Leveraging Press Opportunities for Your Fundraising Auction
If you’re lucky enough to get a donation from a famous Major League Baseball player such as David Ortiz, you have a great story for some potential media coverage.
But even if you don’t have that sexy celebrity item in your catalog, you can package your auction in a way that will appeal to shoppers.
In the past, we have had clients contact dozens of reporters both locally and nationally, online, print and broadcast media. Many non-profits and schools do not have access to media lists and databases, but there are ways to easily get in touch with the media outlet of your choice.
One way to find and contact reporters is to simply Google ‘media’ and ‘your city’, or visit Mondo Times and type in your city. Follow the links to the outlet’s contact page and call/email the news desk. Or if you have a media outlet in mind already, visit their website and look for an editorial contact list or a news submission link. If you look hard enough, you will find that almost all media outlets have a way for you to submit your news- some are just more hidden than others.
The best way to make your ‘pitch’ is to summarize news that the reporter’s audience will care about. This works even if you don’t have a celebrity item. The most important part of your pitch will be the subject line! Make it fun, sexy and interesting. The subject line of your email will determine whether or not your email actually gets read.
Should you call or email a journalist? Journalists are often on tight deadlines and some do not respond well to “un-invited callers.” Make the reporter’s job as easy as possible and offer them an interview and quotes. Emailing them a press release is a great way for a reporter to have time to read the email at their leisure, and often gives them turn-key content that they can easily turn into a story. And don’t wait until the last minute. Remember, reporters are usually working on stories for next week or even next month.
When pitching, be sure to ask yourself; what’s interesting about these items? Why will people want to buy these items or support the cause?
NOTE: People typically buy from charity auctions for three reasons:
1. Get unique items
2. Get items at a good price
3. Buy things they normally would but be able to give to charity at the same time
Be able to briefly summarize your story while answering the 5 basics questions (I believe we learned this in elementary school): Who? What? When? Where? And How?
TIP: Local media is more prone to pick up stories that are related to their community - so start there! And don’t forget to blog and use your social media sites to promote your auction...you never know when a journalist might be reading!
If you’d like help finding the right contacts, or just want to brainstorm story ideas, let me know!