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Eva Astreinidou

Content Writer

Charities Aid Foundation

How your charity can catch the eye of local media

20 November 2019

Getting your charity’s great work into your local newspaper or on a website, radio or television station can be a great boost, but where do you even start to grab their attention?

In this piece, we list a few tips to try and spread the word about all you do.

1  Tell them about it! 

The first step to getting media coverage is to make sure the media in your local area know that you exist! Email or call your local newsrooms and let them know that you have a great story about the real people who benefit from your charity’s work. It doesn’t have to be a fancy press release, just a few basic facts can do the trick, pique their interest and prompt them to call. The key ingredient is real people.

Armed with real stories of success, you can also link up with the Giving Tuesday movement to reach even more people with the work that you do.

Tiny Tickers and their Test for Tommy campaign on Giving Tuesday is a great example. The charity, which focuses on congenital heart diseases in babies, was able to smash its appeal target six-fold by promoting its campaign to buy a new scanner to detect possible heart defects  through the power of Tommy’s story. 

They were able to raise enough to buy six of the life-saving machines by promoting the campaign to a global audience on Giving Tuesday. Tommy’s story reinforced why the appeal was needed, and the life-saving benefit that success could bring to real families and their tiny babies.
tiny tickers

2  Release your inner shutterbug

Photos are invaluable for local newspapers – it’s always a challenge for budget and staff-stretched papers to find good quality photos week in and week out with a deadline looming. The news reporters working in your local area might be on the lookout for a front cover photo more often than you think.

So if you host an event, make sure to take plenty of photos that have people in them, and are the best quality you can produce. If you have an amateur snapper among your volunteers, perhaps ask them if they’d do the honours and make a real effort to come away from the event with a selection of pictures.

Email them over to the local newsroom along with some basic facts about your event (where was it? when was it? who was there? why were you doing it? how do they contact you for more information?) – it might just land you some coverage.


Here’s a sample email:

 

  

Dear News Editor,

Please find attached some great photos from our recent charity “Pooch beauty pageant” in Shropshire. We are the local branch of the [insert charity name] and we thought that celebrating our favourite four-legged friends was a great way to tell people more about what we do. We raised more than £200 on the morning (Oct 12th) and more than 300 people came along to meet the ‘pooches’, pick up some [insert charity name] goodies and support a great cause.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to know anything more.

 

3  Get active on social media

If your email to local media doesn’t get a response, be sure to use Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram to share images and information on your events. Remember tag the news outlets. 

Tagging your location also helps. You never know, news reporters could be browsing through social media and use that information for an upcoming edition.

They may get in touch to ask for permission to use the photos, so remember to check your incoming messages and get back to them as soon as you can.


4  Piggyback on relevant issues

Have you seen a spike in your services because of circumstances in your local area? It could be homelessness, or even a spike in litter on your streets. Is there a national story about a need for services for refugees and you are a local charity that works in that cause area?

If so, contact local media and offer them a local perspective for their story. It could be a welcome addition.


5   Shout about your achievements 

If you are in touch with a local reporter for any reason, make good use of the moment. Be sure to send them a follow-up email that thanks them for their interest and include a short explanation of the projects your charity delivers and the impact they have on the local community. Let them know that you’re happy to talk to them, and find them good examples of your charity’s work in action.

 

6   Get sharing

Finally, when you do get those local (or national) media stories, be sure to share them widely with your supporters – it’s a great way to share your successes and could boost fundraising.

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