Connecting with the Media and Public

HOW CAN NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS GET MEDIA ATTENTION DURING AN ELECTION YEAR?

Given that news about various political campaigns will consume much of the media’s ink and air time during an election year, Kevin Lampe of Kurth Lampe, a public relations and political consulting firm based in Chicago, offers his advice on how nonprofit organizations can gain media attention for the important community issues they are addressing. He suggests:

Nonprofits can use an election season to deliver their message through political campaigns.

As in good media relations it is all about relationships. Find and work with candidates with similar values and issues to the organization. To learn more, follow the news stories about candidates and research their positions on their websites as well as attending speeches and events. You will discover that your organization’s message will align with a candidate.

Now think how you can help that candidate…research assistance, policy papers, volunteers for events, locations for press conferences or public events.

Next, ask for a meeting with that candidate and/or their staff. Explain how you can help and that you are ready, willing and able.

For example: A fair housing group learns that a candidate has an interest in affordable housing. The nonprofit offers to write a position paper on the issue, and provide a briefing so the candidate can learn more, and then offers the candidate access to affordable housing project site for a location for a press conference about housing issues.

Thus everyone wins, the nonprofit gains publicity through the candidate and the candidate learns more about what the community needs.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I’VE BEEN MISQUOTED IN THE PRESS?

According to media strategist Laurie Glenn Gista: “Always remember when you are doing a story that this is just one battle in the war of ideas. Don’t pick a short-term fight with a reporter and lose the opportunity to build a long-term and valuable relationship. Remember, they have the pen, the camera, and recorder. Try and take the negative and build it into a positive opportunity to develop an understanding between you and the reporter for future stories.”

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Category: Tips for Nonprofits

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