Three PR tactics for non-COVID charities to cut through the noise

COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on UK charities and, during the pandemic, they need to find new ways to connect and drive a sense of urgency to keep funds coming in.

Be creative, engage influencers and don't be afraid to show vulnerability, advises Amy Humphreys
Be creative, engage influencers and don't be afraid to show vulnerability, advises Amy Humphreys

At a time when everyone has had their eyes glued to the news, hard-hitting and engaging PR activity can be very beneficial for charities that are looking to ensure their cause doesn’t slip from public consciousness.

However, with huge hardship being faced by many across the UK, it’s imperative that PR activity is handled sensitively.

Here are three PR tactics that charities can consider to drive awareness and encourage funds in a sensitive but impactful way.

Vulnerability is okay

Regardless of the cause, charities should not shy away from discussing the impact COVID-19 has had on their work, to encourage donations and drive support. Successful fundraising requires charities to create a strong connection with donors and compel them to act. This is not easy when contending with daily pandemic news headlines across the media.

Releasing hard-hitting figures, or emergency funding appeals with emotive case studies, can be an effective way to spark conversation within the press and motivate new donors – but, of course, this must always comply with the necessary codes of conduct and ensure that messaging is honest, decent and truthful.

Don't shy away from creativity

There is still plenty of opportunity for charities to flex their creative muscles during this time, but identifying the key target audience and the media platform(s) they resonate with most is more essential than ever to provide the maximum chance of success in this very tough climate.

If launching a creative activation, it is important that charities acknowledge the wider cultural landscape when planning their activity and understand the world their target audience is living within. For example, mass fundraising events are still possible, but charities should think of innovative, virtual ways to execute them and make sure the ‘ask’ to supporters is minimal. If the campaign is social led, it’s vital to think about what the audience is facing and make sure that messaging is crafted sensitively. Likewise, with a photo stunt, charities should think of creative concepts that will be particularly impactful, yet sensitive, given the COVID-19 backdrop.

Is there an opportunity for influencer engagement?

Working with celebrities/influencers is another great way for charities to cut through the noise at this time. Building genuine and credible advocates for a cause can be a highly effective way to engage a mass audience and garner support. There are many ways that a celebrity can provide support to a charity. The key thing is finding a celebrity who has an affiliation to the charity or a natural synergy with the cause, as all celebrity partnerships must be authentic – and in the current climate this is still so important. With the mainstream news agenda relentlessly COVID-19 centric, working with a celebrity to promote a cause can be a good way to cut through the noise – away from national news. This can be especially effective if securing celebrities to support on social media, or with an image-led campaign that will target different sectors of the press.

Amy Humphreys is head of consumer & lifestyle at The PHA Group

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