Posts Tagged ‘PR’

The problems that you are trying to solve, and the work that your NFP does in your community, defines why your organisation exists. Your organisation’s values, what you stand for, believe in, and are passionate about, define who you are. When creating your NFP’s mission, you should take elements from both to create a statement that inspires you, your team, and your other supporters to make a positive difference.

The following suggestions can help you create a mission statement that motivates your stakeholders and community to work with your organisation for the good of everyone! Additional tips are included to help you use your new mission statement for the best effect.

Develop Your Mission

When creating your mission, you should think about both your values and your vision for your organisation. To do this, you need to first clearly define the problems or issues that your NFP wants to solve, along with the steps that you will take to achieve your mission.

Don’t just talk about what you want to do but think about the way that you want to accomplish your objectives. What actions are in keeping with your values, and which aren’t? How do you expect to treat your supporters and others in your community? Define the lines that you won’t cross.

Both Vision and Values Influence the Mission

Once you have your NFP’s value and vision clearly in focus, you can then begin to write your mission statement. If you are still having a hard time connecting with what it is that you do, and why your organisation and its work matters, consider surveying your service beneficiaries, along with your staff, volunteers, donors, and other stakeholders. Find out from them what they think of when they hear your organisation’s name.

Start a Fire with Your Mission

Choose your words carefully when defining your mission. As you read over your statement, you should find that it stirs your emotions and makes you, and others, want to get to work addressing the issues that you want to solve. It should serve as a rallying point for everyone connected to your organisation.

If your statement doesn’t move you and  compel you to act, it’s missing something. This something is likely connected to your vision and values, so think of ways to let this shine through more clearly when you rewrite your statement.

Revise, Review and Ask for Feedback

Before you release your new mission statement to the world, review it for any mistakes or contradictions. Go back and talk with some of the stakeholders that you initially surveyed and ask them if it captures the heart and soul of what your NFP is all about. Be open to suggestions and make revisions as necessary.

Align Your Team with Your Mission

Once you have written an inspiring mission statement, it’s time to put it to good use. You will want to publish your mission statement in your “about” section of your blog, and, include it in the appropriate, designated sections of your essential publications, documents, and grant applications.

It’s also important to take steps to get your staff, volunteers and other supporters to align with your mission. When others are in alignment with your NFP’s mission, it means that everyone is focusing their efforts and working together towards a common objective.

Failing to align your team with your mission leads to a lot of wasted time, effort and other resources, making it much harder to achieve any of your goals.

Alignment is the Result of Effective Leadership

Aligning your team with your mission comes down to how effective your organisation’s leadership is, at every level. Just like culture, the mission statement is defined by leadership. It is up to your leaders to model your NFP’s vision and values, making sure that their talk matches their actions and is true to the mission statement. Leaders then can speak to others from a position of authenticity and honesty, which is especially important when they hold others accountable to achieving the mission.

Communication is the Key to Alignment

Leadership should communicate your mission to the rest of the team, so that your staff, volunteers and other stakeholders know what’s at stake, and how their work specifically contributes to advancing the mission forward.

Conduct periodic surveys with your staff, volunteers and other stakeholders to see what they think about the mission statement and whether it is an accurate reflection of how they experience their connection with your organisation. If there’s a disconnect there, it’s a good idea to ask questions to learn what areas your NFP needs to address to bring the organisation, and its culture, in closer alignment with the mission.

Keep Your Core Mission Top of Mind

As time goes on and the number and types of services that you offer grows, it’s easy for leadership and other stakeholders to become distracted. Take steps to help everyone keep the mission at the forefront of their thoughts and actions.

Make Your Mission Measurable, and Meaningful on a Personal Level

Hold periodic meetings to remind your team of the mission. Tie in goals and the evaluation of your team’s group and individual performance to advancing the mission. Show how important your mission is by tying compensation, bonuses, recognition and perks to how well your team members advance the mission.

Distractions from Your Core Mission Weaken Performance

Reduce distractions by using your mission as the yardstick by which you measure proposals. If a program or service isn’t really advancing your purpose, it’s probably something that you want to at least think about reducing, eliminating, or perhaps partnering with a third party to provide. Keep the spotlight on your core mission and increase your efficiency and effectiveness in the process.


Read Full Post »

Social media marketing is a relatively new thing, but before that, NFPs had to rely on Public Relations (PR) to get the word out about their mission and latest fundraising efforts. But, PR still has a place in the nonprofit world, so let’s address some great ways to give your organisation a PR boost.

Develop relationships with journalists and reporters

If you have good relationships with journalists and those responsible for getting your story out there, then you have more chances of being successful. Know the media outlets and make sure you reach out to the right individual, depending on your PR requirements. Make sure you also supply lots of high-quality photographs to capture their interest.

Keep up with current trends

Try to connect your stories with the latest trend topics or times of the year. If you are doing something special at Christmas time, then you can promote that in December. If you are joining forces with something that is happening locally to support a wider issue, then let the outlets know. Stay current with what is going on in social media, on television and in the newspaper. That way you have more chance of being successful with your pitch.

Let your supporters speak

Your PR efforts don’t have to be concentrated from just your organisation. Your supporters can also be central to your press releases, and you can write them in conjunction with them and distribute them in the same way. Think about what your supporters can offer in the way of a good narrative and then see if they would be of assistance in helping you get extra publicity.

Demonstrate your results

Use the media for more than just opportunities to promote your latest fundraiser. Come up with some great stories – from your point of view or from someone who was assisted by your charity. People love to read stories of hope, particularly with a strong human interest element. It makes it real and will resonate with potential volunteers and donors.

Show your particular expertise

Depending on how well your relationships are with individual reporters and journalists, get them to consider you every time an article is required on your particular niche. You can provide quick quotes on health or women’s issues, or whatever your mainstay focus is. This will make sure you are always seen as an expert in your industry rather than just an NFP trying to raise money.

Read Full Post »

Executive VoIP Phone

When you are running any type of organisation, bad publicity can have a significant impact.  As a not for profit organisation where a large portion of funds may come from government grants or donations, bad publicity can even threaten the viability of the organisation.  As a not for profit organisation, bad publicity can come in many forms such as, for example, the result of fraud,  poor treatment of employees, the organisation wasting funds or donations not being used for the purpose they were raised.  As such, how would your organisation deal with bad publicity?

In light of the recent controversy surrounding Lance Armstrong and the impact it has had on the Livestrong charity he established, here are some tips that may help your organisation deal with bad publicity.

  • Initially try to identify the impact of the bad publicity.  For example, does it relate to a minor issue such as, for example, delays in providing a service or of a more serious nature such as fraud or misappropriation of donations?
  • Try to assess how the publicity may be communicated such as by word of mouth or via the media.  If the media is involved try to avoid making no comments as this implies you are trying to avoid something.
  • Be open and honest about the issue and tell the truth right from the start because if there are lies they are likely to come back and get you eventually.  Don’t do what Lance Armstrong did by denying and living with the lie for so long.
  • If there is strong negative publicity don’t hide from the issue hoping it will go away.  Get on the front foot and face the public or the media without delay.  This may include the release of a press release or a meeting with relevant people such as those who have been impacted or have raised the issue.
  • If needed, issue an apology and outline ways to address the issue and why it won’t occur again in the future.
  • If there is inaccurate information used then counter this and provide accurate information and evidence.

Once the issue has been dealt with or under control the board or committee of management must undertake a review to identify how and why the issue occurred.  As part of the review a strategy or plan should also be prepared that will allow the organisation to recover from the bad publicity and rebuild the reputation.

Read Full Post »

Article by Belinda Collins.  First pubished in  Third Sector Magazine.

Belinda Collins headed World Vision’s Media and Public Relations team through the Boxing Day tsunami period, raising $80 million in fourteen days and managing the World Cup Asia Tsunami Cricket match. Her step-by-step guide will give you the basic tools you need to be successful in approaching the media.

1. Know your objectives

Why do you want to pursue media coverage? Some common reasons are to:

* Increase ‘brand’ awareness of your organisation among potential funders and/or members. * Promote a fundraising campaign. * Promote as ‘employer of choice’. * Promote critical research findings. * Advocate for your client group. * Position as ‘thought leader’. demonstrate outcomes to funders (particularly important for Government funding).

2. What media does your audience consume

If your objective is to encourage donations and your donors are mainly women aged 35-50 then you need to find the right media to reach this audience – perhaps pursue an article in a woman’s magazine (note lead times for monthly magazines can be five months).

The same logic regarding audience should be applied to other objectives.

3. Compile a list of all relevant media

There are around 40,000 media outlets in Australia, from television news programs to fishing magazines, to radio programs on gardening and niche, special interest newsletters. This is great news for the third sector as media outlets are always on the hunt for new and interesting content and our sector has great stories to tell.

Read, watch and listen to as much media as you can in an effort to identify relevant media for you.

When I’m promoting national fundraising campaigns I’ve had great success with segments as diverse as: Mike Larkin’s weather report, Kerri-Anne Kennerly’s ‘Wheel’, Ready Steady Cook, Good Morning Australia, ABC Conversation Hour, BTN (Youth News), Totally Wild, CEOs and celebrity ambassadors profiled in major newspapers, and stories in New Idea, Cosmo and Women’s Weekly.

Media Monitors, Margaret Gee’s Media Guide, or AAP can help you identify relevant media and more specifically, relevant journalists and editors.

4. Search for a story

The chase for media coverage is a competitive race. To be successful, you have to know how to create stories of interest to your target media. Consider:

* New research findings that affect the media’s audience. * The use of ‘days’ e.g. International Children’s Day. * Being the biggest/best or first to make a significant achievement. * An inspiring story a celebrity ambassador. * Significant birthday or milestone e.g. 100 years of service, 1 millionth donor. * Including a quirky, professional photograph to accompany your story.

5. Prepare a killer media release

Whenever you contact the media you’ll need a media release that summarises your story. It’s best to stick to these tips:

* Keep it about a page long. * Display a phone number that’s contactable 24/7. * Be factual, honest and concise. * Create a heading that summarises your story.

Your first paragraph should detail:

* What the story is about. * Who is involved. * Why it is happening. * What they are doing. * When it is happening.

Subsequent paragraphs expand on this information and introduce interesting spokespeople, who are available for interview.

6. Getting your story to the media

There are two ways you can do this:

The conventional way is to fax/email the release yourself, or through Media Monitors or AAP. The downside of this is competition. Some outlets receive hundreds of releases a day. If you do need to distribute a media release widely, make follow up calls to ensure your release has been received and seen – and use this as another chance to sell your story.

Alternatively, consider some of these strategies I’ve used to great effect over the years:

* Build relationships with relevant journalists by writing to them and congratulating them for reporting on ‘like’ topics. * Ask if you can take a journalist to coffee to introduce yourself and your organisation. * Offer your services to help journalists research topics of expertise to you. I once worked for a child welfare organisation who published a lot of research on children’s issues. We also had a lot of families prepared to talk to the media. By extending this offer to relevant journalists, we were often quoted in the papers. * Use the quiet period over December and January to build relationships. PR people are generally on leave over this time and it’s easier to make yourself heard! * If radio is relevant for you, ask your local ABC station if you can come and watch a program being put to air. You’ll learn how they prioritise stories and build vital relationships with producers.

7. Work with the journalist to finalise the story

Once you have interest, there can be a lot of work in pulling the story together.

* Keep your media release with you at all times, as well as any facts and statistics you’ve quoted. * Make sure your spokespeople are available and properly briefed. * Always attend interviews with your spokespeople. * You may also need to work with photographers to co-ordinate any footage or images required.

8. Prepare for publication

It’s the small things you do from here that determine how well this coverage will help achieve your objectives. It’s important to:

* Brief your receptionist so they know how to answer any calls. * If you are promoting a fundraising campaign – make sure your call centre is staffed to deal with calls at the right time. * Get copies of the article, or ask Media Monitors to record any tv or radio coverage. * Send copies to relevant stakeholders/funders.

Belinda Collins is an independent consultant undertaking strategic projects, brokering relationships and raising funds for charitable and sporting organisations. She has previously worked with the Australian Football League, Richmond, Essendon and Adelaide Football Clubs and the University of Melbourne.

Read Full Post »

Not-For-Profit (NFP) organisations need to promote their business in order to continuously attract new members, volunteers, funding and recognition to the cause. But what low cost options are there available to NFP organisations?

Firstly look at the talent already operating within your organisation from your board members through to your staff and volunteers. Is there anyone who could assist with your marketing efforts either from their own perspective or through their networking connections? Some of them may be connected with local businesses that could help with your fundraising promotions either indirectly by offering their support or directly by giving money to your cause.

When advertising it is important to look at all forms including media promotion, online advertising and direct meetings with the public. When you are sourcing advertising options, do not be afraid to negotiate the price. Also try writing your own media releases and send them directly to media outlets to gain free promotional coverage. Make sure the articles are written from a newsworthy perspective and worth publishing. Posting press releases online will also enable information to circulate free of charge possibly gaining more print promotion possibilities.

Join online media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and link back to your press releases. By setting up your own profile pages and promoting your stories and achievements, you will gain followers thus creating new promotional possibilities.

Face to face networking however is still equally important. Look around to see what community expos and events are operating in your area. You can, for a small cost, set up a table or booth in order to pass out information about your organisation and how people can best assist you. Ask that current volunteers and donors also attend as positive experiences and word of mouth are the best free advertising methods your organisation can tap into.

Read Full Post »