Match your Communications activities to your goals. Highlight select programs by consistently featuring stories about the participants or clients, services, staff, allied partners and results. To ensure consistency, coordinate with colleagues across the group for a steady flow of new content.
Make a list of photos to be taken at an event, as if you plan a wedding. Prepare to stage photos with the management team, Boardmembers, key staff and special guests. Hover near the principals, with the photographer ready to aim and shoot. Keep groups to a maximum of five people. Note the name of anyone who is not immediately familiar, to identify the person for a caption and perhaps share the photo with the attendee later.
Why should a board member or volunteer care about news? The president of a foundation once remarked, “I give money to nonprofit groups that I’ve heard of. One way I hear about your organization is in the news.”
Because many nonprofits with a budget of less than $2 million do not have a professional to manage contact with the press, it is the responsibility of the board — and an opportunity for volunteers — to support the organization in its media outreach. Otherwise, multiple opportunities for fundraising, promotion and collaboration might be missed, as discussed in When Nonprofits Fail to Communicate.
How might you get a politician’s attention? Put your business or organization (and yourself) on the leader’s radar screen BEFORE you ask for any assistance. Attend a program the elected official is hosting or look for her or him at a community gathering. At the event, speak to an aide about a shared interest or concern, then ask to be introduced to the politician. Write a letter commending her for introducing legislation. Offer positive feedback on his stance on an issue in the community. As with any sales outreach, it’s best to have interacted with the individual prior to making the pitch.
Who do you know that could use a helping hand? Look at your list of former clients to identify someone who might value a thoughtful introduction. She or he might benefit from a connection to a vendor, prospective customer, employee or donor. Plant the seed with an e-introduction that describes the two parties succinctly and their shared interest. Then step back to watch the relationship bloom.
Who do you know who knows Someone Special? You probably abhor name-droppers, yet someone you know has a contact who might refer you on to the next person whom you’re eager to meet. LinkedIn offers various ways to approach this issue, via searches among connections and by companies. Best of all, locating a person among its 300 million members will yield the names of the intermediary contacts who will put you on her or his radar screen. Everyone knows someone worth knowing. You don’t know who that person is until you ask.
Interns can catch the story idea you pitch. Interns have to get approval of story ideas from editors, as do staff reporters. Interns might even be more invested in the story, because it offers them a chance to shine and stand on their own two legs. Consider how an intern may open the door to another contact at the same publication.
A photograph is worth 1,000 words. People in the picture are an engaging testimonial in your brochures, on your website, in media outreach and in your emails.
An active photo grabs attention. Focus on a staff member interacting with a client or a visitor, who is seen from the back or in profile.
Always Be Celebrating Success. Make sure your contract or engagement letter allows you to possibly mention your work with the client in future media outreach and marketing activity. This way you don’t need to ask for permission after the project is completed.