The winning combination of earned media and government relations for purpose-driven organisations

Leveraging earned media and engaging with relevant government stakeholders are two tactics that NFPs often employ to raise their profile, build their community support, and increase their impact in their chosen area.

What these organisations may not know is the power of these two strategies when they work together simultaneously, evident in the repeated success we create for our clients, and the constant dividends they reap from this approach.

The importance of earned media

With limited budget and resources in NFPs, and algorithms making it difficult for owned media to cut through the noise of paid campaigns, an earned media strategy is an alternate route to raise awareness and increase positive perceptions of an organisation.

The key to securing earned coverage as a NFP is positioning the organisation’s story in the interest of the outlet/writer’s focus area and audience, and having a unique story to tell that adds value. As journalists are receiving an influx of media releases each day, pitches must be tailored to topics they usually write about, their special interests, and the values of the publications they are writing for.

An earned media strategy should always be tailored to an organisation’s objectives, and tactics can range based on a number of factors.

A common tactic is pitching a campaign centred around a newsworthy activity happening within the organisation’s community. Examples may include the launch of a new service or offering, a case-study success story or a new partnership

In other instances, earned media coverage can come from newsjacking, which means to use existing narratives in the media relevant to the organisation’s industry to leverage its brand. This can include new statistics released, new legislation passed in parliament, a national day (i.e. International Women’s Day), or a celebrity/politician’s mention of your industry.

The benefits of government relations

Funding is often the reason behind NFPs initially connecting with government, but the benefit of building relationships with relevant stakeholders goes far beyond budget allocation.

Sending in a pre-budget submission, and arranging a meeting with a relevant minister or advisor allows the NFP to communicate their return-on-investment, and positions them above their competitors with the government of the day for existing and future engagement. NFPs can approach government stakeholders with grassroots and authentic solutions to the issues, making a case that can have national impact, and empowers local communities.

Building relationships with relevant politicians could also offer you a seat at the table in conversations relevant to your industry. When the government is making decisions about an industry or speciality area, relevant organisations should be involved to ensure the best outcome for the sector. Being involved in these decisions will benefit the NFP’s community, ensuring maximum impact in their space.

Ultimately, it’s always helpful to have decision makers on your side. If the government can recognise the importance of a NFP and its work, their support can make the difference, ensuring organisations stay afloat, grow and sustain impact.

How they work together 

These engagement strategies are a complementary pairing in success for NFPs, as the Fifty Acres team have seen play out for our clients time after time.

Earned media coverage drives talkability amongst key government stakeholders, raises awareness of the organisation, and can improve government perception about an NFP

It’s always a relief when reaching out to meet with a politician, or their advisor, when they have awareness of your work, based on past media coverage. Government offices keep their fingers on the pulse of the news cycle, and who is saying what in a public forum. If they already have some knowledge of your organisation, and recognise your work before the meeting, the likelihood of support and action is much higher.

Additionally, the government is highly criticised about spending. They want to be mirroring the public’s interest in their support and resource allocation. If the public is supportive of a NFP’s work, this increases the pressure for the government to reflect that in their budget.

Raising awareness through government, and being involved in government decision making, will increase likelihood of media interest and reporting

If a NFP is part of the conversation in their industry with government stakeholders, it’s highly likely that the media will use this as a credibility-indicator, increasing the likelihood of publishing a story about a NFP’s work. Being ‘in’ with the government gives NFPs a leg-up in the public eye, communicating that the organisation is making a tangible impact, and has stories worth telling in the public’s interest.


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Looking for some support with your earned media and government relations approach?

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We have award-winning expertise and experience in communications and engagement, and in helping not for profits and community-based organisations to tell their stories, 

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