How to Develop Good Relationships With the Media for a Nonprofit Organization

Learning how to develop good relationships with the media for a nonprofit organization is essential to bolstering donations and volunteers to help your cause. You don't need a professional public relations team to effectively communicate with reporters in your area.


  1. 1
    Make a database of key media outlets in your area. Start locally, then expand the list to regional and even national media. Include newspapers, television programs, websites and radio stations. Keep an updated list with personal contact information for each entry.
  2. 2
    Introduce yourself to local reporters who cover your beat. For example, if your non-profit is a domestic violence shelter, contact the reporter who most likely to cover crime or domestic violence issues.
  3. 3
    Give reporters who cover your beat a free copy of any publications you sell and a free ticket to any events you organize. The cost of doing so will be more than offset by any free publicity you garner.
  4. 4
    Pitch story ideas as they come up. Do not pester a reporter to cover every meeting held by your non-profit. Story ideas must pertain to a relevant and timely issue in order to get any notice. It's important to have a human interest angle in mind.
    • If a reporter turns down your story pitch, don't take it personally. It may not work into the reporter's schedule, or she may not find the idea relevant at the time. Don't give up and remain on friendly terms with the person.
  5. 5
    Make time for reporters and be accessible. Don't be afraid to give out your cell phone number. If a reporter cannot reach you with one phone call, he most likely will move on to an alternative source for his story.
  6. 6
    Be accurate and trustworthy when a reporter comes to you for a quote. If you make her miss her deadline or feed her with lousy information, he will not call back the next time he needs help.
  7. 7
    Think on your feet because a reporter isn't going to wait for a canned response from you hours later. When a reporter asks a question, she wants an immediate answer.
    • If there's no way you can answer immediately, ask the reporter when her deadline is. Be sure to get back to her as soon as possible.
  8. 8
    Send press kits or releases to a specific contact at a news organization. Press kits and releases are not as effective as making a call to a reporter, but they are a good way to send background information on your agency. Include your business card so reporters can keep your contact information on file.
  9. 9
    Thank reporters when you are satisfied with the stories they write. Reporters rarely receive praise.


  • Never ask to read copy before it is published as most media outlets have policies against this. Asking does nothing more than alienate the reporter, leaving the impression that you don't trust him to be professional.
  • Don't try to talk the reporter into becoming a member of your organization. Not only does that present a conflict of interest for the reporter, but you're missing the purpose of having him come to your event or writing a feature on your club. The reporter is already giving you free publicity. Answering every question he asks with, "We need to get you signed up!" only annoys the reporter and makes him more hesitant to reach out to you in the future.

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Categories: Finance and Business