© 2018 7
Through On-Staff Experts
Your organization has a wealth of
experts — teachers, health professionals
or advisers — who may have a great deal
to share with your community. Helping
them spread their knowledge also helps
bring positive attention to you.
• Start a speakers bureau. Create a
series of general interest topics that
fit your experts’ skills, and develop
brief biographies of each one.
Encourage service clubs and
business groups to invite them to
speak at their meetings.
• Make them available to the media.
Send lists of experts and their fields
to television stations, radio
programs, newspaper section editors
and business and trade publications.
Each has opportunities to do stories
or segments about nutrition,
gardening, finance, parenting and
almost any other general interest
category. You can be the go-to
person when they need sources.
• Host or sponsor community
workshops. Summer fitness,
babysitting safety, quick family
meals, planning your annual budget
are just a few examples of ways to
spotlight your experts while also
providing a valuable service.
• Start a mentoring program. Your
staff experts can help keep your
organization in touch with younger
constituents by serving as career
mentors in their fields. Meet with
each potential mentor to discuss the
types of skills they can easily share
with a high school or college
student interested in the field. Once
you have several lined up, contact
local schools to inform them of
• Suggest them as news feature
subjects. A pediatrics nurse takes
time off to volunteer in Haiti. An
avian specialist from the local zoo
heads to the Gulf Coast to help
rescue birds who have been
harmed by oil in the wetlands.
Keep up to date on what your co-
workers are doing in their spare
time, especially when they are
using their expertise for good
causes in other locations. These
are stories to be shared.
Do More Thinking Outside the Box
By Yvette Boysen
Breaking news is something most nonprofits cannot offer the media, but that
doesn’t mean your organization cannot have news coverage.
“Nonprofits have something even more powerful than breaking news — they
have an impactful mission,” explains Lisa Barone, chief marketing officer at Overit
(Albany, NY). “The work of nonprofits brings awareness to causes, improves lives,
lifts others and gives a voice where one is often lacking. These types of human interest
stories, stories of real change happening, are of great interest to reporters who are
themselves trying to break through the noise and get their own stories heard.”
According to Barone, nonprofits have a lot to offer.
For starters, they actually have a story, and these stories produce emotion.
Journalists love these stories because their audiences do. They tug on
heartstrings. They keep people up at night. These stories are a reporter’s dream
Secondly, nonprofits have passionate supporters who willingly spread the
word. To a reporter, this means their story is not only being read, it’s likely being
Additionally, nonprofits can tell a story visually. Photos and videos can enhance
But how can an organization put these benefits to work? Barone offers four
ways to think outside the box and get your nonprofit in the news:
1. Create and share your news. Take advantage of social media to announce your
organization’s news. “By sharing what you’re doing, telling your own case
studies and sharing experience, you become someone the media will trust
reaching out to because they know you have good information,” she says.
“Expand upon this further by developing a street team — be it volunteers,
board members or other stakeholders — who are willing to share your story
with their own audiences.”
2. Be ready. Have visuals ready to go. Content that is easy to find and ready to use
is appreciated. If possible, Barone suggests a “one-stop-shop” or online
newsroom featuring background information as well as press releases and
3. “Newsjack” topics when appropriate. Even though your organization isn’t the
one with breaking news, take advantage of the news of others. Because
newsjacking is frequently “a game of speed,” Barone recommends creating
Google Alerts to monitor news related to your organization’s cause. When you
find a story your nonprofit can comment on, do so and share it on social media.
The key to making this effort successful, though, is using keywords, as this will
increase the chances of your organization being contacted by the media as an
4. Think local. Seek out opportunities for your organization to be involved in the
community. Examples include being involved in your local chamber of
commerce, speaking at events or even sponsoring a local sports team.
“Nonprofits live and die by donations and the engagement of their members,”
Barone says. “Getting your name out and shining a light on the work you do makes
people proud to be associated with you and more passionate about supporting your
Source: Lisa Barone, Chief Marketing Officer, Overit, Albany, NY. Phone (518) 465-8829.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.overit.com
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