Fundraising: Charities to bankroll war on bad press

Charities will be asked to give up to £3,000 each to fund one or two sector-wide employees, whose job will be to construct a campaign promoting the sector and to co-ordinate responses to negative publicity about fundraising.

It is likely the post holders will be based at one of the umbrella bodies and, though a contribution is yet to be settled, Shelter's director of fundraising Alan Gosschalk is suggesting £2,000-£3,000. The more charities join, the lower the cost will be.

Gosschalk, who is leading the steering group charged with improving public perception and understanding of fundraising, says its recommendations, presented to charities at a meeting in mid-January, were broadly welcomed. "People were very positive about the suggestions," he said.

Using nfpSynergy re-search that highlighted common misconceptions held by the public, the group listed five points that charities should stress in order to improve the public's understanding.

The steering group has also devised a set of questions and answers for staff to help them deal with the press. It will teach staff "not to be defensive but to come up with consistent responses", said Gosschalk.

Formal feedback to the group's recommendations needs to be in by mid-February, to be considered at a steering group meeting later in the month.

The project is distinct from the Regulation of Fundraising Unit proposed last month

- See Editorial, p22.

KEY POINTS

- Charities should try to focus media attention on the benefits of fundraising rather than the costs

Charities should emphasise:

- that they are regulated by the Charity Commission

- that supporters really do make a difference

- that charities work together

- that investment in fundraising pays off.

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