Thanks to Publicity Hound Beth Bilderback, public relations specialist for Nauticus, a marine science center in Norfolk, Virginia, for this tip that can be used by anyone who receives grant money:
“This summer, we received a hefty grant to fund two oceanography camps for two separate groups of 10th-graders. One requirement was that the students put together a PowerPoint presentation detailing all of their marine biology activities throughout the week and show it on the last day of the camp.
“For one of these last days, we invited both the board of the funding organization and a local reporter, who sent a photographer to follow the kids on their field trip that afternoon so they could get a good visual.
“It was win-win all around. The granters got to see the very real return on their investment. The students were delighted at the attention (parents were of course also invited). The hard work of all who put the camp together was recognized, and the media highlighted a really successful partnership.
“We ended up getting an article on the front page of the local news section. Lesson: Don’t just announce that you’ve received grant money. Follow up with a happy ending.”
That’s great advice, Beth. OK, Hounds. If you’ve put grant money to good use, let the media know the rest of the story. This tip is for non-profits as well as for-profit companies.
Nonprofits, by the way, don’t face more obstacles to generating publicity. It just seems like they do because many of them are on such slim budgets.
Paul Hartunian, who was my guest during a teleseminar called “Failproof Publicity Tips for Your Nonprofit” says one low-cost idea is to set up a free hotline with a tip of the day that relates to the cause or issue you’re promoting. All you need is a telephone and an answering machine. Once you’ve created the hotline, write a press release about it and post the release online.