Pitch so your non-profit doesn’t strike out.

Baseball season has finally returned. As I sat at Progressive Field this weekend, braving the cold, I couldn’t help but think of pitching. And no I don’t mean the breakdown of the Tribe’s relief staff in the seventh.

The pitching I’m referring to is to the media. For years, the corporate and agency sides have proficiently procured media attention for their clients. As I look into more non-profit organizations, it appears that they too are increasingly proactive with media.

Since it is no secret that non-profits maintain tiny marketing/advertising budgets, free press is definitely the way to go. Approaching the media with your story is great. However, there are some pitfalls non-profit organizations must avoid to become successful.

Pitfall 1: Not everything is news
If your media strategy is to deluge journalists with every mundane coming and going of your organization, don’t expect too many bites.

Media pitching is one area where quality wins over quantity any day. Above all else, a story must be newsworthy. How can you decide if your story is newsworthy? The book Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes offers a three-quiz.

Why now?
Why is this news?
Who cares?

If you can’t answer all of these questions, not waste for energy.

Pitfall 2: Making the same pitch to everyone
The media is like a smorgasbord. There is a little bit out there for everyone. Each newspaper, radio/television station or blogger has a different audience. Don’t make the mistake of creating one cookie-cutter pitch per story.

Each story can be told many different ways. Look for all the different angles. For example let’s say a local library employs senior citizens as its new for-profit bookstore located in a renovated historical landmark. In that one sentence description there are at least three different story angles to pitch to different media. Which angles can you spot?

Pitfall 3: Pitching to inappropriate outlets
Just because a media outlet is popular doesn’t mean it’s good for you. An after-school program for children shouldn’t go for a story in Playboy, no matter how many men read the articles. Ok, that may be extreme, but you get the picture.

If you are a small local non-profit, will a national story help your cause? Why waste your effort going for the limelight when cultivating a relationship with local media will much better serve your interests.

Consider this. If your target audience doesn’t utilize the media outlet, neither should you.

Media relations can do a world of wonders for a non-profit if conducted correctly. Just remember that one-size doesn’t fit all. Each non-profit must create its own unique media relations to get the right attention.

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2 Responses to “Pitch so your non-profit doesn’t strike out.”


  1. 1 Jessica Gore April 24, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    This will be the first blog I have ever read. I think this is a great blog as far as I can tell. I have learned about the pitch in Public Relations this semester. She puts it in great context for me! I especially like the example of the playboy and just because men read it shoud we put examples in it. I thought that was great!!

  2. 2 Kelly Cook April 24, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    This too is the first time I have read and replied to a blog. I felt that this blog was very insightful because often people feel that their idea and pitch is so spectaculur they only need one pitch to reach all mediums. This article brings light to having a quality pitch, focusing on making different pitches to different mediums, and pitching to approriate outlets. Great blog!


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