Case Study: Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association


Here at MediaHQ, we see hundreds of press releases being sent from our system on a weekly basis. PR agencies, government organisations, charities and in-house PR teams from some of the biggest organisations in Ireland use our system to get their message to the media and make the news.

Each year, the month of June bears witness to many month-long celebrations and observances, such as LGBTQ+ Pride Month and Men’s Health Month. But for many people in Ireland, June is National Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Month. Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive neurological condition that affects people’s ability to walk, talk and breathe. A cure for MND has not been found, as the cause of 90% of cases is not known. MND can come in many forms, the most common being ALS, the disease from which Stephen Hawking famously suffered. ALS has also seen one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in history, the Ice Bucket Challenge, which generated $115 million in six weeks during the summer of 2014.
However, a cure has not yet been found, and that is something which the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) aims to discover, while also providing medical and financial assistance to the more than 370 people living with MND around the country. National MND Awareness Month is the charity’s biggest PR event of the year, which culminates on 21 June with their incredibly successful Drink Tea for MND events around the country. As the IMNDA are one of the many organisations which use MediaHQ’s database to distribute their press releases, we’ve discovered three ways that they’ve achieved PR success with these events.

MND Ambassadors

Each year, the IMNDA appoint someone diagnosed with MND to become the ambassador for their Drink Tea for MND events. In previous years, they have ranged from a rugby referee to a 30-year-old mother. 2019’s ambassador is Roy Taylor, a musician who represented Ireland in the Eurovision in 1988 with his band Jump the Gun, finishing eighth but losing out to Celine Dion. Roy was diagnosed last year and since then has dedicated all his energy to fighting the disease, releasing a charity single called “Watch Your Back MND”. Roy has brought passion to the cause and inspired many people to host Drink Tea for MND events. This shows the PR value of having someone who is engaged and energetic at the forefront of your campaign.

Supervalu Partnership

The issue that many charities run into when attempting to get people to host events is that the apparatus required can be costly for the hosts. As the IMNDA want as many people as possible to take part in their campaign, they have partnered with SuperValu. SuperValu provide free tea packs to anyone who wants to host an IMNDA event. This is a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties, as the IMNDA get more people to host events, and SuperValu get the positive PR that often comes with aiding charitable causes.

Media Exposure

Any event will find it hard to get off the ground without sufficient exposure by the media. Luckily for the IMNDA, they have had little difficulty in getting Roy Taylor in the headlines. In the past two weeks The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Sun, Newstalk and many local newspapers have written articles about Roy’s story and the Drink Tea for MND campaign. This has undoubtedly done a great deal to increase the amount of people hosting these events, as well as those giving direct donations. It is important to build lists of relevant journalists for your campaigns as this builds good working relationships with the media.
With over 6,000 contacts on our database, we offer the largest database of Irish media contacts and a dedicated newsfeed to notify you of updates in the Irish media industry. Like ApisProtect, we want to give you the tools to help you make the news. Click here for more information on our PR software or call Gaye on (01) 254 1845