Her comments sparked reaction from agencies. Lexis PR’s head of corporate James Thellusson said: ‘I don’t see why that should be the case. If an agency is committed to pro bono work then its standards shouldn’t be different to those under a commercial contract.’
Director of planning, EMEA, at Porter Novelli Melissa Taylor added: ‘We put the same amount of effort into the activity as we would for a commercial client. These types of projects are what fuel our staff. We feel passionate about the work and it shows.’
Agency director with experience working pro bono for charities said: ‘When an agency takes on pro bono work, it allocates a certain amount of resources to it. But what can happen is that the charity expects more than what was initially agreed.’
A number of other charities have expressed reluctance to use agencies in general.
But one British Heart Foundation spokesperson said: ‘Everything is done in-house – it’s cheaper. We wouldn’t want to use a PR team, even on a pro bono basis because we already have existing relationships with the media in place.’
Unicef media relations officer Gemma Parkin said: ‘We don’t use PR agencies often. We have an in-house PR team and it works across organisational priorities. The way we use PR agencies is through our corporate partners.’