by Jill Westeyn
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.4 million nonprofit organization in the United States. While some nonprofits are highly specialized and unique, others may be “competing” against hundreds of similar organizations to raise money for the same cause. In either case, it is important for your nonprofit to maintain and make available a media kit. A media kit is a public relations tool that is used to tell the story of your organization (usually to the media) through facts, statistics, testimonials, news articles, biographies, etc. A media kit (sometimes referred to as a press kit) may be hard or soft copy. Many nonprofit organizations fail to have a media kit due to lack of staff, lack of awareness as to the importance of one, or even the belief that one is not needed. Not having a media kit is one of the biggest mistakes a nonprofit can make.
Media kits are an essential tool for sharing key points about your organization with the media. While you may be able to predict what events a reporter may be likely to attend, you will never know when a reporter will call, wanting to run a story on your organization, and asking for specific information on a moment’s notice. Reporters no longer cover beats like the local nonprofit community as they did in the past. Therefore, it is more important than ever for nonprofits to be prepared to do the reporter’s homework and ensure the key messages and correct facts are researched and made readily available. A lack of a media kit may cost not only the story, but keep thousands of readers and potential donors from learning about your organization.
Here are three basic documents each nonprofit should include in a media kit:
- Fact Sheets
Fact Sheets concisely describe your organization’s mission to its key publics. Some nonprofits have one fact sheet, summarizing their organization as a whole, while others, usually larger nonprofits, have a main fact sheet, and shorter program-specific fact sheets.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQs help eliminate basic questions that a reporter may ask during an interview, leaving more time to focus on key organizational messages that you wish to convey. Additionally, FAQs encourage participation from donors and volunteers, as it makes your organization easier to understand and seem more “down-to-earth”.
Biographies put a name and face with your nonprofit, humanizing it and making it more accessible to the people who read about it. It is important to have a biography about your organization and also its leaders.
Media kits are an essential, must-have tool for sharing key points about your organization with the media. Enable your nonprofit to reach alarger, growing audience by creating a media kit. To learn more about how to do so, please view my webinar “The Importance of Media Kits for Nonprofit Organizations.”
Jill Westeyn is a program manager for the Air Force Association. Her writings have been published in numerous trade journals, newspapers and organizational newsletters. Additionally, she is currently a Master’s degree candidate at Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies. Learn more about Jill on LinkedIn or send your questions and comments by tweeting @JillWesteyn.