Graphic: Ghetto Sara Lee with a pink Santa hat on

The giving season is here

The holiday season has arrived! Our favorite carols are already playing on the radio. Christmas trees and Santas and snowmen line the aisles of the all of the stores.

Do something different this year. Don’t throw your money away on presents.  Put your money to good.

I am asking that in lieu of gifts, you will consider making a donation, either on my behalf or for those you were going to buy gifts, to these amazing organizations that work to make lives better for people and creatures here in Kansas City.  Most of the stuff we buy ends up in landfills anyway.

 

Logo: Fuller Center for Housing of Greater Kansas City

The Fuller Center for Housing builds and renovates houses in partnership with families in need. Homeowners work hand-in-hand with volunteers to build or renovate their homes, which they then pay for on terms they can afford, with no interest charged or profit made.
fullercenterkc.org

Logo: Midwest Innocence Project

MIP advocates for and obtain the exoneration and release of wrongfully convicted people within our five-state region.
themip.org

Logo: GYRL (Giving Yourself Real Love) 

GYRL’s mission is to provide a place where women, girls from all over the Greater Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas area come together to build a better place socially, educationally, economically, politically with spirituality.
gyrlplease.com

Logo: Harvesters

Harvesters is Kansas City’s food bank. In the 26 counties Harvesters serves, they feed more than 141,000 people every month. In addition to feeding the hungry, they are also working to find long-term solutions to hunger by providing education, awareness and advocacy throughout northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri.
harvesters.org
Logo: Missouri Health Care for All

Missouri Health Care for All believes every Missourian deserves access to quality, affordable health care, no matter where they live or how much money they make. They are working to close the Coverage Gap which is leaving 300,000 uninsured Missourians out in the cold.  Expanding Medicaid would close this coverage gap, cover 300,000 uninsured Missourians, most of whom are working or in school.
missourihealthcareforall.org

Logo: Missouri Budget Project


The Missouri Budget Project is a nonprofit, objective, public policy analysis organization that provides independent research on complex state policy issues and how they impact all Missourians. The Missouri Budget Project works to enhance the ability of all Missourians to participate in the public debate and ensure that advocates, policy makers and the public have the information needed to create sound fiscal policies.
mobudget.org

Logo: Connecting for Good

Connecting for Good been bridging the Digital Divide since 2011 with wireless mesh networks, community technology centers, low cost refurbished PCs and free digital life skills classes. They just opened a new center in my neighborhood!
connectingforgood.org

Logo: ArtsTech KC

ArtsTech’s operates a center for youth development that uses art and technology to offer alternative education, hands-on training in fine arts and digital literacy as well as building and managing public/private collaborative partnerships.
artstech-kc.org

 
Logo: Urban Ranger Corps

Urban Ranger Corps helps the young men of Kansas City’s urban core graduate from high school, develop their personal career paths and thrive as students, employees and citizens.  And they do electronics recycling and paper shredding!
urckc.org

Logo: Chain of Hope

Chain of Hope rescues, rehabilitates, re-homes or transfers homeless or unwanted pets and provide public education on the proper care and treatment of animals and give shelter animals much needed love and attention. I am especially attached to them because they helped me spay and neuter my pit bulls.
chainofhopekc.org/

 
Logo: Spay & Neuter Kansas City

Spay and Neuter Kansas City (SNKC) works to provide affordable spay and neuter services and owner education to help decrease pet overpopulation in the Kansas City area. I am especially attached to them because they helped me spay and neuter my kitties!
snkc.net

 Logo: KC Pet Project

Kansas City Pet Project is the largest no kill animal shelter in Kansas City, MO. They care for nearly 10,000 pets a year and find homes or other placement for over 90% of the pets who come to our shelter.
kcpetproject.org

Graphic: Icon of a megaphone

Getting on the News: Writing a Press Release

I recently made a statement that if I was in charge of anything, I’d issue a press release for everything.  I am a firm believer (and I’m sure there’s a study somewhere that backs me up) that getting the media’s attention or paying for advertising is the key to success when it comes to getting clients, customers, donors, and supporters.

Yes, even in today’s modern world where the local news are reporting on stories that happened in Tallahassee and airing stupid cat videos off of YouTube that have no value whatsoever to us, you should still write a press release.

Here are my suggestions for creating press releases:

  1. Keep it concise – Don’t write a novel.  It should be just a few paragraphs.  The most important information should be first.
  2. Catch their attention – Use action verbs and descriptive language.  If you have a lot of “is”es and “was”es and that means you are using linking verbs. Make it interesting to read and think about.  One of my friends said, “Write it like a news story to get a news story.”
  3. Make it mean something – Why should the person who picks up the press release care? Don’t think about the end user.. the person who will see/hear/read the story. Yes, they are important, but if you convince the writers/assignment editors/tv folks on why it’s worth doing a story, you have one.
  4. Follow the format – If you use the template, you can’t fail.

It’s not as daunting as you think.  Reporters are always looking for stories to report on.

If you can build personal relationships with reporters, that’s even better.  Nurture those relationships.  I had started one with a very prominent local reporter and let it go because I got too busy with my job.

Also, I feel it is important to add that an invitation to attend is not a press release.  If you want people to come to an event, make it sound like a news story.  (Rookie mistake)

I don’t believe in giving advice/information without tools so with that, here are the emails of the local newsdesks to which you will submit your press releases.  (A side note: attach it to the email but also paste it in the body of the email.  You should do this for lots of things.  But that’s for another day)  I also included an example press release we submitted for a fundraiser we hosted for one of my friends.

Template

PDF (Strictly for informational purposes) acrobat

press-release

Word (The actual template) word

press-release

 

Local media outlets

Fox4KC WDAF: news@wdaftv4.com
KCTV5: newsdesk@kctv5.com
KMBC 9: news@KMBC.com
KSHB 41 Action News: Try filling out their web form at http://www.kshb.com/contact-us

KPRS Hot 103 Jamz: community@kprs.com
(I don’t listen to any other stations so sorry… Google it)

KC Star: The Star is tricky.  You have to sign up for an account on Press Release Central and then copy and paste the text of your release.  But you can add a photo!

The Pitch Weekly: Good luck. Try filling out their web form at http://posting.pitch.com/kansascity/ContactUs/Page

Need a website?

There are many factors that go into building a good-looking, functional website:

  • Structure/Function – How is it built and what purpose will it serve? People won’t look at it if they can’t figure it out.
  • Design – What branding and colors will you use? People won’t look at it if it’s ugly.
  • Content – What will you be putting on your site? Strictly information?  Media?  News?  Whatever you decide, people won’t look at it if you don’t update it regularly (if that is what site set up requires).
  • Capacity – Do you have the time, money, energy, and staff to update the website or are you doing it all yourself?  If it’s too much to handle, you won’t update it and guess what: people won’t look at it.
  • Audience – Who will be using your website?  Does it need to have different tones, designs, or content for specific users?  If people don’t’ find any value or use in your website, they won’t look at it.

The hidden/underlying costs of building a website

Building a website includes more than just purchasing your www.  In addition to the domain name (the address people type in to get to your website), you may also need to purchase hosting (the space where your website is located), a template or theme (the design/physical layout of your website, add-on apps or plugins, and so on.  It is important to keep your budget in mind when you are planning your website.  The good news is you don’t need hundreds of dollars to build a website.

All hosts and services are not created equal

Platforms like Wix and Weebly, commonly referred to as “drag-n-drop” builders, may work for some and not for others.  In my humble opinion, I think you can instantly tell the quite obviously difference when you go to a professionally-built site and one that was put together using one of these sites unless some serious thought is put into it.

 

What type of website will I need?

Infographic: What type of website do I need?

So, do you need a website?  Holla at me!