If you’re launching a fundraising campaign, sending a well-crafted press release – to the right people, at the right time, with the right information – can increase your chances of getting press coverage. This post offers tips on creating and distributing a press release to increase the potential reach of your fundraising campaign.
Questions we'll answer include:
When should I send a campaign press release?
What should I include in the campaign press release?
Who should I send the campaign press release to?
How do I find journalists to contact?
What’s the best way to send the campaign press release?
How can I improve the chances of being mentioned in the press?
What should I do after sending my campaign press release?
What other resources could be helpful?
#1 When should I send a fundraising campaign press release?
As soon as your campaign has started to gain a bit of traction (and donations) through your own organic promotion, that's the time when you want to get the press involved. Usually, we recommend that the ideal time to promote your campaign to the media is when funding reaches 20% of your goal. People are more likely to donate when a campaign already has some momentum and looks likely to be successful.
#2 What should I include in my fundraising campaign press release?
The header – This should be dated and state ‘for immediate release’
Images – Include a couple of images, perhaps of project team members, the campaign in action or a screenshot of the campaign page, etc. These should be attached to the email you send to press.
Quotes – Include quotes about the project from campaigners and supporters.
Contact details – Include the name, job role, email address and phone number of relevant contacts, for journalists who want more information.
See an example of a fundraising campaign draft press release from the charity Barnados here.
#3 Who should I send the fundraising campaign press release to?
Publications connected to the subject matter of your campaign e.g. astrology publications if your project is about astrology, VR publications if it is a VR game. The more specific the better; there are niche publications out there about most topics!
Local press – the national press will only be interested in extremely newsworthy campaigns, so it’s likely to make sense to focus your efforts locally.
Your institution’s press teams, and the student union if you’re a student fundraiser.
Make sure you have the name, phone number and email address of the person you’re contacting (as you’ll usually need to phone the person after you have emailed them).
#4 How do I find journalists to contact?
The most important thing is to know the person’s name – so start by looking at articles that are in the same space and find the names of the journalists who wrote them (normally at the top of the article).
#5 What’s the best way to send the campaign press release?
It’s best to include the press release in the body of an email, not as an attachment. Even if you include an image in the body of the email, also add your images as attachments. See below a suggested email format:
Email subject line: The title of your press release.
Introduction: The introduction should address someone with their first name. The first couple of lines should be a summary of what will be in your press release. Try to think of an angle the publication could use that would make an interesting story to its readers. Look at other pieces that the article publishes to get some inspiration.
Body of the email: Right after the introduction, include the actual press release.
Attached files: The images should be added as attachments, even if they are already added along with the text. You may also (optionally) add the PDF file of the press release as an attachment.
#6 How can I improve the chances of being mentioned in the press?
Remember that journalists get hundreds of press release a day so it’s not guaranteed that they will open, let alone read your email!
Send your email on a Monday or Tuesday at around 10:30am. This is the optimal time for people to open emails received.
#7 What should I do after sending my fundraising campaign press release?
At 2pm on the same day, follow up your email with a call to ensure that you stand out from other press releases. Ask the journalist if they received your press release and offer any additional information they require. This step is key to making you stand out from the other hundreds of press release emails in their inbox.
These tips should give you the best possible chance of getting your fundraising campaign press release picked up and published. Good luck!