Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Media Policy for Nonprofits

My favorite nonprofit marketing professional from Australia, Bob Crawshaw, raises an important many of you have a "media policy"?  Probably not many.  And while I wouldn't want developing a policy turn into a cumbersome process (I hate when that happens) it is worth having a simple policy that outlines what your central messages are; who is authorized to speak to the press or give interviews; social media guidelines; and appropriate adverstising vehicles.  

Additionally, if you have chapters or associated organizations, it is important to conduct media training at least once per year.  Provide them with toolkits, talking points and basics of the interview, to include crisis management (as Bob suggests).  If you think you need help in this area, feel free to call or write me.  Or if you are in contact Bob!  Bunnie

Media Policy for Nonprofits
by Bob Crawshaw, Maine Street Marketing

Recently I worked with a not for profit, with member clubs spread across two states, to develop a policy to help clubs and the Executive manage proactive and reactive media relations.

The policy featured:

•The objectives or why the organisation will engage the media in the coming 12 months.

•An encouragement for clubs to proactively engage their local media outlets as way of telling communities what they and the larger organisation is doing.

•Tools to help clubs such as pre-packaged media backgrounders, fact sheets, templates, speaking points and standard paragraphs for media alerts and media releases.

•Advice on how to access localised media contact lists.

•Guidance on handling media relations in crisis and advocacy situations.

•A media release review process - for all levels - so key players in the organisation know what is to be presented to journalists and what might make news.

•Tips for recycling earned media coverage so that office holders, members and key supporters know what the press is reporting.

•Social media guidelines so what is presented online is consistent with what is presented to traditional media.

And because it is often so expensive, a media policy should spell out the why, when and where advertising will be undertaken and how it will be blended with media relations.
Contact Bob at


  1. Thanks Bob! These are some very good media policy tips nonprofits will do well to note. I think it would be helpful for nonprofits to add an annual review of this policy into their marketing plan as well, which could be reviewed by a couple of board members in a committee meeting.

  2. Thanks for these tips, Bob.

    In my neck of the woods, some parts of this might fall more into a media "plan" (e.g. advice on how to access local media contact lists) rather than a policy, which is something I usually think of as describing the limitations of the big bucket that actions are taken in. Wondering how you separate the two?

    All good advice though.

  3. So many good nonprofits with great causes don't have a good understanding of how to work with the media. This is definitely a case of a little training going a long way!

    Sandy Rees

  4. Given my "event" focus on fundraising auctions, I'm a big fan of getting some media involved in the gala. In smaller communities, where competition is less fierce, it seems easier to get the media behind the effort. (I *love* it when a client gets attention before the gala as it can support ticket sales. That said, oftentimes it comes after the event.) Thanks for the overview and 'big picture' look.

  5. Great stuff! Thanks so much for sharing.

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