Raising your nonprofit’s voice

We hear quite a bit about making your voice heard. But that’s on a personal level. Your nonprofit also has a voice and it can be heard through your public relations (PR) and marketing strategy.

What does this mean? It means not only telling the world what it is your nonprofit does, but how your nonprofit is making life better for the people it serves.

This is especially true if one of your main objectives is fundraising. Donors support nonprofits for many different reasons. One is the mission resonates with them. The other is they see their dollars at work; not in nice office space or lots of staff, but in the community.

Decide what it is you want your nonprofit’s voice to say, and then create a PR plan that says it effectively and loudly.

Nonprofit PR checklist

If your nonprofit wants to win the public relations/marketing game as you compete with other nonprofits that essentially serve the same audiences, there are some must-haves.

Here they are:

  1. Spokesperson — The ideal spokesperson is the CEO of executive director. Assure he/she is trained in media relations and can think quickly.
  2. Visionary — Every nonprofit needs a visionary. They often are those who start the nonprofit. If your nonprofit wants to grow, it needs someone to articulate where it is going.
  3. Engagement — Nonprofits flourish when they engage those whom they serve as well as donors.
  4. Success — Studies have shown that people donate to organizations that are succesful. Craft your image as a nonprofit that is making a change for the better. Donors want their dollars going to make a difference, not getting an organization out of debt.
  5. Relevance — Be relevant. Operating a nonprofit as it did 10 years ago does not attract donors or media attention. Keep up with technology and the rapidly changing world.

Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon Out

If there ever was a cable news rivalry, it was FOX’s Tucker Carlson vs. CNN’s Don Lemon. At least on air, they had nothing but disdain for one another. Carlson would ofter play clips of Lemon saying something he thought to be ridiculous and then giggling.

Lemon had the same opinion of Carlson, labeling him a “conspiracy theorist” as did so many others.

In short, the two didn’t like each other, and didn’t hide that fact. However, today within an hour of each other, both are out of a job.

Broadcasters and news commentators come and go but they usually don’t make news. However in our personality-driven world where news persons are the news, who is on air is often the story; because of the narrative they espouse.

On the other hand, maybe these events are a foreshadowing of news, even cable news, getting back to their original mission — reporting news. In the last decade the lines between news and commentary have become blurred to the point where we can’t tell them apart. And that’s not good.

We can only hope for the days when newscasters report the news and commentators give their views and the two are open and honest about who they are and what their roles are.

How Crisis PR Supports the Litigation Strategy

Crisis management public relations (PR) is a critical aspect of any organization’s overall risk management strategy. When a crisis occurs, such as a product defect, a cyber-attack, or a workplace accident, it can quickly escalate into a legal matter. In such a scenario, the organization needs to work closely with their legal team to navigate the legal landscape effectively. Crisis management public relations can play a significant role in supporting litigation by providing vital information, mitigating reputational damage, and developing a strong legal strategy.

Crisis PR can support litigation by providing critical information that can be used as evidence in court. For example, if a company faces a product recall, the crisis management team can collect data on the defect, its cause, and its impact on customers. This information can be used by the legal team to build a strong case against the organization’s liability. Moreover, the crisis management team can help identify potential witnesses and provide them with legal representation if needed.

It also can support litigation is by mitigating reputational damage. When a crisis occurs, the organization’s reputation can be severely impacted. Negative media coverage can result in public outrage and consumer backlash, which can hurt the organization’s bottom line. The crisis management team can work proactively to manage the organization’s reputation, through crisis communication strategies such as issuing press releases, conducting media interviews, and engaging with stakeholders on social media. Effective reputation management can help mitigate negative perceptions of the organization, which in turn can reduce the impact of litigation.

Crisis PR management public relations can also support litigation by developing a strong legal strategy. Crisis management professionals are skilled in understanding the complex legal landscape of a crisis, and can work with the organization’s legal team to develop a legal strategy that is aligned with the organization’s overall crisis management plan. By collaborating closely with the legal team, the crisis management team can help ensure that the organization’s response to the crisis is effective, efficient, and legally defensible.

In conclusion, crisis management marketing is a critical aspect of an organization’s overall risk management strategy. When a crisis escalates into a legal matter, crisis management professionals can play a significant role in supporting litigation. By providing critical information, mitigating reputational damage, and developing a strong legal strategy, crisis management public relations can help organizations navigate the legal landscape effectively, and minimize the impact of a crisis on the organization’s reputation and bottom line.

Working With a PR Firm. Is it Worth it?

Nonprofit organizations face unique challenges in terms of public relations. They need to build and maintain a positive reputation among their stakeholders, which can be a daunting task. Working with a public relations firm can help nonprofits to effectively communicate their message, increase their visibility, and build stronger relationships with their stakeholders.

Firstly, public relations firms have the expertise to develop effective communication strategies that can help nonprofits reach their target audience. They can help organizations to identify the most appropriate communication channels and craft messages that resonate with their stakeholders. This can be especially important for nonprofits that are trying to reach a wider audience or communicate complex issues to the public.

Secondly, a public relations firm can help nonprofits to build and maintain a positive reputation. Nonprofits need to be seen as trustworthy and reliable by their stakeholders, including donors, volunteers, and the general public. A public relations firm can help to develop and implement strategies that build trust and credibility, such as highlighting the organization’s impact and success stories.

Thirdly, public relations firms can help nonprofits to increase their visibility in the media. Media coverage can be a powerful way to raise awareness of an organization’s mission and increase its support base. Public relations firms can help to identify newsworthy stories, pitch them to relevant media outlets, and provide support for media interviews and appearances.

Finally, working with a public relations firm can help nonprofits to build stronger relationships with their stakeholders. A public relations firm can provide valuable insights into the perspectives and concerns of stakeholders, and help nonprofits to develop strategies that address these concerns. This can help to build trust and loyalty among stakeholders, and ultimately lead to increased support for the organization’s mission.

Using Fundraising Strategies for Nonprofit Marketing


Nonprofit organizations rely heavily on fundraising to achieve their goals and continue their important work. To achieve fundraising goals, nonprofit organizations must implement effective marketing strategies. Marketing for nonprofit organizations can help them increase their reach, connect with potential donors, and inspire them to support their cause.

The first step in marketing for nonprofit organizations is identifying their target audience. Nonprofits should have a clear understanding of who their potential donors are, their interests, and their preferred method of communication. This will help them tailor their marketing efforts to reach their intended audience and increase their chances of success.

Nonprofit organizations should also focus on creating a compelling story that inspires people to take action. Donors want to understand the impact their donations will have on the organization’s mission and the people it serves. Nonprofits should communicate their goals, challenges, and successes in a way that resonates with their audience and inspires them to support their cause.

Social media can be a powerful tool for nonprofit organizations to reach potential donors and raise awareness about their cause. By creating a strong online presence, nonprofits can connect with supporters and build a community around their mission. They can use social media platforms to share their story, post updates on their progress, and engage with their audience.

Nonprofit organizations should also consider using events as a marketing tool to achieve their fundraising goals. Hosting events, such as galas, auctions, and charity walks, can help nonprofits raise awareness about their cause and connect with potential donors in a more personal way. Events also provide an opportunity for nonprofits to thank their supporters and build relationships with them.

In conclusion, marketing for nonprofit organizations is a crucial aspect of achieving their fundraising goals. By identifying their target audience, creating a compelling story, utilizing social media, and hosting events, nonprofits can increase their reach, connect with potential donors, and inspire them to support their cause. Effective marketing can help nonprofits build a sustainable funding base, allowing them to continue their important work and make a difference in the world.

How political can a nonprofit get?

We are not lawyers, so this is not to be construed as legal advice, but many nonprofits find themselves tempted to side with a political candidate or cause. They do this for obvious reasons. First, nonprofits have missions and often those missions cross over into the political arena. Sometimes laws will either allow or disallow a nonprofit from carrying on their work.

But any 501 c 3 organization knows, or should know, that it is prohibited from being a political vehicle. Because it takes advantage of tax-exempt status, it is mandated to function for the “public good.” And they are not permitted to determine what the public good is or what it means.

Hence the quandry. We have had many nonprofit clients hold galas and all of a sudden a political candidate will pop in to meet the crowd and some even want to say a few words. Even gala attendees are voters, and if a candidate can align him or herself with a cause, they will go for it.

On the line is not the candidate, but the organization. If an organization invites a candidate to express their political positions, they are smart to also give their opponent the same opportunity.

It is also important to remember that there is a difference between a tax-exempt organization from giving a candidate a platform, and endorsing a candidate. Once there is an endorsement, then it becomes an entirely different situation.

Most nonprofits are aware of this IRS rule and play it smart and legal. Some, on the other hand, believe nobody will know and they are so small nobody will care, even the government.

We say, why take a chance. Regardless of how close an executive director or CEO of a not for profit organization is, when election season comes, run it by your lawyers and play it safe.

Press at nonprofit galas

Every nonprofit does events. Events are a great way to show your supporters what you do and how you are changing the world for the better.

At the same time, every nonprofit believes what they do is so newsworthy that the press will come out in the evening and cover their event.

Often they do, particularly if celebrities are involved.

While we have an enviable track record for press turnout at our client galas, we at the same time know that press is not, and should not, be the primary objective of a fundraising event.

Your target audience is people who are engaged with your organization, and your financial supporters. Those are the people who will attend your event and write checks. Having camera crews there adds to the glitz, but in a media world where news items are 15 seconds long at best, in more cases than not you are not going to grab attention from viewers who won’t remember your organization’s name, and who probably get most of their news from social media anyway.

Keep your eye on the end game. That’s raising money and deepening the involvement of your core supporters who will spread the word to others with similar values and with the financial means to lend a hand.

Promote your events on social media which is just as effective, if not more because it is so targeted. If you get on the evening news that’s great to repost, but should not be the primary focus of your fundraiser.

Nonprofit public relations and marketing

Is it possible to attract media coverage for a nonprofit fundraiser event? I ask the question because every nonprofit holds fundraisers, whether in-person or online, and everybody wants media coverage.

The harsh reality is that media turnout in a large market like Los Angeles for an evening fundraising event is difficult unless it has one or more critical elements. Foremost, nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles need to understand that the city is showbiz oriented. For the media to send a crew, or a reporter and photographer, they want to show pictures that will catch their readers’ attention — and in L.A. that usually means A-list actors.

As a PR firm that has managed dozens of events for nonprofits, we speak from experience. We also believe that every nonprofit does great work. So while promoting the work of a nonprofit is admirable and what we do, that alone is not what will make the media come out.

There simply are too many nonprofits holding too many events for them all to be covered. And this is especially true in the post-pandemic era.

So if your event can’t turn out Brad Pitt, there are other ways to get media attention by creating a strategy that ties your work to current events in the news. Also, don’t forget post-event coverage. While media may not spend the money to send out a crew (yes it costs a station money to cover events) sending them video and photos after the event, which costs them nothing to run is something to consider.

And there are other techniques. Working with a firm that has put on numerous events, that comes with a fresh perspective and creative ideas, can be invaluable.

When is a crisis a crisis?

Crisis public relations firms are often retained to do two things. Either keep their client out of the news, or help their client respond to negative allegations.

The key to an effective crisis PR strategy is timing. If an organization believes there is a threat to their reputation, they want to be ready. We’ve all heard the phrase, “get ahead of the story.” But in reality, many impending crises never happen.

So it becomes a bit of a dilemma. Do you go out there are defend yourself before anything happens, or do you wait? Talking too quickly can put you in the position of creating a story that hasn’t — and perhaps won’t occur. Obviously, nobody wants that.

Having a solid PR strategy that takes all scenarios into account is step one. Finding the right balance of being ready and moving forward when the need becomes apparent is the best strategy unless a legal case has been filed and you know for certain it will blow up.

That’s what PR firms do. Bring a clear perspective and vision to a situation and formulate the right PR strategy that protects their clients’ reputations while not inadvertently creating a crisis that never would have happened.

Nonprofit events: in-person or virtual?

Now that the world is coming out of the pandemic, so are nonprofit events. After two years when all events by charity organizations were moved online due to COVID, does it make sense to make them in person again?

While most organizations bemoaned having to cancel their events and doing them on Zoom, many are noticing the advantages they enjoyed as well. Let’s face it. Serving dinner at a fancy hotel is expensive. A good percentage of ticket prices and sponsorship money always went to the venue and the caterer. Then there were the many other costs — decorations, video, programs, flowers, music, staffing, parking. Too many well-meaning nonprofits did annual gala after annual gala only to find that after six months of planning, they were left with much less than they need or want.

This is not to say there isn’t a time and place for real life galas. There is something warm and special about an organization’s supporters, friends and staff getting together, meeting, talking and sharing an evening together. No Zoom event can replace that. But what virtual fundraisers taught us is nonprofits can do a great job putting on a fundraising gala while raising more money. If you knock out all the costs, and extend the reach by going virtual there is a place for an online gala as well.

What is important to remember is supporters don’t attend a gala for the chicken dinner. In fact, many hate it and avoid galas. There are just too many. Instead, focus on your organization’s mission and message. That’s what will being in the money.

And your supporters may surprise you by giving more because they can do it from the comfort of their living room and don’t have to put on a necktie or gown.