How to promote your fundraising
Expert tips on how to get your efforts noticed
When you’ve taken on a fundraising activity and are perhaps participating in a large-scale event, such as the Virgin Money London Marathon, you want to make sure you raise as much money for your chosen charity as possible. Identifying what’s unique about your story and promoting it to a public audience could mean you’ll be able to reach new heights.
Here’s our selection of tips from editors and journalists on how to get your story into the press.
1. Create a press release
PR professionals send journalists press releases to try to get their story covered. Use Microsoft Word to create a single-page document that tells your story in a concise and impactful way. If you nail it, a journalist should be able to write a story about you without even speaking to you.
Focus on ‘the 5 Ws and the H’ (who, where, what, why, when and how) and the newsworthy aspect of your story – and don’t forget a link to your fundraising page! Sum up the story in the first sentence or two and write in the third person, including some attention-grabbing quotes.
2. Choose the right publications
Think of as many different angles for stories as possible and make a hit list for which publications might be interested in them.
A good place to start is often to seek out a publication covering a topic related to the charity you’re raising money for. Perhaps local publications might be interested in your story because of your ties to the area. And if there’s a special-interest publication that covers your fundraising activity – such as a health and fitness magazine if you’re running a marathon, for example – that could be another angle worth exploring.
3. Consider blogs and websites
Some specialist websites, podcasts, influencers and blogs have a bigger impact than traditional media, plus their audiences are often very engaged.
For example, You, Me and the Big C – the BBC podcast started by the late Rachael Bland and continued by her co-hosts Deborah James and Lauren Mahon – talks frankly about cancer. It attracts thousands of listeners and could be interested in stories about fundraisers going to extreme lengths.
Our own Virgin Money Giving Twitter account has over 45,000 followers and often retweets inspirational stories. Finally, look for celebrity patrons of the charity you’re fundraising for, who are active on social channels. They are far more likely to share your story if they have a connection to the charity.
4. Be open
Journalists love powerful human interest stories that can inspire and move people. If you’re raising funds in memory of someone special it may be difficult at first to talk about that person with strangers, but if you’re open with your emotions it’s more likely that readers will connect with you and enable you to stand out among the thousands of others who may be participating in the same event.
5. Be image conscious
Every article needs at least one accompanying photograph and since budgets are often too small to send out photographers, editors appreciate being given high-quality images. So include a couple of good photos with your email.
They don’t have to be professional quality pics, but they must be in focus and relevant to your story (maybe pictures of you preparing for your event, such as trying on a fancy-dress costume for a run for example). If you’re contacting a print publication, make sure the photos are hi-resolution.
6. Know your audience
Editors love it when you’re familiar with their publication. If you can show a knowledge of their magazine or newspaper, they’re more likely to give you their attention because they’ll know you haven’t just sent the same email to 30 different publications.
A little flattery goes a long way – try complimenting them on specific articles and specify the section of their publication you think your story would fit into.