Reputations at stake as charities fall short on PR

Fewer than half of charities that are concerned about their reputation have a PR function, according to a survey by the Charity Finance Directors’ Group and accountancy firm PKF.

The annual survey of 308 senior managers and charity trustees found that while 73 per cent of charities see loss of reputation as a significant risk to their organisation, only 40 per cent of them have a dedicated PR department.

Furthermore, less than half of charities surveyed are actively seeking to generate positive publicity and have a plan in place to deal with a significant media issue.

This is despite the fact that only 16 per cent of respondents considered that the risk to their reputation had been resolved since the previous year.

A further third felt that their risk in this area was above the level that they would like.

‘Given the potential impact of poor reputation on the ability of charities to secure funding and recruit high-quality staff, and on the desire of beneficiaries to work with them, it is surprising that the proportion of charities seeing this as a significant risk is not higher,’ said PKF partner and head of charities Charles Cox.

Other areas where reputation is perceived to be a risk were found to be with users, beneficiaries and the public.

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