4 Tips to Gain Media Attention (and new donors!) this June

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Summer is around the corner and as many Canadians head outdoors or on vacation, charities will face a dip in donation revenue. Even with careful budgeting, you may feel the need to tighten your purse strings through the summer months. We know how hard it can be, but we have some good news!

Celebrating its fifth year, the Great Canadian Giving Challenge gives all registered Canadian charities the chance to win $10,000 for their charity. Charities across Canada like the Montreal Children’s Library have leveraged this opportunity as a way to tackle their summer fundraising woes.

How does it work? Starting on June 1st through June 30th, every $1 donated on CanadaHelps.org and GivingChallenge.ca is an automatic entry to win! It’s the perfect opportunity to send out an appeal to donors with the added incentive to give your charity the chance to win, while also supporting your charitable mission. Plus, the contest is a great way to reach out to media with a specific appeal to shine a spotlight on your cause.

Last year, the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, an initiative of CanadaHelps and GIV3, drove a 112 percent increase in donations when compared to 2014, the year before the first Great Canadian Giving Challenge. In 2018, more than 89,800 donors gave to over 11,000 qualifying charities that were entered to win, raising more than $11.5 million.

The Montreal Children’s Library raised over $4,700 while participating in the 2018 contest and also used the Great Canadian Giving Challenge to gain media coverage during a time of year when they are not normally highlighted by media.

“The Great Canadian Giving Challenge definitely allowed us to have a touchpoint with our supporters during the typically quiet summer months,” said Amanda Fritz, a Board Member at the Montreal Children’s Library. “We did manage to acquire a few new donors thanks to our news coverage […] now our job is to retain them and turn them into lifelong supporters of the library!” So, how did the Montreal Children’s Library use the Great Canadian Giving Challenge to attract media coverage and boost their summer fundraising? Amanda shared 4 reasons behind their success:

1. Just ask. Start by reaching out to local media by using a pitch note! “While we don’t have any existing relationships with media, we were fortunate that one of our board members is a communications professional by trade,” said Amanda. “She crafted a targeted media ask for both English and French outlets, and sent emails particularly to the ‘desk’ responsible for covering charities, youth, education, and community news.” Charities like the Montreal Children’s Library used the pitch note template available on the Great Canadian Giving Challenge website which can be tailored to your charity. As for timing, Amanda suggests getting in touch with media a few days before the start of the challenge to give them a heads up.

2. Offer an in person interview. According to Amanda, one of their keys to success was what they were able to offer media. “We focused not just on the story but specified it was an interview opportunity with our volunteer Board of Directors’ President,” said Amanda whose team was able to secure interviews with Global News Montreal and the Montreal Times’ among others.

3. Follow up with media mid-campaign. Don’t forget that the Great Canadian Giving Challenge lasts all June! If media doesn’t bite at the start of the month, send them a note mid-month to update them on your campaign goal and progress to add to your story. According to Amanda, this was a key learning their team plans to focus on during this year’s Great Canadian Giving Challenge.

4. Know your stuff and be prepared for last minute interviews. When speaking to the press, know that they are coming to you because you’re an expert on your cause. “[Our President] made extra sure to review the types of information that she might need but didn’t necessarily keep top of mind – statistics about literacy rates and poverty rates in the areas our organization serves, trends on how our funding has been declining in recent years and the percentage of operating budget we rely on philanthropy to provide,” said Amanda. “She can speak naturally and passionately about our mission – and we made sure she was briefed on the facts and details needed to really drive home the impact of giving to the library!“

Also, be ready for last minute interview requests according to Amanda. “We got an email on a Monday asking for an interview the next morning—at 6:30 a.m!” said Amanda. Be ready for anything and make sure you stay close to your phone and check your email regularly in case media comes calling!

Is your charity ready to join the challenge this June? Learn how your charity can participate in this year’s Great Canadian Giving Challenge by visiting www.GivingChallenge.ca.

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