Distributing a press release is a great way to spread the word about your fundraising event. The local media is always interested in activities and events happening in the community, especially when there is a positive angle for a story, such as an opportunity for the public to give back.
Writing Your Press Release
When preparing your fundraising event press release, remember that you are not writing the story for the media. Your news release should contain just enough information to spark interest from editors so they contact you for an interview…and hopefully write a story about your fundraising event.
Your press release should be short and sweet. No more than one page that describes the purpose of your fundraiser, how you intend to make a difference, as well as general details about the event. There are some basic guidelines you’ll want to follow when writing a press release. Use a professional and objective tone that does not sound too promotional, and be sure to proofread thoroughly. Summarize the purpose of your event right in the introduction. Often only the first paragraph will be read…and depending on those details, people choose to read further. Be sure to include contact information so media know who to call for more information, as well as a website URL where people can register or make online donations.
Below are some additional topics you may want to include in your fundraising event press release:
- Information about your organization and why you are doing the fundraiser
- What is the cause of the fundraiser and who will benefit from funds raised (what is the crisis or need for these funds you are trying to raise? Create a sense of urgency!)
- Are there any influential people participating (community leaders, local celebrities, etc.)
- What can people do to help? Sign up to volunteer? Make online donations? Participate in the fundraising event? Help spread the word?
- Include a human interest factor such as a quote from a representative of the organization, sponsor or someone well-known in the local community
- Basic event details: Date, Time, Location (and map)
- What goals have you set and will anything happen if the goals are attained?
- What else is happening at the event that may entice people to attend? Entertainment, food and drinks, contests and prizes? Are there any incentives for participating and/or donating?
- Are there any interesting photo opportunities for newspaper photographers to capture? (i.e. large check presented to charity)
- Contact Information to obtain more information: Name, phone, and email
- Website URL for information, registration, and online contributions
When to distribute the release?
You may want to consider distributing more than one release. A pre-event release can go out months in advance to announce the upcoming event. This is a good way to start creating a “buzz” in the local community, as well as get listed on event calendars. You don’t need to have every detail worked out at this point, but listing your fundraising website will give people a place to go to find out more information as it becomes available, register to participate, volunteer or make online donations.
The week of your fundraising event, you will want to distribute another press release, only this time, you’ll need to fatten out the details. If you’ve secured any sponsors during the planning period, you can mention them in this release as well as event attractions that may draw people in such as entertainment, celebrity appearances, contests and prizes, etc. At this time you may also want to reference how well the fundraising efforts have gone. Have you achieved your financial goals? If not, perhaps this is a call to request for last-minute support of your cause.
Following your fundraising event, you may want to do one more press release to summarize your fundraising efforts. Were you able to accomplish your goals? What was the event turnout like? Share photos and stories from participants. Perhaps mention local businesses or individuals that went above and beyond.