THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Should charities focus their resources on PR or advertising?

Last week’s Media Trust conference provoked a debate on the effectiveness of both disciplines

Last week’s Media Trust conference provoked a debate on the

effectiveness of both disciplines

Paul Lamplugh

Suzy Lamplugh Trust

’I think that PR and advertising are two different ways of getting a

message out. Charities need to consider which of those ways is going to

be effective. In terms of getting a message out I think PR is more


James Rye


’This is not a question about large versus small voluntary


The pounds 37 million spent by charities on advertising in 1996 included

many with a turnover of less than pounds 1 million. The point is to

identify real issues and use advertising to generate and support PR

Look for sponsors or free opportunities or even trade-offs. Consider

Community Service Announcements - a much under-rated broadcast


Mark Bennett

Alcohol Concern

’If you manage to get the right story and use a PR-led approach, it’s an

extremely cost-effective way of getting a large number of column inches.

If it gets picked up in the leader comment it’s much more credible.

Alcohol Concern are fortunate - in the last couple of years we’ve had

alcopop stories where we’ve been in tune with public opinion and news

editors. You have a lot less control over how it’s reported, but you’re

still raising your profile.’

Joe Saxton

Royal National Institute for Deaf People

’Any charity should focus resources on PR because it’s a thousand-fold

more effective. Any investment in a good PR officer is worth its weight

in gold. Those charities who have used advertising for best effect have

taken it up from their PR. If you must use advertising, get it banned by

the ASA as that increases the coverage many-fold.’

Laura Simons

Motor Neurone Disease Association

’As a relatively small charity totally dependent on donations we have

limited resources, and try to use the most cost-effective communications

tools. Our fundraising activities have an important awareness-raising

function. To be effective advertising needs to be linked to clear

business objectives - money spent on raising awareness through

advertising is not money well spent.’

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