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Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

How Your Organization Can Become Known As The Expert

December 8th, 2014 by Karen Climer

I’m one of those people who writes letters to the editor frequently. Every day when I read the paper (yes, I actually read the print edition), there is an article that makes me think of a nonprofit organization that could submit a letter to the editor. Unfortunately, very few do. The editorial page is one of the most widely read sections of the newspaper, and everyone has the opportunity to be on that page.

For example, in Orlando, homelessness has been a big issue lately. All of the local government entities and community leaders are coming together to work on this issue. If I worked with the homeless population, I would write a letter to the editor thanking the City and County for the leadership in solving the problem.

Another recent Orlando story was about a teen mom who received a letter in jail with drugs in it. Plenty of organizations could write about this.  A crisis pregnancy center could write that sadly many teen parents are in prison, but the ones in our program learn to make smarter decisions. Foster parent organizations can write that when parents are incarcerated, XYZ Organization places these children in good homes. We are always looking for good people to be foster parents. A place that works with at-risk teens could say how sad it is that the woman is in that situation, but our teens are learning to stay out of jail and off drugs.

The most recent letter I had published was related to the groundbreaking of an inclusive park in Orange County. My letter thanked Orange County government for creating an inclusive playground and included some thoughts about attitudes towards people with disabilities.  I know this about the editorial department…if I, your average citizen, send a letter that says thanks for building the park and the CEO of the local disability organization sends a letter that says thanks for building the park, almost without exception, they will print the letter from the CEO of the disability organization.

Writing these letters is not so much about raising money. This is about having your organization viewed as the local go-to source for information about your cause.  If you are going to give money to a cause, let’s say homelessness, are you going to give to homeless shelter that is the local go-to source on homelessness, the one that is interviewed every night that it freezes (not many nights here in Orlando), the one that is on the cutting edge of solving the problem?  Or are you going to give to the homeless shelter that is following the first one?

When you read the paper tomorrow, look for something that relates to your organization and write a letter about it.  If you can’t find anything relevant, call me and I’ll help you find something.

Posted in Marketing, Publicity

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