Freelance Fundraiser’s Jottings

18 February 2008

Spreading the word for nowt!

One of the ways to get your legacy message to a wider audience is through the local press and other publications. It’s the same as large national charities taking out ads in national newspapers to promote gifts in Wills. However, you are unlikely to have the funds to pay for such a luxury!

So how can you get your message across for next to nothing (or nothing)?

Firstly, you need to build good relations with your local press. Local charities meeting local needs are very newsworthy to local newspapers and their journalists. The more closely you relate to them, the more they are likely to use you, or be open to suggestions from you.

Here are 5 ways to get your legacy message across for nothing:

  1. If you have some interesting stories to tell about your legacy fundraising that you think the public would like to hear about, write it up as a Press Release. For example, we recently had a legacy campaign for the hospice I work in that featured some imitation blue plaques being placed on buildings in Leeds city centre The plaques promoted the fact that it wasn’t only remarkable people who can leave a legacy. So I wrote an article about the use of the plaques and then concluded by giving my contact details if anyone wanted to know more about leaving a gift in their Will to us. The article was picked up by the Yorkshire Evening Post and received excellent coverage.
  2. Talk about the people who left the legacy if there is something special or fascinating about them. Never mention how much the legacy was for, especially larger ones, as this may put people off by thinking we don’t need anymore! I will also change names if I feel it is best to do so, but keep the story real, as people can tell when you’re spinning a yarn. If a family is involved, I will always seek their approval first, to avoid any disapproval or possible conflict.
  3. Be aware that there are quiet news weeks and periods when little or nothing tends to happen (i.e. between Christmas and New Year, after major Bank Holidays or during August.) You will often find journalists gagging for something to write about at these times, so provide them with potential copy about your legacy fundraising.
  4. Free ads! You will notice that when a newspaper has insufficient advertising copy to fill all its space, they will place an ad saying: “You could be advertising your company here!” They do it, because it looks better to have something rather than a blank space. So why not suggest (this is where having a good, close relationship with them comes to the fore!) that they could drop in an ad for your charity when they have such a space? You will need to provide them with camera-ready artwork for the ad (usually in .pdf or .eps format), so that you make it as simple as possible for them to do this. In a high profile regional newspaper, this could be worth several hundred pounds a time, so you are getting a very good deal!
  5. Look out for local freebie papers and other local magazines who might also be prepared to cover your news. People like a good story, especially if it’s good news!

If you would like help to begin to promote your charity’s need for gifts in Wills, please get in touch with me. My contact details can be found on my About page.

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