Make your own media mailing list

To help get the word out about your nonprofit, create a list of contacts in the news media, as well as bloggers and people at organizations — such as nonprofits or foundations involved with your issue — that might publish your news.

Putting that list together may take a little time, but it’s an investment worth making.

When you have news such as a new program, partnership, gift, executive or board member at your nonprofit, you will want to create a news release that tells the story.

You also will want to distribute that news to media outlets or other organizations that can reach the audience you are targeting.

But now, before you have news to report, create a list of names and contact information for people at those news outlets and organizations who should receive your news releases.

Assign an employee, volunteer or intern to put that list together. The task would involve visiting the websites of the news outlets and organizations you want to reach, looking 0n each website for the staff directory, and identifying the reporter, editor, news producer or communications officer whose title indicates the person would be the appropriate one to receive your news releases.

Create a spread sheet that includes the name of each organization, and the names, titles, email addresses and phone numbers of staff members who will get the releases.

If the name and contact information of the appropriate person is not readily available on the website, phone the organization and ask for the name and contact information of the person who should get news releases.

You also should create a mailing list that includes the email addresses of all the media contacts you have identified.

Then, when you have a news release, use your mailing list to distribute it, and use your spreadsheet to keep track of who gets it and whether they run it.

You also might follow up with phone calls to make sure each media outlet actually received the release, and then check the websites to see if the media outlets publish your news.

Finally, be sure to keep your media list up to date. News organizations and other groups can undergo a lot of staff turnover, so check periodically to make sure the names and contact information on your spread sheet and mailing list are current.

If you want to get the word out about your nonprofit, a media mailing list can make a big difference.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

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