Promoting your project

Getting the media to talk about your project is a great way of letting people know what you are doing with your grant. It also shows everyone how National Lottery players' money is being used.

That’s why it’s important to describe and report our funding and our partnership with you accurately to the media and in all other communications.

If we are your largest funder, please ensure that acknowledgement of our support takes priority over other funders' throughout all your communications work.

Here are some tips on announcing your grant. Our press team is also always on hand for media advice and support.

When to announce your grant

As soon as you receive your grant notification letter you are free to announce the news. We have created some handy press release templates to help you. Once you have decided on an announcement date, please let your grants officer know so they can inform the press office.

The press release

You can use the press release templates by simply filling in the blanks. It includes all the correct wording, template quotes from heads of nation/region at HLF and HLF’s correct ‘Notes to editors’ paragraph – please just insert your project information where required. Remember to use simple, enthusiastic language and avoid jargon.

Do remember to send your press release onto your grants officer a few days before you plan to send it out so we can approve it.

Who should I contact?

Find out what media is available in your area. If you have a really visual story, you could approach the local TV station. Speaking directly to a journalist helps you to get to the top of the pile. Ask to speak to the news desk, or, in the case of radio and TV, the forward planning desk.

Before you call, carefully plan what you are going to say. Journalists don’t have much time, so you need to grab their attention quickly. Make sure your press release is ready to go via email, with the copy pasted into the message rather than enclosed as an attachment. 

Giving interviews

Sometimes you will be invited to do a media interview about your project. Agree in advance who the best person is from your organisation to do media interviews, and think about the three key points that you want to get across.

Plan carefully what you want to say but remain flexible so that you sound natural and enthusiastic. You can always ask the journalist in advance what sort of questions they may ask. If it’s a radio interview, find out if it’s live or pre-recorded. Again, please let us know in advance if you have lined up any interviews as we can often offer someone from HLF to speak too. Remember to credit HLF where appropriate during the interview.

Getting visual

Newspapers and websites are always looking for interesting, high quality, eye-catching images to make their pages and the story come to life. Remember to send any good quality photos relating to the project alongside your press release.

If there is a strong visual element to your project you could invite the local media to a photo call at your project (no big cheques or Lottery balls please!). You can download the template photo call notice to help you. Have your press release ready to hand out to journalists on the day of the photocall. Also don’t forget to send it, along with any photos, to anyone who couldn’t make it.

Good photos are a great way of capturing progress and successes. They help both you and us promote your project, and they show the difference that HLF funding makes.

Providing HLF with images of your project is an important condition of your grant award, and it is good practice to send photos to HLF throughout the lifetime of your project.

Use the guides at the bottom of the page to: find out what we look for in photos, how you can submit images to us, how we use them, and the steps you can take to ensure you have the necessary consents for the images you provide us with.

Keep the media posted

The media is often interested to know when a project has finished or a significant milestone has been reached – they like an opening or a finale event. Try to get members of the public there, including local community/friends groups and schools, local celebrities, local MPs and anyone who has benefited/is going to benefit from the project. The more people you can find who think the project is brilliant, the better the media coverage you will probably get.

Contacting your MP

Don’t forget that there may be strong local support to be gained by talking to politicians, local dignitaries or MPs. Invite them to endorse your project within the press release through a quote, or get them involved in a photo call. See if your local MP is on Twitter and if so tweet at them with news of your project. If your project has an opening or reception, consider inviting your local MP. HLF has a Government and Parliamentary Relations team that can assist you with this.

Social media

Do not forget to incorporate use of social media into your communications planning. HLF are more than happy to share your project information or event details. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

All of our local offices use Twitter so don’t forget to follow them too for local news, events, grants and heritage information.

Make sure your website is up-to-date with the news and information. If you want to keep an online record of your progress, other social media platforms might also be useful. You could set up a blog, a Flickr page or Facebook page for example. Please let us know if you decide to do this so we can have a look and help spread the word where appropriate.

Dealing with criticism

In the current climate, large amounts of investment need to demonstrate clear public benefits at a local level. Always keep in mind local sensitivities when announcing your grant. Ensure that the name and the description of your project accurately reflect what it will deliver, and that they don’t sound frivolous. Avoid announcing your grant at the same time as a major piece of local ‘bad’ news – such as job cuts or cuts to services.

We are always on hand to provide advice on handling negative media coverage or questions that are clearly negative in tone. There is usually an effective way to manage media stories if we work together.

Don't forget to keep in touch

Let us know if your story appears in the media. We’re always keen to hear about any key moments and events throughout your project's life span. We want to help you with promotion in whatever way we can.

Please send us a final version of your press release (the one you issued to media) for our records. Please also send all releases to your grants officer.

And please also share your project milestones, and what you've learnt along the way, in our Online Community.

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