Interview: Dee McIntosh

The director of communications at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home says Larry the cat has kept the media momentum going

Dee McIntosh
Dee McIntosh

Is it hard to maintain the momentum of media coverage after your charity's 150th anniversary in 2010?

We got massive coverage because we started to be proactive. Maintaining it was certainly helped by getting press about Larry the cat being rehomed at 10 Downing Street. Filming has just finished for an ITV1 series presented by Paul O'Grady, which follows Battersea dogs as they are rehomed. More than four million viewers are expected. If you get the charity's name out, it all starts coming together.

How do you encourage your team to be proactive?

It is important to be aware of what the charity is about and what you want to do and see in different regions. We are based in London, but much of our support comes from around the country. We also needed to find our voice politically and not be shy about speaking out. Now we're invited to speak to government ministers and advise senior civil servants.

What charity campaign work has impressed you recently?

I'm a big fan of the National Trust. Its campaign work shows that it has a good sense of what the nation is thinking. Its allotments campaign was a great success, achieving its target five months early. It has the knack of knowing what it has to do and tuning in to what people want.

What skills do you look for when recruiting for your team?

I look for people with a can-do attitude. People who work here need to share their passion because it is compelling. I have a journalism background - I think it is very helpful if people have that because they understand the needs of the media and can be more effective. I'm keen to raise our digital presence, so I also look for that experience.

Why do you want to improve your digital presence?

It's all about engagement - we now recognise that we can engage current and future supporters digitally. Seventy-five per cent of visitors to our Facebook page come from outside London.

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