Why Nonprofits Need Press Releases
Newspapers may be going out of business, but the online news site continues to draw traffic in droves. This is the main reason that press releases relating to nonprofit work are as relevant as ever. Since the press release, like the news, can be posted online, they not only draw media attention but also attract potential donors and volunteers to the nonprofit’s website. By having press releases out there for general consumption, you may even draw general reader attention to your cause, gaining new and valuable supporters.
Marketing experts not only suggest that nonprofits publish press releases, but that they should publish them frequently. In order to make this an effective strategy it is worthwhile to develop a specific strategy for this purpose. For instance, if the nonprofit in question is a car donation program such as Kars For Kids, you may want to issue a press release each time a vintage car is donated, describing the car and the donor.
In terms of developing a general guideline for when to send out a press release, here are some suggestions of notable events suited to a press release:
- On the development of a new program
- On finding new solutions to old problems
- When you carry out a specific aim or serve a unique sector
- When you publish a study or perform a survey
- When the CEO or other significant nonprofit staff members speak at a conference
- On winning an award
- When you develop a new product or put out a new publication
- On receiving a significant grant or gift
- Upon reaching a fundraising milestone
- When volunteers are sent to offer emergency aid
- When a newsworthy item is related to your cause and your nonprofit can offer expertise on the subject
Once you’ve written your press release, you want to distribute it as widely as possible. For this purpose you should make use of an online distribution system that will send your release to the widest possible audience. Such distribution services aren’t generally expensive. Even if you limit distribution to a small geographic area, having the press release on the website of your distribution service will raise your placement on major search engines like Google.
The last distribution service, above, has a specific focus on the environment, human rights, social justice, and civil liberties. Do write and distribute press releases as often as you can. These provide a reason for Google to crawl your website and to create an index of all your press releases – as non-profits like those run by Elie Hirschfeld do.
On your website, make sure to post your press releases in reverse chronological order. It’s also a fantastic idea to take the time to provide groupings of press releases according to topic or keyword. Make sure to use search engine optimization techniques in crafting your press releases so your words won’t get lost in cyberspace.
By posting frequent press releases you’ll become known as a nonprofit that offers material for reporters looking for nonprofit stories to write about. They’ll write up your nonprofit, sending a whole bunch of new people running to look you up on your website. It’s all about the famous six degrees of separation. Put something out there, and someone you know will send it to someone they know and so forth and so on. Press releases are a smart and practical way to spread the word about your work.