Charities are searching for external PR support as they come to terms with cuts heading their way.
Last month's Comprehensive Spending Review confirmed that statutory funding to charities will be cut substantially. The Government's approach has prompted many leading charities to reconsider their comms strategies, with a view to boosting fundraising.
Genevieve Edwards, executive director of comms at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said she was already calling in probono help from the agency world to help her charity present its message in a more creative way.
'I believe most creative PR departments will be looking for help wherever possible, said Edwards. 'Most charities do not have huge resources for PR and everyone's budgets will be squeezed. We are exploring opportunities with agencies at the moment.' She warned that it would be especially difficult for less popular causes to get a hearing: 'People are already saying in newspapers "why should we be giving money to people who got themselves in the position they are in?"'
The Forster Company director Peter Gilheany confirmed that his agency has noticed a slew of charities contacting it for both pro-bono and paid help since the review: 'Through our contact with charities, we are increasingly seeing signs that they are becoming more concerned about brushing up their public profile. This is as a result of the drop in statutory funding.'
Development charities are also facing uncertainty. Leigh Daynes, Plan UK's director of advocacy, campaigns and comms, said he is planning to relaunch the charity's brand and website in the new year, while also running an integrated marketing campaign to 'show more clearly the difference we make in helping children'.