Not for Profit PR Tips For 2009

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A workbook of low cost PR ideas for not for profit organisations as we head into uncertain economic times

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Not for Profit PR Tips For 2009

  1. 1. 2009 workbook low cost PR ideas for not for profits
  2. 2. <ul><li>The global outlook for 2009 remains uncertain </li></ul><ul><li>But the need continues for not for profit and community groups to promote themselves. Perhaps more so in uncertain times you still need to attract </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New members and volunteers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People to use their services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition for the great work they and their members do </li></ul></ul>the need
  3. 3. how this workbook came about The suggestions that follow on low cost PR ideas for community organisations are a response to an appeal published in the Traffic on Maine blog at http://tinyurl.com/6y56jz in December 2008 PR professionals, not for profit groups and others kindly offered ideas This workbook compiles those ideas after some minor editing and grouping You can see all the original comments by contributors at http://tinyurl.com/6y56jz
  4. 4. work … with a compelling message In good times and bad, many worthwhile organizations vie for attention and dollars. Before embarking on PR your organization must craft its message … who are you and who do you help? Do your services overlap with other groups or not? What makes you unique and stand out? People want to know about you before investing in you. What area of the community is served - pets, homeless, elderly, disabled children, etc. Do the majority of funds go to the intended programs and recipients? Identify the problem and the solution your organization offers. Find out how to connect emotionally with your target audience. How do you affect them in the home, heart, health, pocketbook? Put a face on the population you serve. Tell their story. Describe their situation and how your services help them. If you must present a bleak picture, be sure to provide a solution. People want to hear positive outcomes to things that affect them and their community. So how do your services improve the community’s quality of life?
  5. 5. work with … your board Look at the untapped talent base in your organisation Are there people on your Board or other committees or even amongst your staff and volunteers who can assist you in your communications and marketing effort? Perhaps you have a Board member who knows someone or an agency that may be able to assist your organisation with pro-bono services, helpful advice or hands on help Assess well connected members of your organisation to see how you may leverage off their connections and talent to promote your not for profit One contributor serves on the Board of two non-profits and provides her PR services for free. Often, non-profits want Board members who can donate money. She does not have money to donate but provides tens of thousands of dollars of services resulting in $100K in media coverage. Most organisations cannot afford to buy that kind of coverage which can reach those who do have the money to donate not to mention tap into a volunteer base
  6. 6. work with … your staff Remember that external and internal communication are two sides of the same coin. What happens internally quickly makes its way to the outside world and hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth carries considerable clout The financial crisis has already resulted in job losses in the not for profit sector Keep the employee communication lines open and honesty is critical. If job losses are likely, tell employees sooner rather than later (don’t let the grapevine deliver the news) If you honestly don’t know what’s going to happen, tell people you don’t know what’s going to happen (research shows uncertainty is a killer) and keep them informed – even if that means you have to keep repeating you don’t know If job losses are imminent, let people go with compassion and give them as much support as possible and remember survivors will need support too The grapevine is awash with stories about the human carnage committed by organisations that really ought to know better. Reputations earned for being an ‘employer of choice’ are being reduced to tatters, and an engagement program without sincerity will not convince anybody “we value our people”
  7. 7. Now is a good time for like minded not for profits to see if they can collaborate and work with other community groups more thereby sharing any costs work with …. other not for profits
  8. 8. Look to your existing staff - ask them if they have any friends or relatives who perhaps recently became empty-nesters or who are disabled or confined for a time If those folks believe in your cause you've just gotten yourself a great &quot;sales force&quot; for free This is especially true of they will take marketing/PR language you supply them and drop it into appropriate websites, blogs, forums, article directories and social networking sites Also be sure to “mine&quot; your existing clients – can they help out with your PR? Remember the adage about always start with “picking the low-hanging fruit on the tree first” work with … friends and family
  9. 9. When dealing with advertising agencies, be prepared to haggle over the advertising price or seek editorial opportunities Advertising agencies are also finding the climate a little tough and are in a position to offer better prices work with … advertising agencies
  10. 10. work with … local businesses Work with local businesses to raise funds Encourage your members and others to patronise a local business who supports your cause in either cash or kind See http://tinyurl.com/59cerc for an example of how charities and volunteer groups worked with a pizza parlour to raise funds. It seems everyone is a winner...business, charity and customer
  11. 11. work with … donors Being involved in the community is a viable marketing strategy Non-profits should not wait for donors to come to their door They need to figure out what they need -not always just money -and which companies can help them get that Approach them with a proposal of what they will get for what they give It's a win-win situation
  12. 12. It is good to always try and help the media and not just approach them when you need favours It is not always about sending media releases. Sometimes it may just be about providing information. Journalists are under pressure with less of them on the ground so they are a busy lot with huge ground to cover and tight deadlines PR and communications people probably outnumber journalists nowadays so we might as well be useful and helpful to them. It is tempting to fire off media releases to get a sense of being active and busy in our roles. But I would caution against that temptation lest one gains the reputation of constantly sending rubbish to the already heaving inboxes of journalists The worst mistake is being regarded as an annoying pest by journalists and that impression tends to stick, especially if you keep leaving messages in their voice mail to &quot;follow-up on the media release you e-mailed&quot; etc work with the media …. to earn a reputation
  13. 13. work with the media … to build a relationship It's all about relationships In particular building genuine two-way relationships with a broad range of broadcast, print and internet-based media. Think of PR as the equivalent of a 'contact' sport Cut through is so important in an over saturated information environment. And not easy to achieve. You need to think, act and write differently. Most importantly be strategic
  14. 14. Not-for-profit groups may not have a lot of money for publicity and advertising but they are rich in interesting stories particularly to do with volunteers They also have specialised knowledge in their own fields, so offering your CEOs and managers as spokespersons on specific areas is one way of getting media coverage This is particularly useful if you lead or are seen as an authority in your field. There are lots of ways to approach this but the point is, financial crisis or not, not for profits have an edge! work with the media …with stories and spokespersons
  15. 15. Make sure your material is really well-written and newsworthy and contains all the important information that journalists need especially your contact details so they can get back to you if they are interested in your story Sending huge file attachments to the media is a no-no. Just send your release in e-mail format rather than attaching files that not only eat up kbs/mbs but may also fail to open You don't always need to distribute media releases across the country to every outlet imaginable to get a great result. This is where a great media relationship comes into its own. You may be able to achieve national coverage in one go thereby saving your media talent from doing countless repeat interviews! Write press releases regularly and post them online and through press release distribution services. While these releases might be picked up by journalists, you should be writing them specifically for consumers who will find the releases through the search engines when searching for information work with the media … with good materials and media releases
  16. 16. Work with the media … with databases Many PR agencies maintain media lists rather than creating them from scratch each time Ask for &quot;donated media lists&quot; in return for a &quot;thank you&quot; mention in your news release
  17. 17. work with new media ….and experiment Once you know your message, in addition to media releases, a great way to get your story out – and drive your name up in the search engines – is online. That means you must go far beyond traditional media with your message Set up a profile on Faceboook and investigate social networking sites that target a specific niche Start Twittering and read the free Twitter Handbook at http://www.TwitterHandbook.com See how others are using tools like Twitter eg http://tinyurl.com/5dxdtr Many cities have online opportunities to post stories and photos often through the online version of their daily papers. Invest time in exploring what is available online in your community
  18. 18. work with the media …at events Building relationships with the advertising or newspaper individuals is the best way to get the word out in publication Attending community events and expos as a participant with an informational table, or as a guest with business card in hand, is a great and inexpensive way to reach the public It is also a great way to informally network with media who often have representatives at the community events and expos These informal meetings can often begin or further develop a personal relationship which can only help one's efforts in getting seen and heard .
  19. 19. work at ….being visible Be selective about the events you go to and make an effort to learn a lot from three people you meet at an event (and follow up afterwards) Attend events regularly so you are recognised in your specialty area and always provide referrals if you can Seek local, national and international coverage so that when people 'Google' you they find relevant references Make it easy for the media to contact you and recognise your “talent” through their research. If you can’t assist them provide referrals to someone who can Share good news and publish achievements particularly if they create an interesting history Contact the people on your database at least three times a year to keep your network “alive” Complete as much as possible online. You can do it at any time, it’s free and it’s “permanent.” Do not write anything you don’t want to be published in the public domain Aim for long term relationships, providing help whenever you can. Whilst you may provide help to someone who cannot 'return' the favour, something will come of it from elsewhere
  20. 20. work at ….by saying a lot Word of mouth marketing is the most powerful type of marketing because people will trust people like them before they trust institutions Word of mouth marketing is free, credible and often fast Identify key people who can help spread the word to others about what you do Give them the facts and figures on your topic and let them begin the conversation with those they know Support key people with tools like brochures, links to websites etc Track and measure their impact on others so you identify how to help these key people more
  21. 21. work … by maximizing your efforts Once you take the time and/or money to develop content (recording a video, interviewing someone helped by your agency etc) use it as many places as possible It may have been created for one use, but it can be promoted in many ways For example with an event: you invite people individually but also create a Facebook event, twitter, post it in several places on your Web site, in community calendars etc Then take photos/video at that event and post in all those spots afterward Host all your video on YouTube instead of your local server. It's free. And it can't hurt to have a few more people accidentally see it. It makes your site look more hip when your video appears in the YouTube &quot;frame&quot; Always look to recycle or repurpose anything you spend time on
  22. 22. work …with the long term in mind It's a buyers market and troubled times so the natural reaction is to cut costs, renegotiate contracts and push a bit to get an advantage and save a few bucks. However, that is a short term view of a long term situation People do business with people and they remember what has transpired in the relationship. Troubled times are the best time to cement a relationship and show that you are really in this for the long haul Everyone will remember that you paid an invoice early when their cash flow was short. They will also remember that you kicked them when they were down Think of ways you can help those involved and build the kind of trust that will pay exponential benefits in the long run Finally if you say you will do something with the money/resources you get, then you must do that. Never use it for something else or fail to deliver. Otherwise you get a bad reputation in the marketplace and not only lose your first source of funding but many others
  23. 23. contributors <ul><li>Thanks to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elouise Holmes Volunteering Victoria </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aleeza Zohar Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Albert Maruggi Provident Partners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joan Stewart The Publicity Hound </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kathy Young Healthy Girls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sue Ellson Newcomers Network Doug </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terry Fallis Inside PR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paul Hartunian Free Publicity Tips </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tami Belt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hohls Blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Laura Fragiacomo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rosanne Gain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… .and of course anonymous </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Free Resources Traffic on Maine http://mainestreet1.blogspot.com/ The Publicity Hound http://www.PublicityHound.com Free Publicity Tips http://www.FreePublicityTips.com Newcomers Network http://www.newcomersnetwork.com/ Inside PR http://tinyurl.com/7fcv4r Marketing Edge http://www.providentpartners.net/blog /

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