A common response to the question ‘what do you want media for?’ is usually something along the lines of raising rapid money quickly or hitting board-led ROIs.
Those are fine and lofty goals, but doing this for your not for profit (NFP) is better suited to a well-resourced marketing and advertising campaign.
The role of a PR campaign is to shape public opinion on an event, industry, or issue. How raising money for ‘X’ will make a difference to millions of people’s lives or why the government needs to increase funding for ‘Y’ sector. PR campaigns often have the aim of creating a lasting impression on the public which will impact their donating behaviour.
This article will be focusing on PR campaigns for your NFP. There are three types of PR campaigns you can employ to advance your NFP, depending on your goals, timeline and budget.
The burst campaign is a short campaign, spanning several weeks to a month, and is built around a specific event at a point in time, e.g. to raise $50,000 by a certain date.
The advantage of a burst campaign is it is affordable – especially compared to the cost of a marketing budget – and has a specific focus. If you have a strong story hook you can get ‘free’ publicity through the traditional media and will be able to ask the public for support, or an action to be taken.
The burst campaign is best suited to a one off, modest, non-repeatable goal.
The pulse campaign typically runs over several months and is focused around a series of events and stakeholders. It may include a soft launch, official launch, a series of actions or activities, and the involvement of other parties, e.g. an annual health awareness campaign built around a series of media engagements, stakeholder buy-in, and events to help build public understanding of an issue.
The advantage of a pulse campaign is that you have a longer lead time, allowing you to find preferred media outlets or media partners to help work up a story. You might get coverage for that across several platforms and programs. Stakeholder outreach allows you to get more media interest and access to more case studies which are central to bringing your campaign to life.
A lobbying campaign is much more effective when long-term or significant change is sought. That might be introducing or changing a law, asking for significant funding, or building public recognition of your organisation and its industry leadership.
A lobbying campaign usually has a series of policy and/or funding objectives that an organisation, peak body, or campaigning group wants to see instituted by the government at various levels.
The length of a campaign is usually commensurate with the scale of the undertaking. If a lot of convincing is needed, so is a lot of time. A lobbying campaign also requires additional material and financial resources and platforms to begin the process of winning the public to your campaign objectives.
To be successful, a lobbying campaign will:
● Establish an expert advisory panel to formulate campaign goals
● Find campaign ambassadors to advocate for the campaign
● Engage in stakeholder and ally outreach to build a coalition of support
● Create a slate of arguments that your campaign will prosecute in the media
● Create campaign collateral (infographics, reports, video testimonials)
● Use traditional media (print, online, TV, radio) to raise the debate
● Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to continue the debate and target specific cohorts based on occupation, interest, or geography
● Use digital media (landing pages, websites, petitions) to build a passive and active (funders, skills, time) supporter base
● Organise meetings with politicians to discuss campaign and secure support
There’s more involved but the above will form the bones of a campaign that will place your brand into the public’s consciousness and attract the eyes and ears of the government.
Founder and Director of Good Talent Media