Interview: Charlotte Fiander

The head of PR at the National Federation of Women's Institutes talks to Gemma Quainton about how the organisation is an inspirational place to work

Charlotte Fiander
Charlotte Fiander

- Talk us through your role

I manage the NFWI press office and deal with all media requests, such as interviews with members, press visits to WIs and calls to make jam at the WI Cookery School. We work across all of the committees that manage the WI's work, and I write our annual review and oversee the public profile of the NFWI in the media.

- What attracted you to the NFWI?

I was keen to work at a charity that was strong on campaigning. When we get involved in a campaign, members stick with it until the job is done, so it's an inspirational place to work.

- What challenges does the charity face getting press coverage?

Everybody has an idea of what they think the WI is, so we are happy to point out that the organisation is as varied as our members. While we are rightly proud of our heritage in jam and food preservation, there is no such thing as a traditional member - they campaign for change at local, regional and national levels, lobby government on a range of sometimes surprising issues and share expert skills. Promoting membership is at the centre of everything we do, so it's always satisfying when a journalist says they'd like to join their local WI when they've worked with us.

- What campaigns are you currently working on?

We launched a research report last month on the maternity experiences of 5,500 women, which had a great reception in the media. We are about to start work on reinventing the high street. We're also looking towards our centenary in 2015, so there are lots of exciting plans in the pipeline.

- What one piece of advice would you give to those wanting to start their careers in third sector PR?

Find an organisation that you believe in and it will be easier to promote their stories and messages. The hardest part of selling stories is explaining why a journalist should care about them, so if you're working for an organisation you feel passionately about, you're already halfway there.

Charlotte Fiander is head of PR at the National Federation of Women's Institutes

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