PR for Public Health Nonprofits in a Breaking News Cycle

June 30, 2022

PR for Public Health Nonprofits in a Breaking News Cycle

June 30, 2022

Group Gordon’s David Kang shares tips for effective PR efforts for public health nonprofits.

Public health nonprofits work to promote health equity, advocating to ensure all individuals have equal access to health resources and providing essential services to communities around the world. For these organizations, being able to share their strategic messages to their served populations and other key audiences can have a profound impact on fulfilling core public health goals.

Below are three principles to ensure PR for public health nonprofits is responsive to breaking news and elevates the organization’s thought leadership

PR for public health nonprofits1. Pick the right conversations to lead.

In recent years, many public health issues have taken center stage in the national conversation. Before trying to weigh in on every public health issue, assess your nonprofit’s particular expertise. If your organization focuses on helping communities recover from natural disasters, it is not likely that your insights on abortion rights are the most relevant for journalists.

Instead, organizations should be proactively monitoring coverage on issues that can be tied to their work. Think ahead of time about how to differentiate your nonprofit from peer voices and offer a truly unique perspective to reporters. Can your organization offer internal data, compelling client stories, or another value-add to reporters? Can your spokespeople speak to the impact of the news on their served populations or the broader industry? By staying on top of current stories and anticipating future trends, your nonprofit can be well-positioned to establish its presence in the right conversations.

2. Identify spokespeople ahead of time.

When a news story breaks, reporters will be racing to meet article deadlines and their inbox will be flooded with interview requests. This is not the time to scramble to identify someone who can speak to a topic. To establish your public health nonprofit’s slate of go-to experts, hold internal discussions in advance to identify each spokesperson’s topic of experience. For example, do you have spokespeople who can speak to the impact of a new federal policy? Is there someone who works with clients and can share compelling stories? Let your spokespeople know they may be asked to weigh in on news relevant to their expertise and prepare them for what to expect if they are called upon. By having a bench of spokespeople ready to go, you can save valuable time for the reporter and improve your chances of successful coverage.

3. Act quickly.

For any announcement related to public health, effective PR for public health nonprofits requires quick communications with media and other key audiences. If it was an anticipated story, your organization should have statements for clients, donors, and other audiences already reviewed and approved for release. If the story could not be anticipated, make sure your organization has an internal process set in place to avoid any delays to sharing your strategic message. At this time, you should also confirm the media availability of your chosen spokesperson and ensure they are aligned with the organization’s messaging goals. By recognizing the importance of acting quickly, you can help your public health nonprofit share and amplify its strategic message in a timely manner.

Successful PR for public health nonprofits means being prepared for the breaking news cycle and having in place processes for timely media opportunities.