How to write a crowdfunding campaign press release

If you’re launching a crowdfunding campaign then sending a well-crafted press release – to the right people, at the right time, with the right information – can increase the number of donations you receive. So, what do you need to know? Freeland content marketer Christina Pashialis tells all

What is a press release?

A press release is a piece of communication directed at media outlets to announce something newsworthy. Press releases are usually sent to journalists at newspapers, online media platforms, radio stations or television networks.

Consider who you want to reach as this will determine which publications you target and how you address them. For example, if you are crowdfunding towards a new science lab, you might send information to national science journals as well as to local radio stations and newspapers.

Ideally you want the hyperlink to your campaign page to be easily clickable for potential donors, so digital media outlets should be your primary target. But local papers can be a valuable way of reaching an older (and often more affluent) audience, who may well have past connections to your school. Add a link or button to the homepage of your school’s website as people are more likely to search for the school than type in a long crowdfunding address link.

When should I send my press release?

Don’t send your press release when your campaign is on 0%! People are more likely to donate when a project has momentum and looks likely to be successful. For that reason, an ideal time to send your press release is when your fundraising campaign has already reached around 21% of its target. However, it is worth contacting print publications in advance to request details of their schedules – monthly magazines will need content at least three weeks before publication, and newspapers ideally at least a week before going to print.

What should I include in my press release?

Journalists receive tons of press releases a day, and will likely only skim-read the opening sentence, so you should keep your press release short (no more than one side of A4) and punchy, and aim to convey the essence of your story in the first paragraph. Avoid making any political comment and keep your language active and positive.

  • The header: This should be dated and marked ‘for immediate release’.
  • The title: Summarise your project in a few words – make it catchy!
  • The body copy: The first paragraph should be a succinct summary that includes all necessary information. The second paragraph should expand on that information. Finish off with any further action that readers may be interested in, such as pledging to, or sharing details of, your campaign.
  • Quotes: Include quotes about the project from the Headteacher, the lead person responsible for delivering the project or from beneficiaries – presumably pupils.
  • Contact details: Include the name, job role, email address and phone number of relevant contacts for journalists who want more information. Finish off with links to relevant websites.
  • Images: Include a couple of images, perhaps of project team members, the campaign in action or a screenshot of the campaign page, etc. These should be attached to the email. Include captions and name your images in a logical way.

Who should I send the press release to?

National magazines: Publications connected to the subject matter of your campaign, eg history magazines if your project is about history, tech publications if it is for virtual reality resources. The more specific, the better; there are niche publications out there about pretty much every topic you can think of!
Local press: The national press will only be interested in extremely newsworthy campaigns, so it’s likely to make sense to focus your efforts locally. Positive and/or unusual local-interest stories can be hard to come by for editors, so make sure your press release has a ‘hook’. Online journals: Online-only magazines and local news websites can be a useful way to get your message out quickly.
Make sure you have the name, phone number and email address of the person you’re contacting (it’s good practice to phone the person after you have emailed them).

How do I identify which journalists to contact?

The most important thing is to know the person’s name – so start by looking at articles that are in relevant publications/websites and find the names of the journalists who wrote them. Failing that, call the main editorial desk and ask who the best person to contact is – someone who covers general education stories, or, if your project falls into a particular subject area, perhaps they have a specialist journalist. Small, local publications or niche magazines are unlikely to have more than one or two in-house editors, so if all else fails, write to the editor.

What’s the best way to send the press release?

It’s best to include the press release in the body of an email, not as an attachment. Even if you include an image in the body of the email, also add your images as attachments. See below a suggested email format:

  • Email subject line: The title of your press release.
  • Introduction: The introduction should address someone with their first name. The first couple of lines should be a summary of what will be in your press release. Try to think of an angle the publication could use that would make it an interesting story to its readers. Get some inspiration from looking at other articles they’ve published.
  • Body of the email: Right after the introduction, include the actual press release.
  • Attached files: Images should be added as attachments, even if they are already embedded within the text. Another option is to attach a PDF file of the press release.

How can I improve my chances of securing press coverage?

Remember that journalists receive a lot of press releases, so there’s no guarantee they will open, let alone read your email! Send your email on a Monday or Tuesday at around 10:30am. This is the optimal time for people to open emails. By researching similar articles that the publication covers, and tailoring your subject line and introduction accordingly, you will increase your chances of being featured. The less work that the journalist needs to do to follow up on a story, the better, so use short sentences that can be easily cut and used to fit a particular space or word count.

What should I do after sending my crowdfunding campaign press release?

Once sent, make sure someone is available to answer questions. At 2pm on the same day, follow up your email with a call to ensure that you stand out from other press releases. Ask the journalist if they received your press release and offer any additional information they require.

Download our press release template


About our expert

Christina Pashialis (@christina_p) is a freelance content marketer and formerly worked for ed-tech company
Hubbub. There, she supported both students and education professionals on their crowdfunding journeys; advising them on how to plan, promote and execute crowdfunding campaigns.

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