Charities 'will scramble for patronage of Kate Middleton'

One charity consultant warns that now is not the time to make an approach

Kate Middleton and Prince William
Kate Middleton and Prince William

Charities are expected to be involved in a scramble to sign up Kate Middleton as a patron after the announcement yesterday of her engagement to Prince William.

Sector experts said they expected that charities would be keen to recruit her because royal supporters can be invaluable in promoting charity’s causes.

Joe Saxton, co-founder of sector consultancy nfpSynergy, said: "Kate would make an excellent ambassador. She would do well to have a few charities she can invest time in whose causes really connect with her beliefs so she can find a meaningful role.

"But I suspect there will be a mad scramble to get her signed up by charities irrespective of the natural affinity."

Eileen Hammond, consultant and author of Patrons, Presidents and Personalities, said charities should research carefully whether Middleton's interests coincided with their cause. "What are her interests? What did she do at university? What is the family history? Is there a personal history of illness or unfortunate circumstances that might predispose her to particular causes?"

Hammond warned that now was not the time for charities to make an approach, and if they did make an approach in due course they would need someone to do it on their behalf:"A cold approach is unlikely to be successful - you need an advocate."

Hammond added that some charities might already have made approaches to Middleton and she might have decided which causes to support.

Rachel Burkitt, celebrity manager at Breast Cancer Campaign, said: "A royal patron adds an element of establishment, kudos and glamour to any cause. A royal patron also provides an opportunity to host events at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, which is attractive to supporters."

Recent research conducted by Third Sector and included in the Charity Brand Index 2010 found that charities connected to the royal family are viewed as more trustworthy by the public.

A Clarence House spokesman said it was too early to discuss possible patronages for Middleton but she was expected to play a fully active role as a member of the royal family.

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