When did you last look at your media release boilerplate? You know, that ‘about us’ copy that sits (but should be working for you) at the bottom of your news releases. How old is it? Who wrote it? Have you just been updating facts and stats for years, without a real re-write? Given how often this copy goes out the door, perhaps it’s time for an overhaul.

Nonprofit and association boilerplates often read like an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink dumping ground for facts and stats. Commonly spotted elements:

  • Number of members
  • Number of people served
  • Number of people affected
  • Date the organization was established
  • Number of offices/locations
  • Mission statement
  • Industry-specific jargon

If everyone else is serving up the same list of boring facts, what can you do differently?

  1. Remove unnecessary/uninteresting statistics: you have 30,000 members – does the reader know if that’s good? Impressive? Relevant? If it is, by all means, keep it – within the necessary context.
  2. Communicate your brand. When describing your organization, include attributes that communicate your organization’s personality and position, versus your structure. You spent valuable resources developing a tagline to communicate these succinctly – include that tagline here instead of your mission statement.
  3. Write about the difference you are making. For example:

Are you the first organization to achieve something significant for your cause? The only organization?

    • Are you a leader or innovator in a certain area?
    • Can you offer facts/stats about the real impact you are making?
    • Have you won any awards or been recognized in another way that proves your organization’s value?

Make sure your media release boilerplate is filled with brand strengthening copy and then don’t let it stagnate: revisit this important text at least once a year.

Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Communications advisor and copywriter at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is communications consultant and copywriter at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog. Having worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999, Marlene specializes in working with capacity building and grant-making organizations, advising on communications strategy, and writing stories and other content.
Marlene Oliveira