The Best Kept Secret in PR and How to Use it To Unlock Funding

As a not for profit, raising funds, attracting donations and successfully applying for grants is vital activity. It’s also not an easy one. But did you know that PR can open more of these doors for you? There’s a secret to PR that most people aren’t aware of. If you use it cleverly, the scope is huge.

Here are our top tips for how to can make a positive change to secure more income for your not for profit organisation.

  1. Making the case for support

There are usually several charities, social enterprises and not for profits related to any one cause or issue. This is where you need great PR to make a tangible difference.

Firstly, you need to ensure you have a strong ‘elevator pitch’. This is something you will be able to use, not just in your press releases and online, but also in your social media bios and in your funding applications. The task of creating it will make you think carefully about how you want to talk about your organisation, then when you have it you know you can be consistent in your messaging.

If you’re unfamiliar with this term, an elevator pitch is a brief (think 30 seconds) way of introducing yourself/ your organisation, getting across a key point or two, and making a connection with someone. It’s called an elevator pitch because it takes about the same amount of time to say as you’d spend riding in an elevator with someone.

In addition to giving people a clear cause to respond to, PR can also reinforce how seriously you take your funding and show that funds are spent appropriately, and with impact. These elements are exciting to a potential donor – giving people the chance to play their part in creating meaningful and positive change.

  1. Storytelling

Case studies are incredibly strong tools. We often find that organisations either have a lot of them yet don’t use them enough, or have none at all. Either way, they are perfect for adding to your grant applications and so having them and sharing them is really important. They bring your organisation to life and are particularly powerful if you can accompany the words with a photograph.

We’d recommend implementing an in-house checklist or process so you never lose any valuable testimonials and case studies. For example:

  • When the case studies have been signed off and approved by everyone involved, file them in an online marketing folder – making sure you accompany with the relevant photos and include the initials of the author.
  • Caption the photos – so they correspond to your story. If there’s up to 4 or 5 people in your picture we’d recommend getting everyone’s names too (this adds authenticity to your stories)
  • Add these stories to your website – do you have a section that would suit? If not, think about introducing a SPOTLIGHT, NEWS or BLOG section.
  • Link to these stories via your social channels.

Follow these steps and you’ll never mislay any of this valuable content.

  1. The power of media coverage

If you’re already proactive with PR, you should be used to getting great media coverage. With the demise of printed press, much of this is likely to be online. If you’re getting lots of press coverage, make sure you grab all those URLs of where it appears and include these in your grant applications.

If it doesn’t slot easily into a section, consider having an “IN THE HEADLINES” appendix. Don’t just include the website link, also include a few screen grabs of coverage. It looks impressive and will help you stand out from the crowd.

If you haven’t started down the road of getting regular PR coverage, that might be a huge hole that could be easily filled. In a matter of weeks, PR can start to put an organisation on the map. We’d be happy to offer some advice of how PR could help you if this hasn’t been something you’ve explored before.

  1. People and photography

Don’t get distracted by stock photography. Yes, these images may look professional, but they will lack the emotional connection you’ll convey with one of your own photographs. When applying for a grant, or even launching a fundraising campaign, we would always recommend using a real-life image – one that you or your team have taken.

If you struggle to capture images, why not set up a WhatsApp group for select team members? Encourage your colleagues to upload images when they are out and about at projects or events etc. Just make sure only one person responsible for saving all these or it can get complicated.

Top tip: make sure that whenever one of the team uploads a picture to your new WhatsApp group that they also include a one-line description.

  1. Thank you

Whenever you have funding success make sure you use your PR to say thank you – on your website, via your social media and in the press. This may well help you when it comes to the next round of grants and will also show people that you are an organisation to respect. Thank yous always go a long way.

Recognition is particularly important when it comes to corporate support. Businesses will usually want their contribution to be visible through PR to their industry, their local community and to potential customers.

Whether you do your PR in house or outsource, make sure you draw on all your hard work and success when applying for grants, appealing for support and designing fundraising campaigns. It really is budget well spent.

To find out more about how clever PR could boost your funding, please get in touch with the team at Pilkington Communications.

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