PRontheGO: PR experts share their best use cases for non-profits
We asked leading PR and marketing consultants with expertise in marketing not-for-profits /charities to provide their best use cases for founders of charitable organizations. What are your best tips on generating publicity for a non-profit? What are great examples of social media tactics? Which (new) platforms are out there to promote nonprofits? Why and how should founders apply to Google Ad Grants for nonprofits? Here are their answers:
Press releases are an essential tool to getting your non-profit’s name out to the public.
“One of the best ways to generate publicity for a non-profit is through the publication of press releases. Press releases that are submitted to local news sources in your target geographic area are an essential tool to getting your non-profit’s name out to the public. The press release can cover anything from why you started the non-profit, to a gala, race, or fundraiser coming up. Another way to generate publicity is by encouraging your employees to volunteer in their community. Many communities are small and will notice even the smallest efforts to bolster the surrounding town.
When it comes to social media, there are a number of different tactics that can help boost brand awareness for your non-profit. I always recommend creating Facebook Events, boosting posts, and running paid ad campaigns when you are gearing up for a fundraiser or event. Try developing and incorporating a branded hashtag within your posts, or make a weekly post that is unique to your non-profit. One of my clients would post a picture of their founder once a week and their audience would come up with a caption for the picture. You can get as creative as you want with this! Don’t forget that users who follow non-profit organizations on social media are very active, so make sure you have a dedicated individual on your team to respond to questions, comments, or concerns.
Aside from Facebook, many non-profits will also utilize Instagram and Twitter. Instagram is mostly used to share images from recent events or to show the community what the non-profit has been up to. Twitter can be used to update your followers during an event, such as a road race or an auction. Create posts telling your users what your fundraising goal is, your progress towards that goal, and making shoutouts to donors and sponsors.
If you’re looking for even more brand exposure, Google Ad Grants are a great opportunity. Each month, Google will provide you with a set amount of ad spend in order to promote your non-profit. You can use these to recruit more volunteers or attract more donations. All you need to do is see whether or not your non-profit qualifies, and you could get up to $10,000 a month to advertise your organization!”
— Audrey Strasenburgh, SEO Strategist at LogoMaker and former SEO consultant for a large non-profit organization in New England whose goal was to raise awareness and funds for children’s cancer treatments.
Create your own content on your blog.
1) Leverage the news cycle — if there’s a major event, figure out how it applies to the work you do and make sure that you’re responding on social media accordingly. Just be sure to be cautious around tragic events — as that may reflect poorly on your brand.
2) Focus on owned channels — since journalists are constantly bombarded with requests, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you are creating your own content on your blog and social channels. You can always reference back to relevant posts if your next journalist pitch.
3) Data’s great — if you have any data available that you collect as a non-profit, be sure to share that information in pitches and on social media. Visualizations are a great way to share a story and generate excitement.
— Nick Loui, CivicFeed
Solid messaging helps with publicity.
“My best success story for Google Ad Grants was securing it for a homeless nonprofit in Portland, Oregon. Then using the YouTube celebrity “Kid President” SEO keywords for “socktober” to get a bunch of in-kind sock donations, financial giving and new volunteers to the nonprofit.
Do good. Have a clear message that you can tell in less than 3 minutes about the work you are doing and publicity should come naturally. Those that struggle have a hard time explaining what they do or over complicate it. Solid messaging helps with publicity.
Global Giving seems to be a growing platform.”
- Jenna Forstrom, PR Advisor for M’lup Russey, a Cambodian nonprofit working for orphans and vulnerable children.
Partner with a local brick and mortar business
“A great way for a non-profit organization to generate free media coverage about its work and also to raise money to support its efforts is to partner with a local brick and mortar business for a fundraising event. The participating business would schedule a day to earmark a portion of on premises sales as a donation to the non-profit organization. This creative fundraising initiative can be promoted — for free — via local newspapers and local news websites as well as the social media channels and email databases of the participating business.
This easy to execute idea not only delivers community awareness and a new stream of revenue for the non-profit organization, it also positions the local business partner as a valuable and contributing member of the community.”
— Rafe Gomez, co-owner of VC Inc. Marketing, a provider of sales support media coverage services for organizations around the world
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