Third sector comms plea

Media Trust's CEO urges Government to sidestep COI and give cash to charities.

The Government should give money directly to the third sector to deliver comms campaigns rather than pouring it into the Central Office for Information (COI), according to the Media Trust.

Media Trust CEO Caroline Diehl was speaking at the body's 'Engaging Hard-to-Reach Communities' conference at Chelsea FC last week.

'I am setting out a challenge today to the Government to review how much money, across all government departments, is spent on comms through the COI and the commercial industry, and to take some of that money and spend it in the third sector,' she said.

Currently, government departments give money to the COI for comms campaigns. The COI will distribute the money to one of its roster agencies or use its internal PR team to handle the work.

'We need to be able to bid for some of the tens of mill-ions that get spent on comms by the Government,' argued Diehl.

'It is only the third sector that can really reach and engage the most disadvantaged communities.'

The Media Trust aims to improve the relationship between the third sector and the media. Diehl won an MBE in 2004 for services to the media industry.

She also said the BBC had 'a huge amount of money left over from the digital switchover', and that this should be used to set up a special fund that the third sector can access to get disadvantaged communities online as part of Lord Carter's Digital Britain initiative.

In an earlier conference session, Ogilvy Worldwide's senior consultant Jonathan MacDonald argued charities were in an ideal position to benefit from the new 'personalised comms' age because they were more trusted than other organisations.

He said that in the new media landscape, people had to invite and trust the messenger before they would listen to the message: 'You have to create an environment of trust before you are invited into people's lives.'

This could mean that in the future charities may be able to charge brands to use their channels to reach people - for example brands could be charged to appear in a charity newsletter.

'No-one will pay for an ad on Coronation Street any more, because we know we can just fastforward it,' said MacDonald.

The Media Trust's corporate members include BBC, Sky, Channel 4 and News International.

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