Reader Q & A | How to publicize peace-full nonprofit event in Chicago?

buildthepeacecommiteeA reader writes . . .

I’ve been volunteering with The Peace School for the last couple of years to help promote their annual Peace Day celebration. This year’s free event, open to the public, will take place on Friday, September 19th, at noon, Daley Plaza. The event has been organized every year by The Peace School since 1978, and has been held in cooperation with the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office of Special Events since 1993. Further information is available at:
The goal of The Peace School is to mainstream a Culture of Peace in Chicago. This means working to ensure a just and sustainable peace that promotes the values, attitudes, behaviors and institutions that build the peace. Their hope is to mainstream peace building in the schools here in Chicago, working closely with families and community based organizations. In addition, they propose that the 2016 Olympics be named the “Peace Olympics” should Chicago win the bid for the games, and that we commence eight years of peace-building activities leading up to the 2016 Olympic games.
Do you know of any local (or national, given The Peace School’s goal of Chicago becoming a Model City of Peace) media contacts who would be interested in covering these events? In addition to calendar listings, I’m looking to target print and broadcast (TV and radio) media.
Noreen Kelly, Trust Matters


Wow, Noreen that’s quite a project! As you probably know – in addition to a must-have media list, a multi-layered plan works best.

I’d check into adding blogs to your PR list, setting up a Facebook event and also promoting the event on – you can set up a screen name for the event and give updates. People will follow you and you can follow them. Here’s some help to get you started.

Chicago Blogs

Most blogs have a contact page that tells you where to send emails. Read at least a few posts and check out categories to see if you story matches what they write about. Even if there’s not an ideal match, you can let them know about the project and see if they have an ideas about who would be best to cover your event. A personalized email is preferable to a canned pitch. Here’s a list of blogs that cover Chicago events, nonprofit happenings and blogger meetups. You might want to show up at one to get to know who’s who and ask their opinion about the best bloggers to contact before you send out any emails.

Gapers Block

Chicago Blog Map-lists over 500 blogs by location

Chicago Bloggers

The Local Tourist

Jen Chicago

Chicago 2016

Channel 2016 blog

Community Media Workshop Chicago

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Sun-times

Wired PR Works

Have a Chicago blog and would be interested in being contacted about nonprofit events? Please add your URL in the comment section.

Chicago Media Lists

You’re probably familiar with the traditional Chicago media list that includes major papers, radio and TV stations. Along with a press release, write up a short PSA that can be read on-air. Many radio stations send a follow up report on the number of times a release is read on the air. Consider expanding your media list to college papers and radio stations. Community Media Workshop publishes a “Getting on the Air and Into Print” Chicago media guide that lists community relations connections.

Cost-Effective Online Press Release Distribution

For online distribution, try as a distribution route: publishing a release starts at $19.95. Also post to the non-profit social networks like these: nonprofit communicators and idealist.

Setting up a Facebook Nonprofit Event

Posting your event on Facebook gives your group an online community of its own. People can find you by searching groups and then joining. Before you get into this, do some research and plan on being an active participant. Here are a few guides to help you set up your nonprofit event.

Beth’s Blog Facebook Applications and Resources

Facebook’s Guide to Event Listings

Wild Apricot’s Guide to Facebook Events

Tweet on Twitter to Promote Nonprofit Events

Sort of a cross between live chat, text-messaging, blogging and socializing with friends, twitter will connect with people who value your cause and may be willing to promote it for you via their own twitter networks. You follow them, they follow you and your community builds.

Find local people to follow in the Illinois Twitter pack and search for twitter connections to find people to follow who are talking about your cause. Need help getting started. The Twitter Guide links to all kinds of resources.

Partnering with other organizations

Who else ties into what you do? Tell them what you have planned so they can include your event on their site and in their community communications. A few places to get you started.

Chicago Net Squared

Mayor’s Office Chicago Events

Chicago Nonprofit Event Calendar

Your turn

How do you reach your media communities?

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