How to create newsworthy press releases for your nonprofit

A press release is a tool that your nonprofit can use to share important updates, event details or other newsworthy information with members of the media. Not everything your nonprofit does will need to be communicated through a press release, but by sharing pertinent updates you can secure earned media coverage that furthers your mission, attracts attendees to your events and alerts future and current supporters about your work.

Before you begin crafting and sharing a press release, you need to determine if your topic is newsworthy. This can be especially tricky if you’re working with leadership who wants to share every single organizational update with the media. For example, there is a time and place for sharing a staff or board update, but not every person who joins your team needs to be announced to the media.

Ensuring your press releases are well thought out will make it easier to build relationships with journalists and other media contacts. You want to build credibility and trust by providing timely and topical releases.

There are many different factors to define “newsworthiness” and each news outlet has unique parameters to determine what they will share with their audience. While coverage is never guaranteed, asking these questions can help you frame your release in a manner that is more likely to get picked up.

Ask yourself these questions as a starting point to determine if your news is press release worthy.

  • Is it timely?

    The news cycle moves quickly and topics covered are usually about what has just happened, is currently happening or is upcoming.


  • Is the topic familiar and close in proximity to your target audience?

    For instance, if you’re based in the midwest and have an in-person festival targeted at local audiences then you would want to start by spreading the news to local and regional papers before deciding to distribute to national media outlets.


  • Is this a topic of human interest?

    People want to hear about everyday people especially when there is an emotional component that will move them to action. Your organization, while it likely has a rich, storied history, is made up of people. Consider how you can share the humanity of an individual or group within the organization (the leaders, artists and the stories being told) in your press releases.


  • Is there a current conflict or controversy that is somehow connected to our organization?

    If your organization meets a community need or has programming related to a conflict,  this may be an ideal time to pitch your news to media outlets. We would never recommend capitalizing on times of tragedy, but if your organization supports a community in need, people will be looking for ways to support that community and you want to make sure your organization is top of mind.  In times of crisis, even smaller organizations can receive major media attention by strategically sharing their positive impact. 

Keep in mind that media coverage is never guaranteed, especially when the news cycle moves so quickly. With news available 24/7, people have constant access to new information. By crafting thoughtful press releases, you will set yourself and your organization up for success in earning coverage, and reaching your core audience.

Connect with us and to get support on your public relations!

Ready to level up your PR strategy? Public Relations is the cornerstone of what we do. We will work with you to clearly communicate your institution’s mission, identify differentiating factors, contact media, and ultimately reach your target patron base. We’ve been there and we get how multifaceted non-profit staff are expected to be. Because of this, we strive to take the pressure off so staff can focus on their roles. We work with all sizes and budgets. Contact us.

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