The most important part of your fundraiser is getting people to contribute, and it’s your job to inform and convince them. Although 70% of donations typically come from your network, that doesn’t mean you should give up on the other 30%. If you think your cause is newsworthy, it might be worth doing some press outreach to see if the media will cover your story.
Here are some tips on how to reach out to journalists:
- Write A Press Release
- Summarize in a compelling way. Your press release is similar to the story on your fundraising page, also known as your pitch. Look for a compelling angle that would hook journalists and give them a story idea. Make sure to include the most important and interesting facts. A press release should not be longer than a page, should include your contact information, and of course, the URL for your fundraising site.
- Be sure to emphasize your success. If you’re writing a press release after you’ve built some momentum for your fundraiser, make sure you write about how much you’ve already raised, how much more is left, and reasons why people have been showing support. People like to give to causes that other people are supporting—this creates a positive social chain reaction.
- Create a Media Target List
- Do your research. You don’t want to send random pitch emails to journalists who don’t cover your beat. Do your homework and try to pin-point who is most likely to write about a story like yours and then do your best to find their direct contact information. Most journalists are on Twitter and LinkedIn, so if they don’t make their email readily available, this gives you more ways to contact them.
- Start local. If you live in a small town or the suburbs, look for the local publication that reaches everyone in the area. You could pitch to them as a local interest piece and leverage your personal story.
- Press begets press. Already received some press coverage? Be sure to include links to the other coverage in your pitch email to validate that your story is newsworthy.
- Time to Pitch!
- Draft a pitch email. To begin, you’ll create an email template that can be used for all of your pitches. The bulk of your pitch should introduce yourself, your fundraiser, and the compelling story behind it all. However, each message has to be tailored to each journalist so your pitch doesn’t feel like a mass email. You can appeal to the journalist by explaining how your fundraiser relates to the topics they typically write about.
- Be sure to follow-up. It may be difficult to receive responses in the beginning, but don’t get discouraged. It isn’t always because your cause isn’t compelling enough. Journalists get countless pitches each day, so you need to be persistent if you want to get your story out there. Be sure to follow-up to your initial emails to give them a little reminder in case the first message got lost in their inbox!