Ukraine Collection Event Garners Widespread Media Attention

Falls Township Police Chief Nelson Whitney speaks during a press conference.

In an effort to help people in war-torn Ukraine cope with Russia’s onslaught, the Falls Township Police Department organized a donation drive to collect ballistic vests, boots, medical supplies and other much-needed items.

One of the police officers who works for the Bucks County first responders has family in the Ukraine, which spurred the idea for the department to serve as a 24-7 donation drop-off site. With countless bulletproof vests, bandages and more items awaiting transport via airplane, the police sought to invite others to get behind their effort.

Given the news coverage the conflict has garnered since Russian forces attacked Ukraine on Feb. 24, spreading the word about the collection effort would be most effective through the press. Katalinas Communications assisted the police department in organizing a press conference. With less than a 24-hour window, the public relations agency created a media alert and reached out to a variety of print, digital and television media in the greater Philadelphia region to invite coverage and coordinate interviews.

The response was massive with numerous TV crews, online news outlets and local press filling the meeting room at the Falls Township municipal building to report on the goodwill of police and community members. The Bucks County story ultimately went national.

Philadelphia-area media fill the Falls Township meeting room to learn about a donation drop-off for Ukraine.

This media frenzy is a PR representative’s dream come true. But, it’s far from typical.

The key to driving media attention and having a successful press event, first and foremost, is to have a compelling story that everyone is talking about. The story should resonate with the audience. Like the hero in your favorite movie, the readers, listeners and viewers should care about your main character. Ukraine checked all those boxes.

Leveraging a local connection to a national story on the minds and social media posts of everyone is not always possible. However, with a few pointers, your press event can still be a success.

  • Think visual

The best way to make a memorable impact is to create a can’t-miss event that’s worth being seen. TV stations in particular search for the wow factor to draw viewers in.

  • Plan for press

The best way to ensure a good turnout among the media is to plan your event around when reporters are most likely available. That may mean picking a day other than a weekend. It may also mean a late morning event to accommodate a noon TV broadcast.

  • Find an angle

Maybe the news hook is that your organization is fundraising for a family who lost their home. Does that have to be the entire story? Of course not, but it may be compelling enough to garner attention to share the rest of your message.

Looking for more ideas? To learn how Katalinas Communications can help your business or organization plan its next press conference or media event, call Theresa Katalinas at 215-519-8833 or email

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