will be seen by all your supporters, so make sure it looks its best before you start shouting about it.
Join online discussion groups to link with like-minded charities or fundraisers elsewhere in the country (there’s a good list on the Institute of Fundraising site).
Offer to speak at any local events your charity holds or to write a column for their website or newsletter – all of these are great ways to get your message out. Also consider the original "social media" – there’s no harm in asking your current network of supporters to pass your message on to five other people. As long as they have your key facts or latest leaflet, this is a great way to expand your reach by five times its current volume.
A press release might sound a bit scary, but is definitely worth doing and sending to journalists because it helps them to get your key points and might plant a seed for a story. Adding press releases to your fundraising and social media pages is simple too. You just need a short, simple story that gives the who, what, why, when, where and how of your activity, your contact details and a good strong picture whenever possible.
Use your local newspaper’s letters page as another way of expressing yourself. Keeping letters brief and to the point gives them a greater chance of being published and standing out. Why not write a story yourself? Magazines, trade journals and newsletters often appreciate a how-to feature from a guest contributor.
Consider setting up a blog, or comment on someone else’s blog (perhaps the journalists or businesses you want to attract) as a way of getting to new supporters.
There’s no reason why PR shouldn’t be an integral component of every charity’s fundraising strategy. You do a great job – shout about it! Find the stories in what you do, let the press know and they’ll do the rest. Getting press coverage will help get the message out, and the donations in.
To read some of the stories from BT MyDonate’s fundraisers, go here