11 Mar Getting Extraordinary Results for Charities
Over Christmas we ran a competition offering one organisation 50 hours of free PR support (our Adapt, Recover, Rebuild packages). At least a third of the entries were from charities and social enterprises. Working with charities is not a new thing for us, and it’s something we’re increasingly focusing on more and more. Not just because it feels good to be helping charities, but because we’ve learnt what’s important and we know we can really help to make a difference.
Quite simply, helping charities be visible in all the right places through strategic public relations can and does have extraordinary results. But it’s that word strategic that matters. You need to think in advance about what you want to do and carefully select the right tasks to make a difference.
If you’re a charity and you’re looking to improve your PR & Communications this year, then here are Pilkington Communications’ top tips:
This is a short description of who you are and what you do, getting in all the right details in a concise format. You can use it on your website home page, in funding applications, when you are doing speeches and presentations and more. It’s called an elevator pitch because, quite simply, your synopsis should be short enough to grab the attention of your audience in the short space of time it takes to ride a few floors in a lift/elevator.
Done right, this short speech helps you to introduce yourself to career and business connections in a compelling way. It can help you build your network, secure support, or connect with new people.
One of the first tasks we did with the winner of our competition, Track NN (pictured), was to finetune the organisation’s elevator pitch. This brief synopsis is now used by the team to explain what it is they do to funders, businesses interested in donating, to adults with autism, their parents, carers, and any other interested party.
It’s important to create fresh and engaging content to build brand awareness and inspire your audience into action. Bring your stories to life and make sure you have uplifting case studies. This could be about people you work with, organisations you support or businesses that love to support you.
Comment and Blog
Charities are experts at what they do, so we encourage our clients to comment and blog. But don’t do this on an ad hoc basis. Create a little content plan, at least a few months in advance. Think about what you want to say, what you stand for and how you want to inspire or interact with your audience. Most importantly, think about what you want to get out of it and make sure your blogs help you achieve your goals.
Social media is essential but can be very time consuming. It is all too easy to either spend hours every day on your different channels or neglect them out of lack of resource. We recommend you use some simple tools to keep on top of the topics you need to. For example, you can use Hootsuite to track keywords and hashtags and keep an eye on them to piggyback off key topics and trends.
Influencers often tease about reports coming out, events they are going to etc. Monitor them and share them to be part of the conversation.
If there is a news story relevant to your organisation, call a journalist and put yourself forward as a guest/expert. It makes their job easier, and once they get to know you, you are likely to get more and more press enquiries. Don’t wait for the media to come to you.
Also make sure you get good news stories out about what you’re doing. At Christmas we supported the marketing manager of Delapré Abbey with a press campaign to promote their festive events. It culminated with a live broadcast from the house on BBC Look East. Visitor numbers to the Abbey’s website soared during and after the TV coverage, and almost all of their Christmas events quickly sold out.
Never underestimate the power of a photo. People buy into people, so get permission from your clients, members and supporters and take their photos. It is often worth investing in a couple of hours of professional photography – which you can use on your website, in brochures, presentations, social media and the press.
One of our oldest charity clients is Teamwork Trust. Instead of recruiting for a PR Assistant they outsourced their PR to us. It simply makes excellent business sense. We’ve been working with Teamwork Trust for over five years and in that time we have secured them TV, radio, online and print coverage, helped with training and presentations, submitted multiple award nominations (they have won almost all of them), created digital content, run social media campaigns, and worked with their service-users to write and design promotional material.
This month we have also started working with Aquarius, a Midlands-based charity with over forty years’ experience helping people overcome the harms caused by mental ill health, alcohol, drugs and gambling. Our remit is to help this charity officially launch in Northamptonshire. We spotted a perfect fit with another of our clients, so we were able to make an introduction and Aquarius now has its first Northamptonshire based business supporter. Now that feels like a good day’s work.
We are particularly proud of our work with not for profits, and a key focus of ours moving forward will be to work with more charitable organisations. If you’re a charity that could benefit from some PR & Communications support, we’d love to have a chat with you. Please do get in touch.