Tips for Talking to Your Local News Outlets
Your local news outlet may be interested in publishing a story about your classroom. Teachers who have been in the news for fundraising for school supplies on AdoptAClassroom.org have received donations from their community as a result.
Read our media outreach guide for teachers if you want to get your
AdoptAClassroom.org fundraising efforts in the news.
Step 1: Use our Press Release Template
Before you start reaching out to reporters, you’ll need a press release to send them. A press release provides reporters with the newsworthy information of the story. The more newsworthy your press release is, the more likely they are to run your story.
After you download our press release template and update it with your relevant information and quotes. You can change our template as much as you’d like. It’s an easy way to reach your community and tell your story.
Questions about your press release?
Contact us at [email protected] and we can give you advice.
Step 2: Gather Local Media Contact Information
Create a list of every local newspaper, news tv station, or online news outlet that reports on stories in your area. Once you have your list, go to each of their websites to find the contact information of at least one person you can reach out to via email with your press release.
If you can find the email address of their reporter who covers education topics, make sure to contact them. You may also find an email address or form for submitting news tips on the news outlet’s “contact us” page. Reach out to more than one person if you can.
Step 3: Email Reporters Your Press Release
Your email to reporters is just as important as the press release, so make sure to spend time crafting a great email. Follow our six email tips for getting a reporter’s attention.
1. Write an eye-catching subject line
Reporters receive a constant stream of emails throughout the day, so your subject line needs to grab their attention while using the fewest words possible. Use less than 50 characters in your subject line to increase the chance they’ll open your email.
Example Email Subject Lines
“Miami Teacher Spends $1,000 on Classroom Supplies”
“Denver Classroom Needs $1,500 After Budget Cuts”
“Los Angeles Teachers Turn to Crowdfunding for PPE”
2. Keep it brief, but informative
Reporters don’t have a lot of time, so keep your email as short as you can, while also including the newsworthy information about your story. You don’t have to include everything that’s in the press release, just the most compelling parts.
3. Personalize your email
If you’re reaching out to a reporter, use their name at the start of your email. Don’t use the same exact email for every reporter you reach out to.
Look at other news stories they’ve published. If they’ve written stories on similar education topics, reference it in your email so they know you’re familiar with their work.
4. Offer to be interviewed
Mention that you’re willing to be interviewed by a reporter if they’re interested in covering your story. They may want to come to your classroom to take video or photos, so offer this as an option if you are comfortable with it.
5. Include your press release
Don’t forget to include your press release. Your press release should be attached as a Word Doc, or copy/pasted directly into the body of your email.
6. Follow up after a couple of days
If you don’t hear back from a reporter after 2-3 days, follow up with a short email to ask if they’re interested in your story, or if they need any additional information from you.
Find a different reporter to reach out to if you don’t hear back after following up.
Step 4: Prepare for an Interview with Reporters
If a reporter is interested in covering your story, they may want to interview you over the phone, in your classroom, or in their studio. Read our interview guide for teachers below to prepare to speak with reporters.
Note: If a reporter is interested in interviewing you about fundraising on AdoptAClassroom.org, let them know they can reach out to us at [email protected] if they would like information on our organization.
Tips for Mentioning Your Classroom Needs
1. List the specific supplies you purchase for your classroom on a regular basis, and mention how much of your own money you spend each year to provide your students with these materials.
2. Mention why you need to spend your own money to provide your students with supplies.
“I have three or four kids who say, ‘I don’t have a pencil today,’ or ‘I don’t have a notebook, what do I do?’ There’s a genuine need and the family can’t afford it.”
3. Explain why supplies are important for your students, and how a lack of classroom supplies affects their ability to learn.
4. Tell a specific story of a student that shows the need for supplies, or shows how access to supplies benefitted that student. Important: please keep their identity anonymous.
“In the art room supplies are everything. I don’t think we could have an art class without all the materials that I purchase using my own money. One student in particular was consistently having to borrow art supplies from his peers. When I asked this student why he never had so much as a pencil or paper for class, he confided in me that his parents had both lost their jobs and they couldn’t afford school supplies right now. The more I started talking to students who would come to class without supplies, the more I realized everyone had their own reasons for not having them that were all beyond ‘I forgot them at home.’”
Tips for Talking About Fundraising on AdoptAClassroom.org
1. When talking about fundraising for classroom supplies, bring up the details of your AdoptAClassroom.org classroom fundraising page and how you use it to raise donations.
2. If you’ve received funds through AdoptAClassroom.org, talk about how much money you’ve raised, what you’ve purchased, and how these supplies enhance learning for your students.
3. Mention why you use AdoptAClassroom.org to fundraise.
“We need to fundraise because not all of my students have the money to participate in band class, and I want to do all I can to provide them with the instruments they need. Last year, I spent $1,000 of my own money on instruments for my students, and if I hadn’t received donations on AdoptAClassrool.org, I would have had to spend a lot more. That’s why I like to use AdoptAClassroom.org. Those materials that students’ families can’t normally buy on their own, I can provide for them.”
Step 5: Share the News on Social Media
If your story was picked up by the local media, share the article or video interview on social media. Your friends, family, and followers may share your post, and it will direct more people to the story about your classroom needs. The more people who see your story, the more people who may be inspired to donate!
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