I once had a conversation with the Executive Director of an association for a much under-publicized health disorder. He had difficulty grasping the benefits of a media relations campaign. I asked him if he had an interest in an obscure hobby. He scoffed and said “no, I have no interest in that”. Then I threw out the name of someone who has considerable notoriety within that obscure hobby. I asked the Executive Director if he had heard of that person. His reply? “Of course, everyone has”.
I followed by asking him why he had heard of someone who is the best in a field in which he professes to have no interest. When he said he had read about him in the newspapers, I asked why he thought newspapers covered such an obscure activity. “Because, that guy’s so good”, he replied. But how would they know about someone who is good at an obscure, little-known activity? The answer is simple. Most stories are driven by someone or some organization. Journalists don’t simply stumble upon them. And journalists need fresh stories every day.
If your organization is doing good work, don’t keep it to yourself. Learn how to recognize a good human interest story. You’ll probably find your organization is littered with them. Don’t keep your work or your people a secret. Once you get started, keep it up with a planned campaign. Your fundraising and ability to get grants is likely to get a lot easier. Your membership may even rise.