How to Get Local Media to Cover Your Fundraiser

Getting the attention of local media can be a challenge, but the potential payoff makes it very much worth your effort. When a crowdfunding fundraiser draws the attention of even one local media outlet, your cause gets valuable exposure to thousands of people.

Start a fundraiser

Local media exposure can heighten awareness of your cause, significantly broaden the reach of your fundraiser, and dramatically boost the funds you raise. Many community members who learn about your cause may want to contribute, especially if they’re familiar with the beneficiary.

One word of caution: before considering whether you want to reach out to media, understand that you and the beneficiary will be put in the spotlight. Make sure that everyone involved is comfortable with being interviewed and having the story shared publicly.

Research the local media landscape

Stories that appeal to a local audience are more likely to be picked up by newspapers, magazines, bloggers, and TV stations in the area where the beneficiary or organizer lives or where an incident occurred.

  • Create a list of local media contacts at each outlet. Note which ones cover stories like yours.
  • For each, find out who reviews story pitches related to your topic and build a contact list.
  • Look for individuals, rather than bombarding dozens of journalists. Targeting the right people will get you better results than spamming organizations.

How to contact them

  • Find their email. Once your story is concise, you’ve identified a great journalist, and you have beautiful photos ready to go, search the internet for the contact information of your journalist.
  • Use social media. Social media platforms—like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook—are excellent places to reach out to reporters and journalists. With a simple use of “@,” you can get the attention of someone who could be interested in your story.
  • Look for the contact form. Not finding your journalist’s contact information online? Most media organizations have an easy-to-use contact form right on their site.
  • Use your network. While you’ve probably already done a great job sharing your fundraiser link and story via social media and email, have you asked around to see if anyone in your network has local media contacts? You may be surprised at how well connected your supporters are.

Write a press release

In a press release, journalists expect to see information in a very specific structure. They’ll quickly scan each release to see if it’s something they—or their boss—might be interested in covering.

Stories with local appeal are more likely to be picked up by local outlets. Emphasize your cause’s connection to the community served by your target. 

  • Be clear and candid. Make it easy for the reporter to understand your story, verify its accuracy, and see its relevance to their audience.
  • Think like a journalist. Ask yourself: what’s newsworthy about your situation? What makes your cause relevant to current news (maybe a rare health condition or a natural disaster)?
  • Talk about how important your fundraiser is to the beneficiary. Be clear about how funds will be used and the meaningful difference they will make.
  • Include a link to your GoFundMe fundraiser. Before you reach out to local media, your page should be complete, compelling, and ready to be seen by thousands of people.
  • Emphasize community ties. What clubs, churches, synagogues, or local nonprofits are you or the beneficiary connected with? People like to donate to someone with a history of giving to the community.
  • Describe how hopeful you are for a good outcome, and how you’re dealing with challenges. Show that you’re working hard to overcome obstacles—you just need a little help.

Reach out and follow up

Sending out your press release is an important step toward getting local media coverage, but it doesn’t end there.

  • Follow up with an email or phone call a few days later. Ask if there’s any other information you can provide.
  • If you have a favorite reporter or news segment, call and tell them how much you enjoy their reports—and that you think your story would be a good fit.
  • Strong images can inspire an outlet to run your story. If you host a fundraising event, create media-worthy visuals (artwork, costumes, games—anything people will want to photograph or video and share). Invite local media, or send the most compelling images from the event.
  • Once you get coverage, post your story and link to your fundraiser on the newspaper or TV station’s Facebook page.

Create a circle of public interest

We never know which GoFundMe fundraisers are going to capture the hearts of thousands. Could your story be next? Share news coverage using social media to create an expanding circle of interest that can drive even more success for your fundraiser. Start your fundraiser today.