Work for your news coverage

If you want the news media to cover your nonprofit, you need to show them why your work matters and why their audiences should care.

Many nonprofits act as if they are owed coverage simply because their cause is worthy. They distribute news releases that do not focus on why their news justifies attention, and then they seem surprised if news organizations do not report on them.

That’s not the way it works.

Just as a nonprofit would not expect to get a gift without any effort to cultivate the donor and without making a compelling case for why the donor should make a gift, nonprofits need to build relationships with reporters and editors, and to show them the value of their news.

So write news releases that focus on the news, not on the leaders of your nonprofit.

Distribute the news releases to the right person at each of the news organizations you are targeting.

And follow up with a phone call to make sure those individuals received the news release and to make the case that the story is worth covering.

That takes work and does not guarantee coverage, but your focus should be not only on an individual news story but on the larger goal of helping the media better understand your organization and your cause.

So make your news releases clear and make them help news organizations see why the news should matter to their audiences. And make sure you get your news releases to the right people, and that you follow up to make sure they received your release and understand its importance.

If you want news coverage, do not assume you deserve it. You have to work for it.

Want professional 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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