Donaldson joined FleishmanHillard last year, and heads up the agency's operations in the UK and the Middle East. He was previously chairman of Weber Shandwick’s EMEA corporate practice.
Donaldson said: "The PR industry is going through a period of significant change and growth that provides us with great opportunities coupled with significant challenges – whether around talent, client relationships, regulation or our own reputation.
"I believe that PR is finally coming of age as a recognised profession and I look forward to working with my PRCA colleagues to address these issues together."
PRCA director general Francis Ingham added: "Jim brings an outstanding pedigree to the PRCA board of management, along with a truly global outlook and a deep and innate understanding of what communications are today."
The PRCA board of management is chaired by Matt Neale, Golin international president; and includes vice-chairman Alison Clarke, UK and Ireland CEO, Grayling; and treasurer Steffan Williams, partner, Finsbury.