How to Write a Non-Profit Press Release
At first glance there’s not much of a difference between a press release for a non-profit organization and one for a for profit company. The press releases generally have the same type of goals. Non-profit organizations want to build their brand, increase awareness, drive traffic to specific web pages, and increase their revenues. The same is true for traditional for profit companies.
Format is the same too. With a non-profit press release, you’ll have a boilerplate, a headline, and you’ll include your contact information. The differences are in the body of the press release. They’re subtle but they can make a significant impact on the success of your press release.
Tell a Story
Non-profits have a tendency to spend the majority of their press release repeating their story. They talk about how they got started, what they do, and essentially waste a lot of time justifying their existence. There’s no need to justify your existence, and the one page you have can be put to much better use.
First determine your purpose. What is your press release about? What’s the point? What news are you releasing? Then look around your organization for stories that support your news. Find someone that your organization has helped and interview them. Let the organization’s impact tell your story. They can do it much better than a simple repeat of your “about us” page.
Watch the Language
While for profit organizations can get away with “power words” and hyperbole, non-profits have to be more careful of their language. Avoid jargon and buzzwords. Instead, focus on making sure that your content is clear and easy to understand by anyone outside and inside your industry.
This can be much more difficult than you imagine. Consider asking someone outside your industry to read your press release before you submit it. They may be able to point out areas that aren’t clear and help you improve your release.
A lot of information and storytelling can be conveyed in one or two good quotes. It’s often tempting to get quotes from inside people. You may want to quote your CEO or the founder of the organization. The tendency is to use these people because they help establish authority.
However, your story and your lede may be better enhanced with a quote from someone you’ve helped or someone outside the organization. Quotes should be used in the body of your press release and they can be a strong way to end the release. Spend time finding great quotes as they can be the difference between a so-so release and one that captures attention and helps achieve your goals.
Don’t forget that your non-profit press release can, and should, also contain social media elements. Include relevant images, video links, and hashtags to help brand your organization and generate activity online.