The Essentials of a Fundraising News Release
Your news release must include all the information needed to persuade the media to inquire about doing a feature story.
You are not writing a complete story for the media to just copy and plop into their newspaper, on their blog or on TV. Your news release needs to contain just enough information to convince the reporter, blogger, editor or producer to call and get the rest of the information. The goal is to entice and persuade them to do a feature story. But you have to make it easy for the editor to do their job with a minimum investment in time and energy. You do this by giving them what they need to do their job.
Your one-page (no longer than 400 words please) news release contains and demonstrates to the media that the appropriate details and information, everything they to do a newsworthy feature story, is readily available upon request. You must paint a word picture that makes it easy to see the end product, and want it, right now.
Here is a checklist of the essential information you should include in your news release:
- Headline: Who does what for whom?
- Who – The name of the organization.
- Why – what will the money be used for?
- How much money is needed – per person/per activity/goals/objectives
- How many people are involved?
- What civic and community leaders or organizations are participating?
- What will the fundraisers be doing?
- Why is it important?
- What’s special about your organization?
- Why is it especially important NOW! What is the crisis? Spell it out.
- Who benefits and how?
- What can people do to help?
- When is the event?
- Where is the event?
- How long is it?
- What will happen when the goal is attained?
- How much is a donation? What incentives are available?
- Name and phone and email of contacts for more information
- Website URL for more information
You can indicate that high quality photography is available of people showing:
- Fundraisers in action
- Organizers headshots and action pictures
- People receiving and experiencing the benefits and the emotional outcome of the organizations efforts.
You should focus on special facts and circumstances to make the story more newsworthy:
- Unusual people, experts, cultures, celebrities, etc.
- How children are involved in the effort
- How special case people are involved in the effort
- Abnormal circumstances warranting that people take notice.
- Facts, figures, data, statistics, and numbers
- Key cultural and emotional hot buttons
- Miserable failure
- Dazzling success
- Unusual legal restrictions affecting fund raising activities
If you are providing notice of a special event, provide specific information:
- Explain who the event is for.
- Explain who will enjoy doing it the most..families, seniors, kids?
Make sure you include a specific call for action. Explain what you want and offer to give them an value-added incentive to get involved with you, such as an interview with someone newsworthy, special access, or great visual effects:
- Offer more information, samples, data, photography, interviews, etc.
- Invite them to attend and cover the event.
- Schedule a special news conference and presentation.
- Offer up people for interviews and unique photo opportunities.
To get the media involved with you in a meaningful way, give them a specific time and place to receive full information. Stage an event or demonstration for their benefit. Give them special attention. Treat them well.
You can even ask them to donate time, energy, money, people to your cause, but if you do, make it easy and fun. Don’t be too demanding of their time.