PRWeek Awards 2011: Non-Profit Department of the Year

Samaritans has been providing emotional support to people in distress or at risk of suicide since 1953.

Non-Profit Department of the Year: Samaritans
Non-Profit Department of the Year: Samaritans

Last September, the 11-strong in-house comms team, led by Nicola Peckett, launched a campaign to reduce the number of suicides among working class men, the social group that is most at risk.

A boxing-themed advertising campaign formed part of a partnership with Network Rail, and experiential activities included a boxing ring in the concourse at London Waterloo station. International rugby referee Nigel Owens and former premiership footballer Warren Aspinall, who have both attempted suicide, made appearances. There were similar events in Glasgow and Cardiff stations within two days. The team secured 230 news items including a double-page spread in The Sun.


"The team was passionate and driven to deliver exceptional results. Outstanding."

Leigh Daynes, director of advocacy, campaigns and comms, Plan UK

Another of the charity's objectives was to make the online environment safer for people who may be feeling suicidal, by promoting its own online service. The team secured partnerships with Google and Facebook, and the issue was covered on Channel 4 News and Sky News. The charity became the first organisation in the UK to be given a special search result from Google known as a OneBox, which advertises the Samaritans' helpline when someone looks for information about suicide using Google UK.

Samaritans also aimed to reduce the number of 'copycat' suicides caused by irresponsible reporting by building relationships with key editors, journalists and the Press Complaints Commission. The highlight was a briefing on reporting 'chemical suicides' attended by almost every national newspaper editor.

Samaritans made a small profit for the first time by slimming its range of marketing and promotional materials and rewriting and redesigning many items to make them more contemporary and relevant.

The charity improved its internal comms channels, offering its 18,500 volunteers more opportunities to communicate with each other and share good practice. It did this by improving the volunteer newsletter and intranet. After the changes were made, there was a 400 per cent increase in intranet traffic.

The Awards 2011 book will be available in this week's issue of PRWeek

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