News

Tapping Local Media for Grassroots Events

Date: 03/23/2014

Ichthyosis Awareness Month (May) is only a few short weeks away and many members of the FIRST community are enthusiastically raising awareness by planning unique and exciting events throughout the entire month.  In addition to traditional and electronic invitations, social media posts and word of mouth, some members have even taken advantage of the vast local media channels, ensuring their events will be as meaningful and memorable as possible.  And whether it’s a lively radio announcement, local TV interview, or a newspaper article, local media outlets are can create a local “buzz”, inspiring extraordinary interest and increased community participation.

Last year, Sarah Hodgkinson of Woodstock, Ontario knocked on as many doors as possible.  Subsequently, her event, the FIRST Family Danceathon, took place on Saturday,  May 11, 2013 and gained much local media attention.  “Tap into your own network. Contact anyone you know that is connected with the media, or someone who has written an article on ichthyosis before,” she advises.  “Also if a radio station or publication is known for promoting charities, it is much easier to get their attention. But don’t be shy to contact others as well.” 

Sarah believes staying optimistic and persistent makes all the difference.

”What’s the worst that can happen? They say no? But the best thing that can happen is they say yes, let’s sit down for an interview!”  Sarah also suggests staying as creative as possible when developing promos, videos, and communications surrounding your event. For the FIRST Family Danceathon, she created a YouTube video “commercial” featuring, of course, family dancing.

“Anyone can upload to YouTube, and it’s free. Plus it was so much fun making the video,” she adds.

Thus far, the media she has received includes the Woodstock Sentinel Review, Heart FM and local talk show, What’s Up Oxford?

Remember, like everyone else…the press loves a good story.  Thus, a truly original idea, basking in a glow of an enthusiastic pitch, may just increase your chances of getting in the pressroom.


Here are 4 low-cost fundraisers…you’ve (likely) never heard of, you may want to consider.

  1. Mr. Universe - Hold a funny male beauty pageant. Ask local businesses to sponsor each contestant. You can even sell advertising space at the pageant!  Many local restaurants and gathering establishments are more than happy to lend their space and event planning savvy (backyard is always an alternative).
  1. Karaoke for a Cause - Hold a group karaoke competition. Sign up two- and four-person teams and charge an entry fee for each. Hold the event at a restaurant and ask for a percentage of the night's food and beverage profits.
  1. Best Self Bingo  – What do you do best. Organize? Write? Cook? Navigate Facebook? Hold an anonymous best bingo with friends and neighbors. Sell raffle tickets that can be entered into the “gifts” of their choice. The catch?  You are the gift!
  1. Cans Can - If you live in a state where you can redeem cans and bottles, this can be a good way to collect extra money. Let your friends and neighbors know what you are doing and become the neighborhood collection spot.

Have fun…make a difference.