Six Basic Publicity Tips To Help Promote Your Fundraiser or Special Event
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Six Basic Publicity Tips To Help Promote Your Fundraiser or Special Event

Six basic publicity tips are outlined to help non-professionals publicize their own fundraisers or special events. The focus is on mainstream media, including daily and weekly newspapers, local radio and television/cable television stations, special interest/trade publications and magazines, local online news sources, and Facebook.

In my former professional life, I was a public relations (PR) consultant for 14 years, working largely with not-for-profit organizations at the local, regional and national level.

A few friends recently asked for suggestions to help promote a local fundraiser they were hosting, so I came up with some of the more basic tips and tools used to promote special events. Here they are:

(1) Send an announcement – called a news release or press release – to the area daily and weekly newspapers, preferably with a photo of some of the local participating talent (papers prefer shots of people "doing something" other than staring at the camera, so they can be looking over papers or something). List the time, date, place, entrance fee (if there is one), as well as the activities planned and the reason you are holding the event. Don't forget to always include your contact information, in case anyone has questions or wants more information regarding the event.

(2) Send the same information to area radio stations as a public service announcement (PSA) and to TV and cable stations as a Bulletin Board Announcement (BBA). Time the PSA to last about 30 seconds – read it slowly out loud to make sure the time is accurate – and print it in all capital letters, so it is easier for DJs to read on-air. The BBAs are also short and to-the-point. Some cable stations have specific forms to fill in that make it easier to gauge their space limits.

(3) “Planning committee" members – two or three people can be a committee, you know! – can call the area media outlets directly to pitch the relevant editors (music, sports, lifestyle, etc.), inviting them to cover it as a feature story. If your "committee" members live in different areas with different local papers, you can send a news release stating "(TOWN) resident (NAME) is a member of the planning committee for..." Weekly newspapers love news about local residents.

(4) Don't forget online news sites! My town has Maplewood Navigator and Maplewood Patch...both are online local news sources. They each have a public events calendar that you can post directly on and it will appear once it is approved by the editorial staff. That's how I got a local photographer to come to a workshop I held last November. I ended up with my picture in the paper, which I posted on Facebook.

(5) Speaking of Facebook, create an event page for the fundraiser and invite your Facebook friends, and have the other "Committee" people do the same.

(6) One other avenue is to contact special interest publications relevant to the event. My friends were hosting a day-long concert to benefit a local musician’s wife, so music/musician trade publications may be interested. You never know if or when they may be looking for a human interest angle...and you've got one!

These are the basic elements of a grassroots PR campaign, but it's more than enough to get you started. Good luck!

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Comments (2)

Very good tips.

Thank you! :)