How to Build a Contact, Media and Donor List


You’ve done the hard part: You’ve planned and created some great content. But who’s going to read, listen to or watch it? We’ll help you through the steps of putting together a media kit, assembling a list of both press contacts and customers and, if you’re in the nonprofit world, we’ll share some tips for building a powerful list of donors and potential donors to reach out to with your message.

Create a Media Kit

A media kit should include any and all content you have to offer, from your tagline to your mission statement to your website and even any longer pieces of content you might have created. Digital, print, image, audio or video, it all goes in the kit. Even a list of your staff, senior officers or your Board of Directors — with photos — should be included in your media kit.

Keep a running list of all the pieces of your media kit, with a brief synopsis of what the piece is, who the intended audience for the piece was or is and where it’s stored. 

Build Your Contact Lists

Next, it’s time to build a list of press contacts. This should be more than a running list of local media who have contacted you in the past; it should be proactive. If you’re reading your local newspaper or listening to your local radio station and you hear a piece or commentary you found interesting or enjoyed, note the reporter’s or correspondent’s name and where you heard the piece. Then, look them up. Contact them when you have a story you think they might be interested in.

Be sure to build a group list of these email addresses so that you can blast your latest press release or product launch out to them. Keeping this list up-to-date and accurate not only saves time, it can help you reach out to each audience with content meaningful to them. This applies to your contact list of current and potential customers.

Once you have your contact list, you will have an opportunity to gather more information on your contacts that can help you further define your target audience. Offering a useful piece of content is a great way to get people to tell you more about themselves. And that information helps you improve your next offering. This all acts to strengthen your relationship with customers, potential customers or others who interact with your brand.

Create a Powerful Donor List

While the words of advice above are intended for small companies and the like, many of the rules apply to those of you in the not-for-profit sector as well. You need to think of your members and donors like a company thinks of its customers. These are the people most willing to put their hard-earned dollars in your hands because they believe in what you are doing.

Your mission is your product and you should build a list of donors the way a company would build a list of customers to go straight to the source when the time is right. Keep track of their best method of contact, how you know them, what you know about them and why you think they might become donors to your cause.

Don’t forget that the most important customer/member/donor is the one you don’t have…yet. Don’t be afraid to include potential customers/donors in your lists.

So, you know you have a great message, and you know you have a great plan for the weeks and months ahead. Don’t be afraid to reach out. With these simple tips we’ve provided, the job of building an audience should be easier than ever.

For more help on reaching out to your contact lists, check out our guide for Defining Your Audience and Reaching OutBe sure to check back here for more tools, tips and templates that can help you work smarter. If you want to hear from us when we post new ideas, please join our mailing list!

related resource

Define Your Audience and Reach Out