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Below you will find all of our past articles to help you with your nonprofit, charity, and fundraising publicity. It is a long list of articles so don't hesitate to bookmark this page and come back often. If you would like more great fundraising information in the future then please sign up for an email notification whenever we publish a new article.

Beware Publicity When Raising Big Gifts by David Lansdowne

Don't expect publicity to raise money. It doesn't, at least most of the time.

The reasons are simple. To raise substantial money you must ask people in person, regardless of any well-placed stories. Secondly, most campaigns depend on a relatively small number of major donors - about 10 percent of the prospects - whose decision to give won't be much influenced by the media.

In fact, since it can be effective to solicit top prospects before your campaign goes public - in effect treating these special few as insiders - publicity in the early stages can actually work against you.

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Fundraising: Why a Recession Is No Time to Cut Back by Lisa J. Lehr

Fundraising is just like advertising: a recession is no time to cut back.

Actually, fundraising is advertising. But instead of selling a product or service for your own profit, you're selling the satisfaction of helping a good cause - warm fuzzies, if you will. Warm fuzzies are relatively easy to sell in a strong economy, as Americans tend to be generous and like to share our good fortune. In a weak economy, however, warm fuzzies are a harder sell.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Killer Communications by Doug Nash

All organisations, no matter what their nature, succeed or fail mainly due to their ability to communicate. If they fail to let you know that they exist, why they exist and how you will benefit from their existence then their future may not be a rosy one nor very profitable. There are certain fundamental laws on what makes a successful organisation and this is one of them.

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How to Get Your Name in the Paper Without Advertising by Veronika Noize & Jack Rubinger

As a marketing professionals, one of the most common misconceptions that we run across in our business is that marketing is nothing more than advertising, and that advertising is the only way to get your name in the paper.

The good news is that marketing isn't (just) advertising. Oh, sure, advertising can be a tactic used in some marketing plans, but it certainly isn't necessary or even cost effective for many small businesses. And the better news is that you can get your business name in the paper without spending a dime on advertising. We call that cost-effective marketing tactic "public relations."

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Community Calendar

Most newspapers have a calendar section where they list upcoming organizational events for the week. Often the print in this section is much smaller than the print in most of the rest of the paper. They do this because there is such demand for space, and the readership for this section is also generally smaller. Nonetheless, people interested in community events specifically seek out this section.

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Big Fundraising Check Photo Opportunities by Print-Art-Etc

If your nonprofit organization is receiving a large fundraising donation and photo opportunities are an afterthought, you could be missing fabulous opportunities for publicity.

A good-quality, unusual photo is often the first thing that attracts a reader's attention. It serves as an anchor on the page. And often, a photo can tell its own story, without being accompanied by an article. Big checks are still unusual enough that they will make the paper or the news.

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Branding for Nonprofits - Dispelling 4 Myths by Jed Jones

Members of nonprofit organizations often overlook the importance of branding because they see it as unimportant, unnecessary, or even unaligned with their mission. Here I dispel 4 common myths about the need for branding for nonprofits and show why your nonprofit needs to build a strong brand to thrive.

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How To Share Your Success Story Without Sounding Like You Are Bragging by Kivi Leroux Miller

A great way to celebrate your achievements and capitalize on your successes is to share them with your clients, members, community leaders, and other influential decisionmakers. But how can you do that without sounding like you are bragging?

Tell the story of your success using one of these five approaches, which will work for newsletter articles, website content, and press releases.

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Postcards; Marketing's Small but Mighty Miniature Billboards an interview with Kathy Massey

"A postcard is in essence a billboard - the recipient will decide in 2-3 seconds if the message is something worth investigating further" - Heidi Richards

Q. Why would a nonprofit want to use a postcard for marketing rather than other types of direct mail?

Postcard marketing is inexpensive compared to other forms of direct mail. They give the recipient instant access to what the non-profit is looking for whether it be for a donation, volunteerism or to invite the recipient to an event. These are especially good to ....

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Develop a Selection of Board Feature Ideas from Successful Fund Raising newsletter

To what degree are you doing feature stories about both your collective board and individual board members? Don’t overlook the benefits of stories related to your organization’s top leaders. Articles about those who oversee your organization add another level of credibility to your cause. Plus, readers find such human interest stories to be of interest.

Develop a checklist of board-related story ideas from which to choose for internal and external publications, for news releases to distribute to area news media, and for feature ideas to hand feed news media. Here are some story angles to consider:

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Craigslist: A Powerful Publicity Tool by Joan Stewart

So you thought Craigslist was only for finding an apartment, a job, a car or a date.

Did you know that the wildly popular web portal can be one of the most valuable tools in your PR campaign, particularly if you're looking for grassroots publicity targeted at certain cities or countries?

Read more here

Are You Ready for Your Media Interview? by Paul Lima

Are you seeking media attention? Have you sent out media releases to promote your company, product, service or event? Are you attempting to use the media to reach potential customers, shareholders, sponsors, donors or other stakeholders? If so, you need to be prepared for interviews.

Even if you are not actively seeking media attention, you never know when a reporter might call. That’s why every business owner, executive and spokesperson should be able to answer questions pertaining to positive or negative news.

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Gotta Blog – Why Blogs Matter for Your Nonprofit by Nancy Schwartz

You probably have heard more and more about nonprofit use of blogs over the last year. And you may have read my article, "Should your nonprofit launch a blog?, " last fall. It's a great introduction to blogging for nonprofits. Take a look at:

A quick reminder – a blog is a website that takes the form of an online journal, updated frequently with running commentary on one or many topics.

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Showing Off by the AFRDS

Nobody likes a show-off – unless you’re boasting about a successful fundraiser. Parents, volunteers and other members of the community who contributed to the fundraiser deserve to know how their time and money were spent. Showing off also lets your volunteers know their work was worth it, and they’re more likely to come back next time.

So how do you go about getting that publicity?

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Turning Tickets and Invites into Low-Cost, High-Impact Marketing Tools (Case Study) by Nancy Schwartz

I recently returned from a trip (part work, part pure play) to San Francisco. I grabbed a cable car ticket before jumping on and found myself enthralled by a strikingly effective marketing tactic – The San Francisco Cable Car Collectors' Series.

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Nonprofit Publicity Tips Online and Offline by Joan Stewart

If your nonprofit is strapped for time, money, or both, follow these 10 tips for generating thousands of dollars in print, broadcast and online publicity.

  • Create one-page press release templates for frequent news items such as new employees or board members, events you’re sponsoring or hosting, or when you’re searching for volunteers. Then simply fill in the blanks.

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Free and Easy Opportunities To Generate More Traffic Through Talk Radio by George McKenzie

Baseball great Reggie Jackson, who often got more publicity than he wanted, once said, "The media are like birds on a wire. When one flies, they all fly."

Everyone in the media monitors everyone else, because NO ONE wants to miss anything or leave the impression they're falling behind current events.

You can use that competitive spirit to build a free publicity machine for yourself. Especially on radio.

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35 Quick Tips for Writing A Press Release by Catherine Franz


  1. 1-2 pages in length.
  2. Double-space.
  3. 1.5 to 2 inch margins.
  4. Use company stationary with logo and slogan.
  5. Avoid bright or dark-colored paper.
  6. Center "News Release" at top.

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Thou Shalt Promote Thy Program ... by the AFRDS

  1. Mark your calendar.
    Provide a complete fundraising schedule at the beginning of the year to avoid surprises. This keeps parents and students apprised of launch dates, deadlines for turning in orders/money, and estimated time of delivery for products.

  2. Try two-in-one approach.
    Get more power for your dollar by taking advantage of regularly scheduled school events - e.g. football games, PTA/PTO meetings, teacher conferences - and be sure to display products from your current fundraising campaign, to garner more sales.

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Photographs for Publicity from the Official Football Fund-Raiser's Guide

Photographs often make the difference in whether an article is reduced to a calendar item or run as a feature story.

Some newspapers, especially in small towns, send a staff photographer to cover big events in the lives of major organizations. Prestigious fund-raising events may be automatically presented in a big story. For other organizations and events, there are other options.

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Just be Yourself by George McKenzie

Suppose you've been trying get on a radio talk show for months, and the producer finally calls back and extends an invitation.

This is a great opportunity! But all of a sudden, you feel like a King Kong-sized gorilla has just super-glued both hairy feet to the back of your neck.

Oh, you know your stuff. That's not the problem.

The problem is stage fright.

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What Works Now That the Press Release Is Dead by B.L. Ochman

practice Reality PR you must think like a wired journalist and realize that the fact your company exists is not news. You must understand what the journalists' audience wants to read and what they, by virtue of this, want to write.

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Ideas to Promote Your Next Fundraiser by the AFRDS

Here are some low- and no-cost ideas from experienced fundraisers to help you promote your next fundraiser and develop faculty and parent buy-in:

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How to Create Posters and Fliers That Cost Almost Nothing, Stop Your Prospects In Their Tracks and Draw Them to Your Message by Shel Horowitz

A good visual piece, whether it's a business card, flier, display ad, or even a direct mail letter, should grab the reader, and be easy to look at. Don't make it too busy and jumpy, unless you're selling heavy metal music or electro-convulsive therapy. And let the tone of the visuals reinforce your message:

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Balancing Quality and Cost-Efficiency in Your Nonprofit Marketing Materials by Nancy Schwartz

I work for the foundation of a non-profit health care organization. I recently read your article on effective communication budgets for non-profits and found it very insightful.

However, what you did not address was "appropriate" production values and expenditures. In other words, not what we can afford, but what we can do to make our newsletter look fantastic, be effective but not appear over-the-top? We don't want our donors to question how their money is spent?

How do we effectively balance cost-efficiency with quality? Specifically, we're looking at revamping our newsletter and brochures.

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Common Sense Nonprofit Marketing in Tough Times by Joan Marcus

In today's tough economy, you need to make your marketing dollars work harder and smarter to keep your nonprofit thriving and growing.

Challenging? Yes. Possible? Absolutely.

Here are five common sense marketing techniques that will help you use your marketing dollars wisely:

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Fundraising Event Not Getting Media Coverage? What’s Your Story? by Deborah Zanke

Every week, there are countless fundraising events taking place across the country. Some will get decent media coverage and others will be lucky to get a mention on the “community events listing” page of the local newspaper. What’s the difference? You may think it’s size or profile of the event and that might be part of the answer but it’s not the whole story. Regardless of the size of your event/initiative, you need a solid media relations plan to maximize the chance that you’ll get coverage.

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'Tis the Season for List-mania! Spreading Your Message During the Silly Season from the Our Community Matters Newsletter

As we start sliding down the slope to Christmas and the Silly Season, lists seem to be everywhere. The media love a good list - be it a Top 10, a Best-Of, or a Worst-Ever. And often it’s at the end of the year that these lists start to become more and more common.

With the sources of "real" news drying up, or going on summer vacation, newsrooms often need something else to fill the space ... and what better to do exactly that than a quirky list of the best or worst people, movies, songs, news or sports stories for the year.

But as several items in this special "List-mania" edition of Our Community Matters show, they don't need to be silly to get a run. Lists can provide a really useful tool for shedding light on important issues as well.

Your group can make the most of the media's thirst for lists at this time of year by preparing one of your own. Send it to your members, donors and supporters as well in case it doesn't get a run in the papers.

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Marketing for Charitable Nonprofit Organizations by Beverly R. Hoffmann

During the last decade, competition between charitable nonprofits for diminishing financial resources has inspired them to embrace new skills that will improve their fundraising ability while also serving their constituents better.

Although fundraising results are tied to the capacity to communicate to donors and persuade them to give, they are also tied strongly to functions that occur much earlier than the actual request for funds. In particular, they are tied to the level of satisfaction with the organization's services that is expressed by its primary constituents, i.e. those served by the organization's mission. A philanthropy positions itself best to compete for all kinds of support, including funds, by doing the following:

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Maintaining Trust in a Difficult Economy Requires Consistent, Credible Messaging by Bill Bergman

For nonprofits to survive when consumer confidence is low, “maintaining the trust of current and prospective donors is essential,” Bill Bergman, president and CEO of the Bergman Group, a Richmond, Va.-based integrated communications company, said recently.

“New media channels can create opportunities to reinforce this trust,” said the veteran advertising and publishing executive who has seen his share of market volatility over the past 30 years. “Only through new media, which enables nonprofits to communicate instantly and consistently with their audiences, can marketing opportunities be maximized,” Bergman said.

In times of uncertainty, the adjunct professor of business at the University of Richmond offered these guidelines for creating and maintaining trustworthy brands:

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Souvenir Game Programs by J. Alden Briggs Jr. and Jana Duffy

A souvenir game program is both an excellent profit-maker and a useful tool to promote the image of your soccer organization within the community.

Before making any kind of production decision, you should determine whether there is a market for your game program. Will people buy it in sufficient numbers? Some contests, particularly at the youth level, may not draw enough spectators to justify anything more than a simple roster sheet.

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Giving New Life to the "Same Old" by Nancy Schwartz

The human instinct to respond to the new and unusual is something that we as communicators have to work around. How do we best engage our audiences on a subject that's not new - a fundraising appeal for an existing program; an overview brochure on a service organization that's been around for fifty years, with pretty much the same focus; or marketing services that we've offered for over a decade?

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Types of Publicity by J. Alden Briggs Jr. and Jana Duffy

Publicity can range from a message conveyed across the backyard fence to sky-writing in letters a mile high. But let's consider standard outlets:

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The Dance of the Four Veils by Tom Ahern

For the most part, nonprofit communications are boring. Not on purpose, mind you. Still, they are almost always uninteresting, my vast exposure to them suggests. And why? Because they swaddle themselves in one or more of the following interest-draining veils.

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The ABC's of Public Relations: Part 1 by the Booster Clubs of America

A pamphlet all about public relations for small nonprofits.

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Market Your Nonprofit's Anniversary to Improve ROI by Gary Kullberg

The anniversary of your nonprofit's founding is an ideal opportunity to galvanize your employees, board members, donors, foundations, government and corporate sponsors, and to re-kindle their commitment to the relevance, importance and needs of the organization.

This is a unique opportunity, with the potential for a yearlong marketing program that, done properly, sets the stage for your fundraisers, strengthens your longer term brand image and improves the organization's ROI.

For-profit organizations, both large and small, have long recognized the importance of company anniversary marketing because it isn't just the latest advertising, public relations, direct mail, internet or event program. Rather, it is a unique chance for an organization to link the strength of its past to its plans for the future. For nonprofit organizations this story can be especially important among new members, volunteers and donors.

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