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Media relations in an election year

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Stacy Jones

Stacy Jones

Stacy Jones

Many nonprofits are public policy issue driven and that is an asset in gaining media attention during an election year.

The recent “Step Up for Kids Day” (Sept. 16) is the perfect example of nonprofit leaders utilizing their own expertise to educate the public and the candidates on relevant children’s issues while gaining media attention across the nation.

Every Child Matters, with the support and participation of several other nonprofits, coordinated a nationwide event at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.

On the same day, advocates, volunteers, parents and kids across the country came together at each of the state capitols to highlight important issues facing children and families in all 50 states. Along with local and national media attention, advocates helped focus candidates’ attention on issues such as poverty, health care, early care and education, child abuse and child care.

Here’s how your nonprofit can do the same.

Pay attention to what the media is covering and know the issues the candidates are discussing. It’s important to make sure your campaign will be relevant to the larger national debate. Issues that the candidates are not discussing will be harder to garner media attention for during the election year.

Capitalize on your own expertise and be part of the bigger picture.   Get involved in the political campaign and bring your expertise on important issues to the forefront. Position your nonprofit leaders as experts by writing position papers and op-eds, by hosting events, and by providing research and briefings on the issues to educate the public and the candidates.

Find partners to maximize the strength of your voice.  There are many nonprofits across the country and in your own state that focus on the same issues and care about the same causes. Many nonprofits coming together will make a stronger impact to promote your message rather than a local community-based nonprofit attempting this on its own.

Use media tools such as YouTube, blogs and social-networking sites in conjunction with tradition media outlets to focus on the issues important to your cause. Utilizing various media tools will strengthen the impact of your message and will allow a broader reach.


Stacy Jones is a nonprofit marketing consultant based in Troy, N.Y., and a Shoestring Creative Group Network Affiliate.  Stacy can be reached at affiliates@shoestringgroup.com or 1-888-835-6236.

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