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How to write a crowdfunding press release

Few things can boost your fundraising efforts like media coverage, which can help your crowdfunding campaign to possibly go viral and bring in new donors. The first step toward getting media coverage is usually a well-written press release. 

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A successful press release covers key information about your cause and convinces media professionals that your story is newsworthy. It’s important to approach the media in a considered and targeted way. Before you start writing your press release, look for similar stories and ask yourself what makes them compelling and newsworthy. How can you tell a similar story about your fundraiser and beneficiaries, one that will grab people’s interest?

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Research media and journalists

Make a list of the major local media outlets in your area. Which publications and journalists cover topics closely related to your cause? Consider the angle you want to pursue—will you focus mostly on local media? Will you contact journalists in print, online, or broadcast media? Know the answers to these questions before you begin writing.

  • Search for stories like yours and find the byline—the name of the reporter who covered or wrote about the story. Find that reporter’s contact information and add it to your list of contacts.
  • Think about your category. If you’re crowdfunding to cover medical expenses, seek out health magazines or blogs. If you’re raising money for an athlete’s rehabilitation program, find writers or editors who focus on athletics, such as your local newspaper’s sportswriter.
  • Local media are more inclined to write about your campaign when you emphasize connections to the community.
  • Look for special segments that feature inspirational stories or highlight people making a difference. These kinds of programs are the perfect fit for charity fundraisers.
  • If your story gets picked up by a local network station, there’s a chance it could be featured nationally on the network’s other stations. Make sure to add network affiliate TV stations to your list.

Lay out the basics

Now you’re ready to craft the press release. Your first step is to gather all the essential information you need to convey. Take a few moments to hash out the major details of your campaign. These should cover the “Five W’s” of journalism:

  • Who: Let readers know who you are. Describe how your values are connected to the cause. Make a personal connection with your readers.
  • What: Clearly and concisely describe your beneficiary or the cause for which you’re fundraising.
  • When: How long will the campaign last? When do you hope to reach your goal or complete your project?
  • Where: Which communities will be directly affected or improved by your fundraiser?
  • Why: (This is arguably the most important question of the five.) Why should the reader care? Your cause may be incredibly important to you, but unless your press release conveys why it’s important to others, no one will want to see it in the news.
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Order your information

Now that you’ve outlined the basic facts, consider the most engaging way to reveal the information.

  • Begin with something that’s relevant to readers. For example, if you’re raising money to pay for medical treatment, consider leading with a fact about the rising cost of healthcare, or referencing a new piece of research on your disease or condition. For community fundraisers, lead with the need and the potential impact on the community.
  • Quickly transition to your fundraising campaign, providing the basic information that relates to your lead sentence.
  • Work in more information as your press release unfolds. A general framework is to start with the most important pieces first. Then, after capturing the attention of readers, fill in the details.
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Write from the perspective of the journalist

Write your press release as if it were an article—sometimes press releases are printed as stories with few changes. If you make it easy for journalists to write a story by borrowing heavily from your release, then you reduce the amount of work it takes to put your story in the news.

  • Adopt a tone that mimics that of the writer or publication you’re contacting. Most journalists tend to use concise, straightforward language that avoids exaggeration.
  • Write for an audience. Take a moment to reflect on the publications you’re contacting and consider who reads them. Emphasize information that you think would be of the most interest to those readers.
typewriter

Adjust the formatting and add final touches

A final polish is crucial when writing a press release. Ask a friend who’s a strong writer or editor to proofread your work. Make sure your document looks and reads well, has all the necessary information, and includes contact details.

  • Use the AP style guide when writing.
  • Use a clear, readable typeface such as Times or Helvetica.
  • Write a headline that catches the reader’s attention and accurately summarizes your story. Look carefully at your first two sentences—are they clear and informative? Can you sum them up in one concise and catchy headline?
  • At the top of the page, include the words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,” unless you do not want to make the information immediately public. In that case, use “HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL [date].”
  • Include contact information in the upper right-hand corner. Include a name, title, company, or organization name (if applicable), and an address and phone number.
  • Spell check. Read it out loud. Get feedback from friends. Refine as needed.

Start the presses

A compelling and concise press release can put your campaign in the spotlight and dramatically raise awareness around your cause. Offer journalists a newsworthy story, and they’ll give your fundraiser the attention it deserves. For more great strategies that will help your crowdfunding campaign be successful, see our Fundraising Tips page. Start your free fundraiser today.

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