ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; What role should PR play in applications for Lottery funds?

Keith Cooper, Royal Opera House

Keith Cooper, Royal Opera House

‘We did it ourselves, in the sense that we applied for money ourselves.

We do have a government relations firm but we hardly used it on this. We

believe we know our business better than anybody else. Actually the way

the Arts Council applications are constructed, you can only do it

yourself. With hindsight I can see how using a PR consultancy or

lobbyist to prepare the ground a bit might have helped us. But really,

we only applied for the money, it was the Arts Council’s decision.’

Robin Cole-Hamilton, Victoria and Albert Museum

‘For the lottery to get beyond its political and public infancy, there

has to be a demonstrable strength of broad support for both applications

and awards. This sort of support can only be determined by well

structured communications and there is no doubt PR and lobbying has a

legitimate role to play in that process. The caveat for all of us,

however, is that any application should be judged on its merits and not

on the strength of its campaign budget.’

Janice Muir, The Crichton Muir Partnership

‘Very small charities may find it easier to score with the National

Lottery. They are frequently seeking only a few hundred pounds and their

natural appeal may well be damaged by too much gloss on their

applications. For the rest, professional help with content and

presentation is clearly vital. Professional PRs and lobbyists also have

an important responsibility to protect their charity clients from back-

door attempts to use the National Lottery to ease the burden on the


Stuart Etherington, National Council for Voluntary Organisations

‘The help needed most is how to draft high quality applications, rather

than promoting them. The Charities Board will want to know how the funds

sought will be used to improve the lives of the charity’s beneficiaries.

Money spent on lobbying or promotional work should be used on promoting

the charity’s work as a whole. People will be more impressed by images

of a well run charity or on campaigning initiatives than any short term

PR around an application.’

Joe Korner, Royal National Institute for the Blind

‘The National Lottery funding boards should be making their decisions on

the basis of the bids put in. We would be very upset to learn that

decisions had been influenced by any other approaches or subsequent

interventions. Once the bids are in, it has to be decided by

applications. And thankfully there is no room for glossy brochures in

the bid process so in this respect smaller charities should not be

particularly disadvantaged.’

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