There is no law that says charities should be bad at PR and marketing. Many aren’t, but those that are seem to be especially weak.
As I count a number of charities as clients, and often get asked ‘How come my charity gets no press?’ by others in the sector, I thought this list might help.
Here are 5 reasons your charity gets no press:
- You have no dedicated PR resource(s) working for you. Earned media is unpaid but not free. You want to ‘get out there’ and let the world know about your amazing mission, then you need to make the investment in your resources. This can be in-house or agency, but it has to be something! Don’t worry, if things go right and you start building relationships with media your investment will more than likely pay off.
- Those who benefit from your charity’s work are not in front of media enough. There is a tendency for organizations that are not used to media attention to want their in-house people to do any and all media interviews. If you are a charity, MOST of the the media opps you get should feature people your work helps, not ‘official spokespeople’. The best stories – and those that drive donations to a charity – are the ones that tug at people’s heartstrings.
- Your charity does too few public events. Public events are but one arrow in the quiver of professional fundraisers. However, from a PR perspective they’re a key to building relationships with the media and wider public. People (including media) like events, and there is no doubt that charity events generally have a feel good vibe. This means they’re a nice counterpoint for journos, since ‘news’ is usually bad news.
- Your PR resources don’t understand the basics of charity PR. Pretty obvious, but this point needs to be on the list. Explaining the basics of charity PR is another blog post (maybe another book?). In short, you need the story to be about the impact your charity’s work, and make those who you’ve helped the bedrock of your community and the chief outreach ambassadors.
- Your leadership is not committed to raising the organization’s profile in the media. Like anything in business, very little is going to happen without real commitment from senior leaders. If your charity wants to take PR to the next level, you better have a champion at the top. It is not about having a CEO who is super smooth on camera (to some extent that can be taught) but about having someone who understand the relationship between earned media and the bottom line.
I’ll leave it there, but do you have anything to add?