Saturday, March 1, 2008

Is Your Rotary Club Running A Fund Raiser? Learn A Lesson From The Presidental Campaigns!

Rotary Clubs who want to run a fund raiser should take a lesson from Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain. All three know that they cannot raise funds without good media coverage.

Raising fund is critical to the success of any nonprofit organization. Unfortunately, more effort is put into organizing the event, then marketing the event. And one key marketing tool is media coverage. That includes newspapers, radio, TV and don't forget the web.

It Takes Effort
It take some luck but mostly it takes strategy. Remember: there are many other organizations competing for the same media attention. When it comes to media coverage, the other nonprofits are the competition. So, Clubs need to work at it.

How To Get Media Attention?
It starts with a good press release. And a good press release is not the most creatively written release. It is the most effectively written release. Why? Releases are meant to catch the attention of the reporter.. And the editor or reporter who is determining whether to use your release is making that decision in just seconds. Seconds!

Keep It Simple
Therefore, it is critical that the key information in a press release is right up top, and easy to find. start by putting the most important information in the first paragraph and the least important information in the last paragraph.

What Is Most important?
The information that answers the question: who, what, where, when, and why? Just the facts: "Your club is holding an event at this location on this date and time to raise money for this cause." Then in the paragraphs that follow, you can give more details, quote your club president, tell how to get more information, etc.

Concentrate On The Headline.
Give your press release a headline. Keep it short (no more than 5-8 words). Make it interesting. Think about what makes your story newsworthy...remember the old adage: "If a dog bites a man, that is not news. But if a man bites a dog, that is news." Finally, make it local. Local media likes local stories.
The next key step to press releases, which 99% of people fail to do, is follow the release up with a phone calls. Call the reporter within a week after you sent it. Call the reporter and tell the reporter that you are just calling to make sure he or she received it and you want to know if he or she wants any further information. That phone call gives you a reason to plug the event in person.

RI Article
Rotary International has put together an article that will give you more information on writing press releases:

There are many ways to market an event, but if you can get the media to work with you, your event will be that much more easier to market!

NEXT: What should the press release look like and how should you send it to the media. Watch for the next edition of this column in this blog.

Ken Masson is president of the Merrimack Valley Rotary and has been a marketing professional for more that 25 years. For more information write to

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