For many smaller, mid-sized, or community based nonprofit organizations, marketing, public relations, and advertising might not be seen as priorities.  With a smaller budget, many organizations allocate funds towards maintaining a dedicated team of employees, firming up a donor base, recruiting and managing volunteers, and more.

What’s troubling about the aforementioned is that while many nonprofits may have been focused on other aspects of their organization they’ll have neglected something very important – promoting their good work and their continued mission.  By promoting good works done, nonprofit organizations can reap the following benefits:

  • Publicity helps increase organization awareness, thus increasing the likelihood of reaching new donors and/or volunteers.
  • Positive publicity helps an organization protect its reputation if the road gets rocky in the future. By maintaining a positive public sentiment, an organization will have a stronger buffer should anything go awry.
  • Securing publicity, particularly in prominent outlets, can help land a nonprofit organization in front of new audiences that could potentially help them achieve their goals – an opportunity for finding new brand partnerships.

Despite the aforementioned benefits of public relations, not all nonprofit organizations can afford to hire an agency.  That doesn’t mean they need to miss out on potential brand building opportunities, though.  Below are some tips for smaller, more community based nonprofits looking to secure some media for themselves:

  • Maintain an online media room.  A dedicated space on a nonprofit’s website just for members of the media, an online media room will help press contacts find the content that they require with ease – you’ll be showing the media that you respect their unique needs.  Surveys show that over 90% of journalists think it’s important for organizations to have an online newsroom.  A news page can go a long way towards establishing a nonprofit the organization that the press turns to first for comment, insight, and more in a particular space.
  • Establish relationships with the media. Getting to know editors, reporters, and other press contacts is an important part of securing media placements.  By knowing press contacts personally, a nonprofit increases its chances that its spokesperson, or expert, will be quoted in a story or interviewed for a segment.  Once a press contact has a reputable, easy-to-work-with source they’ll keep coming back instead of hunting for new ones – no need for a public relations agency.  Press contacts can be made by responding to queries, attending networking events, pitching an in-house spokesperson, and more.
  • Be available. Similar to the above, by being available nonprofits increase the likelihood of press contacts returning to them for insight, comment, and more.  Once a relationship has been established, whether due to the assistance of a public relations agency or not, a nonprofit is much more likely to secure publicity.  Catering to the needs of the media, who are often quite busy, will go a long way.
  • Produce visual assets. Oftentimes, it isn’t enough for nonprofits to do good work – in order to secure media they need to produce something newsworthy.  With the help of visual content, whether it be a detailed report, infographic, or something else entirely, a nonprofit will have a much more interesting story to present whether pitching the media cold or responding to an inbound request.

Whether a nonprofit organization decides to work with a public relations agency is entirely up to them – budget, needs, and expectations should be evaluated beforehand, particularly if the organization is on the smaller size.  However, whether a nonprofit decides to hire a PR agency or not doesn’t take away from the fact that media is a vital aspect of business.