5 Steps to Getting Media Coverage for Your Fire Fighter Fundraiser
Launching a fundraising campaign, no matter how big or small, can be challenging and time consuming. Small marketing efforts, such as creating a local press release, can help give your fundraiser the boost it needs.
“Getting great media coverage can really make a difference for a Fire Fighter fundraiser,” says Lauren Holloway, Creative/Media Coordinator for Operation Warm. “Since 2012, Fire Fighters across North America have partnered with Operation Warm to provide brand new winter coats to children in need,” she says. “We’ve seen how media coverage can greatly increase their fundraising efforts by bringing in new contributors.”
Step 1: Create a Media List
Do a little research and make a list of local press. You can do this by picking up local papers and going online or asking for help at your local library. If you use the Internet, search for “news” and the name of your area. For example, a search for “Puget Sound News” will bring up a collection of local newspapers, business journals, radio stations and news-related web pages for the Puget Sound area of Seattle.
This list should include:
- Daily, weekly and monthly newspapers
- Community and Fire Fighter magazines
- Local TV and radio stations
- Event calendars
- Community websites
Step 2: Write a Great Press Release
A press release gives the media everything they need to know about your Fire Fighter program. “Your press release should be newsworthy and well thought out to ensure maximum delivery,” Lauren says.
A great press release includes the following pieces:
- Basic information – Provide details about your Fire Fighter program.
- Unique information – What makes your program or fundraiser exciting for your community? Who will it impact?
- Quotes –Why are you doing this program? Quote a member of your team answering this question.
- About you – Include information about your department and your partners at the beginning and the end.
- Call to action – Ask the reader to do something such as spread the word, attend an event or make a donation.
- Contact information –Designate someone to talk to the media and include a phone number and email address.
Need quotes from Operation Warm for your press release? Contact Lauren: firstname.lastname@example.org
Need a press release template? Download your copy when you sign up to be a Fire Fighter for Operation Warm.
Step 3: Craft Your Pitch Email
“Some journalists, especially those who work for larger media outlets, can receive hundreds of requests and pitches a day,” Lauren says. “In order to stand out, make your pitch interesting and professional.”
How to make your pitch noticeable:
- Use the journalists name, mention a specific story they wrote or find another way to make a personal connection.
- Write a catchy headline –Check out some examples at Upworthy.com.
- Make your email short and easy to read. A three-sentence pitch will get a lot more reads than a three-paragraph pitch. If the pitch can be made into bullet points, that works too.
- Include the press release in the body of the email not as an attachment.
- Add an image in the body of the email with the press release.
Step 4: Send Your Press Release at the Right Time
“Before starting your press efforts, it’s important to think about timing,” Lauren says. “Although it may not seem like it, there is a science behind pushing out a press release.” Here are some tips on timing to create the most buzz around your community service project:
- Send your press release early. Many media outlets create their schedules weeks or months in advance.
- Send out a second press release for the week before an important event. Include as many final details as possible.
- Write a follow-up press release. Summarize your completed event or program, and show off your success and great photos. This follow up can get your department and your Fire Fighter program some extra attention.
Bonus tip: According to Conversion Hub, the best day to send your press release is Tuesday, followed by Wednesday. The best time to send your press release is at 9:00 am, or 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.
Step 5: Promote the Event on Social Media
Use the information you already crafted in your press release to promote your Fire Fighter program on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media. Include a photo and think about “boosting” your post by putting a small dollar amount on it, so it will reach more people.
If you partner with us, use @OperationWarm and #morethanacoat, so we can help promote you as well.
Join hundreds of fire departments across the country to give brand new coats to children in the communities you protect.
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