How to Submit Promotional Material about Your Nonprofit to the Media

You improve the odds of receiving attention for your nonprofit in the media by providing clear, accurate, and provocative materials in time for consideration and possible use by reporters and broadcasters. Each section of a newspaper and each part of a TV or radio program is made up of materials from multiple sources that are competing for time and space.

Consider the following steps when you submit material to the media:

  1. Even if you’ve purchased a reputable media directory, call to confirm the most appropriate contact person for your story at the newspaper, radio station, TV station, or online outlet, and ask about the format that each wants you to use in your submission.

    Most media outlets want your news release, photographs, and recorded materials to be sent via e-mail. Paste the news release into the body of the e-mail so the recipient doesn’t have to mess with an attachment.

  2. Submit clear and accurate written materials and labeled, good-quality photographs.

    The media generally want photographs to be in the form of high-resolution JPEGs, which work well in print.

  3. Call to see whether your materials have been received.

    Take this opportunity to ask whether more information, further interview contacts, a different format, or additional photography are needed.

  4. If requested, submit additional information immediately and call to confirm its receipt and clarity.

  5. If you don’t receive a clear response (either “Yes, we’ll cover it” or “Sorry, I don’t see the story here”) to your initial release, call again in a few days.

  6. If a member of the media covers an event you’ve announced, provide a media packet (generally on a CD).

    A media packet commonly contains a news release, fact sheet, background information, and photographs. It briefs the reporter about your event and makes it easy for him to check facts when writing a story. If a reporter is covering your event, introduce yourself and be available to answer questions or introduce the reporter to key spokespeople, but don’t be a pest. Let a reporter find his own story.

    You can help the reporter write a better story by recruiting ahead of time constituents who have benefitted from your program and are willing to be interviewed.

  7. If your situation changes and the news release is no longer accurate, immediately call in the change and, if necessary, revise and resubmit your original release.

When making calls and sending e-mails to members of the media, recognize that they’re busy and often working to meet deadlines. If you ask brief, clear questions that they can respond to quickly, you’ll find it easy to engage them. For example, “How many photographs would you like?” is easier to answer than “What do you want a picture of?”

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