earthdayLeveraging a news item or holiday by connecting your org to its theme is a tried-and-true nonprofit media relations strategy that succeeds at little cost. (See PETA case study).

But there’s more than media coverage to be gained in connecting your organization’s issues with a major news event or holiday. Doing so links your org to what’s already in your supporters’ minds — like this year’s 40th anniversary of Earth Day — so works well to motivate them to give or sign a petition.

Here are just a few of the many strong models of nonprofit marketing campaigns around Earth Day 2010 (via my colleagues active on the Progressive Exchange list serv. Please join us.):

  • The Media & Policy Center’s “Growing Greener Schools” will air on PBS throughout Earth Day week (check local listings).  It’s supported by a terrific new network of green school activists and initiatives, and the community building is reinforced by an e-newsletter.
  • The Green for Life video series was launched by the United Methodist Church and an action alert of Six Things You Can Do this Earth Day shared by United Methodist Women.
  • The Nature Conservancy is organizing action around its Earth Day To-Do List and needs just 110 more signatures via Facebook to reach its goal for its “Be Part of the Solution” petition. Sign it now.

More great Earth Day-related nonprofit fundraising and marketing campaigns here.

Learn more by reviewing these examples of organizations connecting with a news event for nonprofit communications success, and one of a for-profit doing so and treading on your opportunity:

Please share your organization’s strategies for leveraging news events to boost your nonprofit communications in the comments box below. Thanks much!

P.S. Get more in-depth articles, case studies and tools for nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Campaign Marketing Models & Tips, Media Relations and Press | 0 comments
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Several Getting Attention e-update readers had questions in response to this recent article: 11 Steps to Media Relations Success. This one was asked by several nonprofit communicators:

Q: What are typical objectives/measurable outcomes for media relations work?

That's the sticking point for us – with such little staff time and budget for our PR efforts, we want to be smart and targeted with what we do. But we find that we often don't hear back from the releases we send out, and don't have much time to do follow-up phone calls, etc.  So how can we measure our success?

–Kate Lucas, Grants & Communications Coordinator, Common Hope

A:  Here are key outputs to track. They'll enable you to stay the course, if all's well, or correct if you're not getting anywhere.

Track these outputs: Articles placed, links added, online mentions of your organization, number of requests for public appearances, incoming press calls, etc. For example, two articles or one letter to the editor a month, three incoming press calls or 10% increase in daily unique visitors to your website generated by links on other sites. As always, look for trending (steady increases) rather than absolute numbers.

In addition, Kate, tracking coverage helps your organization assess who is talking about you and how you can best respond proactively (before it’s a crisis, enabling you to keep the focus on your messages) rather than reacting in panic. In addition, it helps you gauge the ROI (return on investment) of your media relations work.

I suggest you create a media log to record media relations activities and results. It will assist you in evaluating the contacts/relationships you have with specific media outlets and reporters, and help you identify concerns with particular outlets/reporters so that you can address them (e.g. always misquoted, description of organization incorrect, inappropriate language to explain issue, etc.)

Remember that outcomes (changes in action, awareness, understanding, attitude and/or behavior)of your media relations work are what's ultimately important Of course, these changes (other than action, e.g. driving folks to sign an online petition) are very difficult to measure. 

P.S. Get more in-depth articles, case studies and guides to
nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update.
  Subscribe today.     

Nancy Schwartz in Media Relations and Press, Nonprofit Communications | 1 comment
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How to Retain Readers wChange of E-News Service Provider Need Your Ideas

Readers of the Getting Attention e-update (twice-monthly, in-depth articles and case studies, subscribe here) know that I’m about to change to a new email service provider (ESP).

There’s much more to that process than I ever imagined. With 14,000 readers nurtured over the years, I want to ensure they all continue to get the e-updates:

  • Primary concern — E-updates from the new ESP going into readers’ spam filters! They need to add my email and the ESP’s domain into their approved emails or whitelist to prevent that.
  • Secondary concern — I’m shifting from all-text to HTML format, so the e-update will look radically different. I don’t want readers to delete, note as spam or ignore because of the significant difference in look.

Here’s my approach to motivating readers to do what it takes to ensure uninterrupted receipt of the e-updates:

  1. Craft a series of four emails, to be delivered via the old ESP, on the change and recommended actions.Two to be delivered before the transition, two after.
  2. Write clear and urgent email subject linesAction Required to Maintain Your Subscription
  3. Make the emails as easy-to-digest (and act on) as possible! One sweet reader called me after receiving yesterday’s first in the series, and advised me to make the next much shorter and focused solely on what needs to be done!
  4. Build familiarity with the new look, so readers recognize it on receipt, with a link to the new format.
  5. Supplement emails with social media outreach via Getting Attention blog, Facebook page and twitter feed.

But what else can I do to ensure that readers know what’s coming, and do what they need to do to keep the e-updates coming? Please submit your recommendations in the Comments field below or by emailing me directly. I’ll feature them in a follow up post. Thanks.

P.S.I know that the some readers will hate the change announcement email series and unsubscribe. They would have done so anyway.

Nancy Schwartz in Email and E-Newsletters, Nonprofit Communications | 2 comments
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