Acevo and the NCVO invite chief executives to discuss media initiative

The umbrella organisations will meet about 60 chiefs in February to talk about how they will go about getting a better hearing for charities in the press

NCVO and Acevo building
NCVO and Acevo building

The chief executives body Acevo and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations have invited about 60 charity chief executives to an event where they will discuss their joint initiative to promote the sector to the public and journalists.

Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, told Third Sector that the meeting, which will be held on 11 February, is being convened to hear opinions on how the umbrella bodies should promote the positive role of the sector in society on charities’ behalf and how the initiative should be funded.

"We want to flesh out the idea in slightly more detail and, most importantly, see where we think the funding should come from, because we won’t be able to do any of this without funding," he said.

Acevo and the NCVO announced in October that they planned to work together to develop and coordinate several projects to promote the sector.

It was anticipated that the initiative would take over the role of the Understanding Charities Group, which was set up in 2014 by the NCVO and CharityComms, the membership network for charity communications professionals, to secure better treatment for charities in the media.

Bubb said the chairs and chief executives of Acevo and the NCVO, which are located in the same building, had met twice in the past three months to discuss the initiative but had not yet decided with the Understanding Charities Group which of its projects it planned to take the lead on.

Nor, he said, had they found a PR agency to work on the initiative or decided what the campaign should entail.

"This is early stages," he said. "It needs to be taken in stages. You can’t come up with a detailed programme from scratch and get the funding with just a click of the fingers, which is why we wanted to have this meeting with the chief executives to get their views.

"There are all sorts of questions about who would support and fund this initiative, which depend on the scale of the campaign."

Bubb added that foundations and other types of donors could be considered as potential supporters.

He said: "We’re very clear that it’s time for a charity brand fight-back. We’ve had a string of negative stories in 2015 about charities and we need some positive stuff."

A spokesman for Acevo said that more than a dozen chief executives, all of whom were Acevo members, were expected to attend next month’s meeting.

A spokesman for NCVO said: "We’re keen to talk to charities to build consensus on the next steps, especially given that it’s likely charities themselves will play a large part in communicating their collective positive role."

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