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Marketing and Public Relations Efforts

As a non-profit organization you need to keep your message in the public eye in the same way that for-profit businesses do. There are many free and reduced fee opportunities for non-profits so always ask if there is a non-profit discount and use free publicity whenever you can. Some ways you can accomplish this is by enlisting staff, volunteers, and other goodwill ambassadors of your organization to do the following.

 

Press Releases

This is a free resource that can have the most impact on getting your organization well-known in your community. Newspapers, magazines, and many online sites generate their articles and news stories from press releases. Make sure your non-profit is taking advantage of this for free publicity. Press releases should be written to introduce new services and programs, upcoming events, staff changes, and anything else that is "news worthy" that is happening within your organization.

Make sure your press release follows the standard format and that it is clearly written, free of grammatical errors and typos and provides valuable information. Sample Press Release. Many times media sources will do feature stories on organizations that submit press releases on a regular basis. Press releases keep your name in front of those with connections to the public so don't overlook this very important source for awareness.

Feature Articles - Guest Writing

Another free resource that should not be overlooked. Community newspapers and magazines are always on the lookout for interesting feature stories and guest writing opportunities. Your non-profit is the community expert on your mission so write some articles and contact your local media sources.

Every non-profit has community service information and providing free articles to local media sources can keep your name in front of the public. For example, an animal rescue organization could send timely articles highlighting why during the summer heat pets should not be left in a hot car, holiday related topics such as how to calm your pet during fireworks, dangers of toxic houseplants, and why pets should always wear an id tag - even indoor house cats.

Chamber of Commerce Memberships

Most Chamber of Commerce organizations offer reduced rate memberships for nonprofits. Take advantage of this and join your local Chamber. Businesses use Chamber opportunities to network and expand their business and nonprofits can benefit in the same ways. Attend ongoing functions and send a letter, postcard or other marketing piece to new Chamber members informing them of your services. Most Chambers announce their new members in their monthly newsletters complete with addresses and contact information. There are many networking opportunities available and it's the best way to reach the business community.

Networking Groups

Most communities have many networking groups for business members. Join these groups that meet on a weekly or monthly basis and be sure to take your business cards and brochures. Some networking groups do charge fees so be sure to see if there are non-profit memberships available. 

Think of marketing your non-profit the way you would any business and advertise and publicize it in the same manner. Donors are  clients helping to support your services and they should be treated like valuable customers.

 


Some Notes About Public Relations And Marketing

Fundraising and public relations go hand in hand. PR will project the image of your organization into your community. This professional image will in turn attract donors and volunteers to your organization.

The following documents will be key to your efforts and should be compiled in such a way that board members, staff, and key volunteers can get the information they need at any time.

Don't forget to visit our Discounted Services page for discounts on printing and other services that can help your efforts.

Press Packet. This is given to prospective donors, foundations, corporations and the media. It will contain various papers and should include information on who you are, what you do, fundraising goals, large supports (such as grants you have received), list of board members, and brochures, business cards and other printed materials.

Press. This should include PR clippings, articles and documents that have been in print about your agency. Many times organizations have key articles framed and placed in a facility and office to further show how popular service are within the community.

Organization Success. A one page, bulleted list showing what the agency has done over the past 5 years (if applicable, how the organization determines they have been successful, how many people were served, and any outside recognition you have received.

Brochure or Other Printed Pamphlet. This should highlight key programs and services, history of the organization, mission statement, and how someone can support the efforts by donating or volunteering.

People File. Include a short page on key agency people such as the executive director, board members, advisory councils, staff members, and key volunteers. Also include media clippings for articles that may have appeared about these individuals.

Press Releases. Always keep a binder detailing every press release, guest article, or contact made with media outlets. Over the years it will be important for establishing deeper contacts and drawing inspiration for future press releases.

Photograph File. This could include photos of key personnel and volunteers, board members, special events, annual volunteer parties, and any other photo opportunity. This will be especially helpful when submitting press releases as photographs are always a welcome addition for a press submission. 


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