Now that you have some knowledge of how to buy media, now let’s learn how to get it for free for your 501(c)3 organization.
Why do you want it? Having media exposure for your event/organization provides you with larger exposure of your message to people who aren’t already on your mailing list or a Facebook fan.
When should you ask for it? When you have a major fundraising event of the year, like a gala, a walk, or a benefit concert. You shouldn’t just ask for branding or general exposure that can run at any time; some media might be okay with that, but you’ll get way more free media when you actually have a specific reason.
Why would media give anything away for free? There are specific people in each media outlet that have the job of working with public service organizations. So the real question is, why would they give you anything for free? Usually it’s because they’re interested in your cause AND they have the ability to justify giving away the media. How do they feel justified? If you GIVE THEM THINGS, too. For example, leading up to the event, give them “thank you” exposure for being a sponsor through your communication tools that will help them reach your people who may then “thank them” for sponsoring by buying media for their own company. During the event, make sure there’s enough “thank you” exposure and possibly a way for them to pitch to the attendees why they should buy media for their own company.
How do you show the value of what you have to offer the media? Questions to ask yourself about your communications and the people who receive them:
-Who is on your e-mail/direct mail list? Do you know from their email addresses that they learn more about you through their company’s address or their personal? Have you gathered additional information when they asked to be on your list, like what company they work for?
-Who are your major personal donors and do they own local companies who might regularly buy advertising?
-Who are your corporate sponsors and do they become actively engaged with your program so that bigwigs would potentially attend your event?
-Who have been past attendees at your event? Are there any recognizable local celebrities/socialites who usually are seen at other events and therefore probably wouldn’t mind getting mentioned as a possible future attendee?
-Who are your friends on Facebook? Do you have friends that are major companies that might see a post on your timeline from their newsfeed?
-Who is on your board? Usually, they are major players in the community and have pull in their own organizations and are usually a part of other organizations/events that can help get the message out.
-Do you have a marketing committee? You want to find advertising/marketing savvy people who already have connections where they can leverage their media relationships to make asking for it so much easier.