September 2014
Communications & public relations advice for nonprofits                                                                                                                                                                                                

  Brought to you by your friends at Anat Gerstein, Inc.  

Greetings and happy fall!

It's the start of fundraising season! This year, #GivingTuesday is on December 2nd. Now is the time to start planning for a successful campaign.  Below we have some of our favorite tips and general guidelines. Don't forget to integrate your Giving Tuesday campaign with your larger end-of-year appeal program.

This issue's Pitching Notes, below, come from Nicole Bode, New York Deputy Editor, News,


Two events you shouldn't miss this fall:
  • Taproot's 2nd annual Pro Bono Day NYC event on Thursday, October 23rd.  Come learn about how to access pro bono services from 8 provider organizations and meet hundreds of skilled professionals and businesses willing to provide pro bono services. For more information, visit:
  • 8th annual New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards to be held on Thursday, November 20th from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Citi (399 Park Avenue, 12th Floor Auditorium)

Wishing you a great fundraising season,

The Anat Gerstein, Inc. Team
Anat, Jeff, Katrin, Zac, Rachel and Joanna

Jump Start Your #GivingTuesday Campaign

December 2, 2014 marks the third annual #GivingTuesday, a day of generosity following the excess of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So far #GivingTuesday has proven to be successful for participating organizations: last year saw a 90 percent increase in donations while the average gift jumped 40 percent from $101.60 to $142.05.  How successful will your #GivingTuesday campaign be this year?


Tips for a Successful #GivingTuesday Campaign:

If you participated last year, analyze what was effective and what wasn't.
 Did certain emails or social media posts do better than others? Did certain surrogates hit it out of the park in terms of promoting your campaign? Try asking some surrogates and donors for feedback on last year's campaign. Figure this out and incorporate results into this year's plans.

Set a clear, achievable but ambitious goal.
 For example, "this #GivingTuesday, we aim to raise $100,000 to buy essential school supplies for 2,000 homeless children in Title 1 schools." And, tell potential donors what their money will buy: "your $100 donation buys a graphing calculator for an aspiring-mathematician-7th-grader living in a homeless shelter."


Aside from the standard "items" you'll need for a #GivingTuesday campaign (logos; graphics; special donor page on your website; a social media toolkit with messages, graphics, images, and a series of emails to promote yoIur #GivingTuesday participation), we recommend you:

  • Develop internal and external teams (these are your surrogates) that will commit to helping you spread the word.  These individuals should forward your emails to their contacts and use their social media networks to encourage donations. Set expectations for how engaged they should be and give them everything they will need: dates for when emails will be sent, access to the social media toolkit, sample tweets (with your organization handle), and Facebook posts. Ask for retweets and Facebook shares. Make sure posts and tweets feature a mix of graphics, photos, and videos. Create a schedule to check in with them.
  • Regularly communicate the proximity to achieving the goal. You can use an old-fashioned thermometer on your website or tweet messages like 100 Kindergartners are ready to practice their 3 R's, thanks to your contributions!
  • Secure a matching gift. It's always great to tell potential supporters that their contributions will go twice as far!
  • Remember that #GivingTuesday efforts are not over by Wednesday. Your organization must follow up with donors and volunteers to thank them and to let them know what their efforts achieved. On a personal level, we at Anat Gerstein, Inc. plan to encourage friends to give us the gift of a #GivingTuesday donation in lieu of a holiday gift this year.

For brief #GivingTuesday tutorials, visit -


Good luck!


Pitching Notes:



Nicole Bode

New York Deputy Editor, News,


A native New Orleanian, Nicole Bode previously worked at the New York Daily News for eight years (first as an intern during 9/11 and later as a reporter covering everything from education to courts to national news including Hurricane Katrina). She helped launch in 2009 and built up its New York and Chicago offices.


What stories interest you and most?


We look for stories that inform and reflect the lives of those who live and work in New York City, and who think of their neighborhoods as their center of the universe.


Give our readers insight into why chooses to do some stories, but not others. is a place that prizes stories that are a genuine reflection of what's happening on the ground in the neighborhoods, rather than stories based elsewhere with a vague connection to NYC. For example, we would be very interested in a nonprofit organization based in Harlem that is working on an initiative that serves people in the neighborhood, but not so interested in a global organization that happens to be holding a press conference in Harlem.


What ingredients are good for a nonprofit to consider when pitching a story to


Genuine connection and rootedness in the neighborhood, also a human face - we always prefer to tell the stories through the voice of those who are directly affected - so if you have clients or business owners or participants who are available and willing to talk on the record, that's key. Visuals are also important to us, so we appreciate a pitch that comes with stock images available or people who are available to be photographed.


What makes a story interesting to your readers?


Unique tales about life in NYC. We look for positive stories about inspirational actions being taken by New Yorkers, or issues (health, safety, financial, real estate) that all New Yorkers can identify with. 


What advice do you have to nonprofits that want to pitch a story to you or one of your colleagues?


Read up on who we are. Many publications look for a wide angle on stories, but we are very much the opposite. We're looking for as specific a news peg as specific to a NYC neighborhood as possible.


What's one mistake many people make in pitching a story?


Not understanding what DNAinfo is. We are a hyperlocal, NYC-only news site. We do not cover Long Island, New Jersey, and even upstate (*with exception if it's a clearly marked vacation getaway story). We only cover NYC.


How should people reach you or pitch an idea?


The best way to pitch us is via email - reaches all editors for all neighborhoods. We also recommend developing a relationship with the individual reporters who cover each neighborhood and speaking to them about stories that they are looking for.




anat gerstein inc.

Engaging stakeholders.
Connecting people to causes.
Building brand recognition and reputation.


Facebook    Twitter    LinkedIn    Pinterest