Revised with new information as of May
A free resource for nonprofit
organizations, NGOs, civil society organizations,
public sector organizations, and other mission-based agencies
Jayne Cravens, www.coyotecommunications.com
Creating A Guide to Media / List of
Outreach Points for Your Org
& Monitoring Media Coverage
One of the very first things I do when I start a job where outreach
and/or community engagement are part of my responsibility is to start
compiling a media guide: a list of local newspapers, local radio
stations, international radio programs that might cover the area where
I'm working, local TV stations, international TV programs
that might cover the area where I'm working,
reporters in the area working for international press (stringers), and
bloggers with a large readership. I also compile a list of large local
nonprofits/non-governmental organizations (NGOs), regardless of their
focus, local NGOs focused on the same issues as the organization I am
associated with, and local affiliations of international NGOs, as well
as government programs that are somehow related to the mission of the
organization where I'm working and key government officials.
Postal mailing addresses and phone numbers are kept in a spreadsheet
or other kind of database. Email addresses are kept in the same
database, as well as within whatever email client I'm using. I also
create Twitter lists of these different outreach points, if they have
Twitter handles, within a Twitter account the organization will keep
when I'm gone; I may or may not make each list public, depending on
the list nature. For instance, if I have a Twitter list called
"negative", and it's a list of media outlets, bloggers and others that
are repeatedly, even relentlessly critical of the organization or
cause, that list is going to be private. But I need to have such a
list, so I can monitor what they are saying.
In the 20th
Century, before the Internet became widespread, such media guides
were often compiled and sold - by a local newspaper, by a
nonprofit, even by a phone company. But now, these ready-made
guides are hard to find, so you have to DIY (do it yourself). So,
in that respect, it's gotten much harder to map and maintain a media
guide. But here's the good news: it's MUCH easier to monitor media
coverage than it used to be!
There was a time when you had to pay big bucks for a media monitoring
service, which would have paid staff members read mountains of
newsprint, looking for your organization's name. The staff were
trained in such a way that they might miss articles that quoted your
executive director, but didn't name your organization. They wouldn't
see opinion pieces that talked about the issues your program addresses
if those pieces never named your organization.
Now, media monitoring is oh-so much easier, via free tools like GoogleAlerts.
You will want to monitor the name of your organization via its full,
exact name and via all the other names used, even if a name is
incorrect. You will also want to monitor the name of the head of your
organization. You may also want to search for the name of a
high-profile event you are coordinating, or a partner organization
with which you work freely. You can set up these alerts so that you
receive an alert, via email, the moment the system finds the article,
or once a day, or once a week.
If there is an exact phrase you wanted searched, put the phrase in
quotes. For instance, I don't have an alert for volunteering,
and I don't have an alert for virtual,
but I do have an alert for "virtual volunteering." If your
organization's leader has a name that is not unique - such as John
Williams, you will want to add more to the search term so
that you get info only for YOUR John
Williams. So, for instance, if you are in Kabul, Afghanistan,
your search term should be "John
Williams" and Kabul.
Here are some of the terms I have in my GoogleAlert:
"EU aid volunteer"
"world heritage volunteers"
"World Youth Skills Day"
Take the time to read
Even with all this automation, you still have to take time to READ. You
need to read the alerts as they come in. You will need to take time to
look at your Twitter lists and see what the media and other
organizations are saying. This takes real time. Put a reoccuring time on
your calendar for you to take the time to do this review at least
weekly; put it on your shared calendar, so colleagues won't schedule you
for meetings at that time, and have your instant messenger app show you
You are never done
You are never done with putting together your media guide or to setting
up your automated media monitoring. Publications and bloggers will come
and go, stringers will be replaced, Twitter accounts will be abandoned
and new ones will rise up...
Press Outreach for Not-for-Profit and Public Sector Organizations
Like fund raising, press relations is an ongoing cultivation
process. Your agency strategy for press coverage needs to go beyond
trying to land one big story -- you want the press to know that you
are THE agency to contact whenever they are doing a story on a
subject that relates to your mission. These are basic, low-cost/no
cost things you can do to generate positive attention from the
for Taking Photos in the Developing World
While working in Kabul, Afghanistan,
I developed a MS Powerpoint for staff on taking photos in the field.
The communications office at this particular initiative relies
heavily on all staff, particular Afghan staff, no matter what their
job titles, to take photos whenever possible at events and workshops
and during project site visits. This is because many staff are
prohibited from traveling to certain parts of Afghanistan;
international staff are sometimes prohibited from leaving Kabul
altogether. This presentation/training touches on both the kinds of
photos needed and how to take photos in a culturally-sensitive
manner. This presentation is focused on a specific program and a
specific country (Afghanistan), but maybe by changing the photos and
a bit of text, it could work for you?
to Ask for a Major Report from the Developing World
Most people who write reports about their projects in the developing
world rely heavily on field staff to provide information. Often,
however, field staff aren't expert report writers, and struggle to
provide meaningful, timely information in a coherent written form.
Many report writers get around this by interviewing field staff
about their work, so that needed information is provided through
answers to questions. This method can also build the capacity of
field staff to provide written information themselves. This is a
list of questions I used to interview staff at an initiative
that was focused on rural projects. I based these questions on
previous monthly and quarterly reports, suggestions from donors, the
initiatives stated objectives, and my own need for information that
could lead to stories in which the press might be interested.
Staff Capacities to Communicate and to Present
Marketing and public relations is never just one person's
responsibility at an organization, regardless of everyone's job
titles; everyone at an organization will interact with other staff,
partner organizations, potential supporters and the general public
at some point. Therefore, everyone needs to be able to talk or to
write clearly about his or her own work and that of the organization
overall. This new resource describes various activities I undertook
to improve the communication capacities of Afghan government staff.
This resource links to various slide presentations and materials
used for this endeavor in Afghanistan
that can be adapted by others in different countries and situations.
Included is a workshop on helping women in strict religious cultures
to cultivate their presentation and public speaking skills, a
workshop and tip sheet to help staff write better reports, and a
slide presentation to help staff take photos in the field that will
serve a variety of communications and reporting purposes. .
for staying in contact with remote staff in developing countries /
Many factors stand in the way of trying to stay in contact with field
staff at projects in rural or conflicted areas in developing
countries. I review all of the various challenges
faced by people in a main office in getting data from field staff
working in humanitarian / development / aid initiatives, and how to
address those challenges.
Mandatory, Minimal Tasks for Nonprofits on Facebook &
There are a lot of nonprofits using Facebook and Twitter just to
post to press releases. And if that's how your nonprofit, NGO or
government agency is using social media, then your organization is
missing out on most of the benefits you could gain from such.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media are all about engagement.
Social media is NOT one-way communication; you want people and
organizations to read your information, but you also want them to
respond to it. And they want YOU to respond to what THEY are saying.
I broke these must-do tasks down into the most simple, basic list as
possible - these tasks take minutes, not hours, a day.
Via the Internet for Mission-Based Organizations
It's more than just putting up a Web site; it involves finding and
posting to appropriate Internet discussion groups, sending emails to
current and potential customers, using online social networking,
perhaps even starting your own online community.... it's pro-active,
interactive and ongoing. It needs to be nurtured and fully supported,
just as with all your public interactions. Online outreach and online
service delivery should accurately reflect your agency's mission and
for UN & UNDP in Ukraine to use Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and
Other Social Media to Promote Reconciliation, Social Inclusion,
& Peace-Building in Ukraine
(PDF). This is a draft document I submitted to UNDP Ukraine just
before I left Kyiv in October 2014, having completed my term there as
a "Surge" Communications Advisor. This draft document offers
considerations and recommendations for social media messaging that
promotes reconciliation, social inclusion, and peace-building in
Ukraine. It provides ideas for messaging related to promoting
tolerance, respect and reconciliation in the country, and messaging to
counter bigotry, prejudice, inequality, misperceptions and
misconceptions about a particular group of people or different people
among Ukrainians as a whole.
Third Party Web Sites Like VolunteerMatch to Recruit Volunteers
There are lots and lots of web sites out there to help your
organization recruit volunteers. You don't have to use them all, but
you do need to make sure you use them correctly in order to
get the maximum response to your posts.
- What are
good blog topics for mission-based organizations?
The word "blog" is short for "web log", and means keeping a journal or
diary online. Blogging is NOT a new concept -- people have been doing
it long before it had a snazzy media label. The appeal of blogging for
an online audience is that it's more personal and less formal than
other information on a web site. Readers who want to connect with an
organization on a more personal level, or who are more intensely
interested in an organization than the perhaps general public as a
whole, love blogs. Blogs can come from your Executive Director, other
staff members, volunteers, and even those you serve. Content options
are many, and this list reviews some
of your options.
consulting services & my
workshops & presentations
credentials & expertise
My book: The
Last Virtual Volunteering
Community Outreach, With & Without Tech
Free Resources: Technology
Tips for Non-Techies
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Development, Maintenance, Marketing for non-Web designers
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