The challenge for nonprofits to get their messages out

Those of us in the PR business, both as consultants and in-house, face the challenge of making our stories relevant and newsworthy.  This has always been a difficult process, but today it is even more difficult for marketing and PR people given the media environment.

When virtually all major news outlets are focused on any one story — in this case the presidency — makes breaking through with other news more difficult.  The media will cover what the media want to cover.  It just means that we in the public relations and marketing business have to be more focused and strategic to get the media’s attention.

This is not only for PR consultants, but nonprofits as well.  When they create programs and activities, they need to keep in mind how it will attract media attention.

Again, this is not easy, but it’s the reality of the times in which we live.


How much PR can a nonprofit expect?

As nonprofit PR specialists, we hear the same statement by nonprofit organizations all the time:  “We are the best kept secret in town.”

Every nonprofit believes they don’t get the amount of publicity they deserve.  After all, they do great work, have a dedicated staff and make the world a better place.

And they all are right.

But the reality is there are tens of thousands of nonprofits in America and only a limited number of media outlets.  Even if all media did nothing but wrote about the good works of nonprofits, there wouldn’t be enough space or airtime.

That’s why nonprofits need to take a strategic approach to their media relations and marketing.  It is not a good strategy to flood the press with news releases or pitch emails.  These should be done when stories warrant.  Doing great work is not always going to make CNN.  Doing exceptional work, that is visual, extremely unusual, and has a twist the media look for, will.

It is important for nonprofits to adopt realistic expectations.  No nonprofit, even the largest and most high profile, get their stories in the media every day.  So work to create effective, impactful stories and pitch them correctly and the media will respond.