Building public awareness is key to boosting donations and support for charities. Good charity PR will help you reach potential donors and raise awareness for your cause.
Of course, many charities operate to a strict budget with limited resources, to maximise the work they can do for their beneficiaries. While this can make it difficult to run a full-on charity PR campaign, doing a little here and there will slowly help your charity to grow and thrive. PR is always a slow burn, so ensuring that you’re consistent and build some of these tips into regular habits is the key to success.
Reach out to the media
Journalists are your gateway to local and national coverage, whether it’s for your latest event, fundraising news, or a case study of an individual that you’ve helped. So don’t wait for PR opportunities to come to you – reach out to the media yourself.
Ahead of any events or for any news you want to share, write a media release (also commonly known as a press release) to share with local or national publications. When crafting your story, consider the following:
- What is of interest to my charity’s potential donors?
- Would potential readers find this story genuinely interesting? Where is the story, and what is the hook?
To help with this, we have an e-learning course that will take you step-by-step through writing your first media release.
You might want to use a media release to publicise:
- Awards – being shortlisted for or winning an award is a newsworthy story.
- Events – are you hosting any fundraisers? You could invite media figures to attend your event, as meeting in person can be beneficial to forging working relationships.
- Awareness days – are there any annual awareness days that are important for your cause? This provides a perfect opportunity to publicise exactly why your charity’s work is so important.
- Important news – if there has been some new developments in regard to your cause, commenting on this can showcase your expertise and build public awareness of your charity.
Prepare a media kit
Writing a media release is just one step you should take to prepare for charity PR opportunities. Having a kit of media materials ready to go will mean that you’ll be able to jump on any PR opportunities as soon as they arise.
Helping journalists as much as you can, by giving them high-quality materials to work with, will increase your chances of them using you as a source. It will also get you in their good books for any future opportunities. Your media kit should include:
- High quality images that tell your charity’s story
- Case studies that show the human side of your cause
- Facts about your organisation, and any specific campaigns you are running
- A media release telling your story
- Information about your charity’s key press contacts
Start a blog
Use blogging as a means to share important information with existing and potential donors, by showing how you’re making an impact and sharing information about your cause. Blogging can take up as much or as little time as you want it to, whether you want to post several times a week or monthly.
If you don’t have the resources to blog as much as you’d like, why not call for volunteer bloggers? This can provide a new way for people to volunteer with you while also gaining work experience.
Use social media
Social media is an excellent PR tool, as it allows you to communicate with potential donors and volunteers in creative ways, and open up direct conversations with them through comments, direct messages, and hashtag challenges. Plus, grant providers are increasingly looking at charities’ social media presence, to see if a charity is working on generating its own funding.
With one of our charity clients, we have found Instagram infographics effective in improving our client’s reputation and securing funding. The infographics are designed to educate followers on exactly what the charity’s work is achieving and to explain to followers how they can get involved.
For a more detailed look at how to set up your charity on social media, check out our dedicated how-to guide.
Keep on top of current affairs
Take the time to engage with news articles and blogs that connect with your charity. Leaving a comment will get your charity involved in media conversations, and may get you spotted by journalists as a potential future source.
Offline, spend time every day keeping up to date with what’s happening on the TV and radio. For example, perhaps a popular TV show is running a storyline that’s relevant to your charity’s mission. Engage with any relevant stories by blogging, engaging in conversations on social media, or by sending out a media release.
This might sound like a lot, but dedicating a few minutes here and there to find PR opportunities will pay off in the long run.
Work with influencers
Influencers and other high-profile figures come with huge social media followings, and, well, a lot of influence. Building relationships with relevant influencers can help to secure endorsements or encourage them to share your content. For influencers, working with charities is good PR, so building a working relationship is mutually beneficial.
When looking for relevant influencers, it can be useful to reach out to those who have publicly revealed that they are personally invested in your charity’s cause. Though this must be done sensitively, many charities have found great success with this.
One example is Made By Dyslexia’s collaboration with high-profile dyslexic figures like Keira Knightley, Richard Branson and Orlando Bloom. This isn’t to say that you need a host of Hollywood stars to promote your charity. There are plenty of smaller ‘micro’ influencers that may be easier to reach.
Need further help with PR for your charity? We specialise in charity PR and have a track record of boosting donations. Get in touch with us for a natter, to see how we can help your charity blossom.