A press release is one the most effective ways to spread the word about your giving circle’s latest endeavor. A press release is a formal, official announcement regarding something new or significant about your giving circle, whether it be a virtual event you are hosting or a new grantee you are announcing. Press releases can be distributed to reporters, published on your giving circle’s website or sent as an e-newsletter to your email list.
Here are five tips for writing an eye-catching, effective press release:
Craft a short, catchy, headline.
This is undoubtedly THE MOST IMPORTANT part of your press release — especially if you plan on sending it out via email. It helps to think of your subject headline like a Tweet. You need to make sure it’s clear not only what your press release is about, but also why someone should care. All in one succinct and vivid sentence. For more headline writing tips, check out this Cision article by Susan Guillory.
Introduce the essential information.
Before the first paragraph, state your giving circle’s city and state, followed by the date.Then your opening paragraph should answer the questions, “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why” in a way that grabs interest. For example, if you are announcing an upcoming event your giving circle is hosting, your first paragraph should include the name and brief description of the event, when and where it takes place, who is hosting it and why you are holding it.
Here is an example of the header and first line of a press release:
Provide supporting information and context.
Add any weight to the release with relevant statistics, testimonials, and research details. This would be the best place to include a quote from the main subject, such as a grant recipient or beneficiary, or a member of your giving circle.
Remember: your press release doesn’t have to tell the full story! It should be concise, intriguing your audience to want to learn more. If you are sharing your press release with a reporter, remember that they receive hundreds of press releases per day, and only have time to quickly skim releases that land in their inbox. Keep your press release short and conclude it with details for where readers can learn more (for example, directing them to a website).
End with your boilerplate.
A boilerplate is a short paragraph (usually one to two sentences) that provides a brief background and overview of your giving circle. Be sure to include any relevant contact information. If you are announcing a new grantee, include a short boilerplate about their work as well. At the bottom of a press release, include three ### symbols to signify the end.
Ilyasah N Shabazz
For more than a decade, Ilyasah has worked with nonprofits to help them grow their audience by telling impactful stories, implementing strategic plans, and streamlining digital communications. A proud New Yorker, Ilyasah now lives in Greensboro, NC.