The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has announced significant cuts in cost and salaries in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
For April and May, at least, the trade body has furloughed one-third of its employees, reduced pay for all staff, and director-general Francis Ingham has cut his salary to zero.
The PRCA says the measures will allow it to “deliver a new model, focused around virtual engagement”.
It has already announced initiatives including six months’ free individual membership for practitioners who have lost their job and freelancers whose income has fallen significantly as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
The PRCA has made its legal helpline available to all practitioners and says it is lobbying government regarding business-support measures.
“We’re reducing our central costs so that we can focus resources on delivering our new service model,” Ingham told PRWeek.
“We know that more than ever, members need support and the industry needs a voice, and we’re determined to fulfil both of those roles with energy and determination. These staffing changes will help us do just that by cutting back on back-office functions, and focusing on what matters right now.”
The PRCA is converting its scheduled International Summit on 20-21 May into a virtual conference and also making the B Corp Group event on 16 April ‘virtual’. It is replacing face-to-face training and qualifications with interactive online classrooms.
The PRCA claims to be the world’s largest professional PR body, representing more than 35,000 professionals in 66 countries. It has offices in London, Singapore, Dubai and Buenos Aires.
Jim Donaldson, PRCA chairman, said: “The measures being taken represent significant sacrifices for PRCA staff members and the director-general, and I know all of us hope they will be temporary until the height of this pandemic is over. I applaud all the work the organisation is doing at the moment, at a time when we must come together as an industry and support each other.”