What happens if no one knows you’re fundraising? Not much! If, however, your story makes publication, a company could spot it and decide to help fund your placement.
Here are the best ways to go about getting your story published – whether you’re targeting newspapers, local publications or online platforms.
Unless your story is outstanding, don’t expect to hear anything from national papers. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try, but the chances of getting something past the trained eyes of their editors are slim. Instead, focus your efforts on local publications for slimmer competition and a common starting ground.
Here, your local status is invaluable and will help get your foot in the door. Let the publication know how you’re connected to the town or city you share. Did you grow up there? Perhaps you went to school or have an emotional connection to the area? Including any of the above will immediately make your story more relevant to the publication and their readers.
Nursing student Alex managed to get her local newspaper to cover her story, which soon caught the attention of a local group and in turn, secured some funds:
‘I wrote to my local paper who agreed to cover the story, and that attracted some interest. My local amateur dramatics group took interest in me and hosted two plays over two nights to which both nights sold out. The two nights alone raised me £2000!’
You could even take this one step further and link your story to local news or topical events.
Take, for example, one of our student midwives from Southampton. She mentioned the fact that she had noticed an increase in African women at the local general hospital, and wanted to go to Tanzania in order to learn more about African culture and better support them back at home. Because her story was relevant to community development in Southampton, her story was published and captured the attention of the local people.
Another one of our students noticed that his local hospital was opening a new cancer unit. The student’s placement was in oncology, and as soon as the paper learned that only 23 out of 53 African countries have cancer treatment facilities, they wanted to run his story right away.
Timing is everything here, so keep a close eye on any medical or humanitarian developments in your area and question how they might relate to your placement.
don't forget the heart
What’s at the heart of your story? If people don’t understand exactly why you want to go to a developing country, they’re less likely to help you get there. Appeal to the reader’s emotions with your genuine reasons for wanting to experience developing healthcare. One way to help consolidate this is to talk about the people you’ll be interacting with how it might benefit them. Whether this is your patients, hospital staff, Work the World team, other international students or yourself, remember to include the your most powerful persuasive tool – humanity.
Don’t be afraid of going into detail about the more shocking aspects of the state of healthcare in developing countries. Sometimes getting people’s attention with hard (but not unnecessarily explicit) facts is the most effective thing to do.
HEADLINE & OPENING PARAGRAPH
The best headline for your story will be the simplest. Something clear like ‘University of Sussex medical student runs 10 miles to fund nursing trip to Peru’ hits the balance between generating interest and revealing enough relevant information.
Now it’s time for the all-important opening paragraph, which is essentially a short summary of your story. How, why, when and where are you raising funds? This section needs to be gripping, so keep it short and snappy. Remember that every sentence you write needs to pull the reader further into your story.
Here you need to elaborate on your opening paragraph, expanding your points in more detail to explain why you’re doing your placement. Try to aim for 25 – 30 words per paragraph and don’t go beyond 600 words; you want to provide enough detail but avoid unnecessary waffle, so write up a plan beforehand to help you keep on topic.
If you’re going to use statistics, facts, and quotes from people involved or Work the World, now is the time! We’re happy to provide you with direct quotes, or, if you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you’ll find some generic quotes you can copy directly.
As this is the last thing your reader will remember, make sure you really consolidate what they can do in response to your article. Include your email address, social media profiles for your fundraising campaign and list any upcoming fundraising events with details. Think any of them will make for good photo opportunities? Let the publication know they’re welcome to send a photographer.
End with a snappy call to action or hard hitting statement – something that won’t give people an excuse to forget what they’ve just read.
It’s worth noting that some publications might require you include references – a simple list of bullet points with information on any external information you’ve mentioned will do the trick.
Once you’ve written your masterpiece, it’s time to fact check, proof read and format.
Make sure you’ve consistently written in the third person and that full names, ages, and areas people come from are all included and spelt correctly.
Type your story with double line spacing and always include high resolution photographs. These have to be well-reasoned pictures that illustrate or add to your story.
If you have a release date in mind, note it in this format: ‘PR – Immediate release’ (or the date you want it to go out).
sending your story
Sending your story to the right person is paramount. If it ends up in front of someone who doesn’t have the power to publish it, you probably don’t stand a chance of seeing it in the paper.
Call the paper to find out who makes the decisions - it’s as simple as that. Once you’ve discovered who you’re sending your story to, find out what they like, what they normally publish and why. That way you can tailor your story from the very start, all the while knowing who will be reading it first.
When you've written your story, send the file as a Word document along with any supporting photos in a well written covering email.
THINGS YOU CAN SAY WE SAID
Using solid quotes is a great way to add gravitas and professionalism to your story – especially if they’re from well-reputed organisations like ourselves! Here are some from our staff which you’re more than welcome to use:
- ‘Work the World is a UK registered company that focus on providing safe, structured placements tailored to individual clinical interests. For more information visit www.worktheworld.co.uk’
- ‘A placement in a developing country can contribute enormously to both a student's degree and their chosen career. It offers the opportunity to experience how healthcare is delivered in an under-resourced environment. Students will gain a deeper understanding of things like rare communicable diseases and gain new skills treating advanced pathologies’ - Alasdair Thompson, Senior Elective Consultant at Work the World
- ‘As the UK's leading provider of elective placements, we provide a safe, structured programme that ensures maximum reward for overseas communities as well as students. We tailor each student's elective to their skills and abilities, give them somewhere safe and secure to stay, provide 24/7 support and contribute toward the training of local staff and other sustainable projects’ - Faye Clonan, Director at Work the World
Don’t forget to keep us updated on the progress of your story – we’ll do out bit to like and share where we can.
To read more about raising money for your elective check out our Work the World fundraising page now.