The National Aids Trust aims to increase the impact of its campaigning work by developing a higher public profile and shifting its focus from lobbying policy makers to increasing local support for its HIV and Aids work.
The decision has prompted a reorganisation of the charity's management structure to strengthen its public policy capacity, which includes the recent appointment of Joseph O'Reilly as deputy chief executive.
The trust is also currently recruiting for its first director of external affairs, a role designed to help the charity increase general awareness of its lobbying work and to encourage the public to become involved in helping to deliver the charity's message to local authorities and community groups.
"We believe we can be more effective by getting the public to take up our message and making sure that HIV is an issue on the Government's agenda both locally and internationally," said O'Reilly.
As part of the process, the charity will also overhaul its existing fundraising structure in order to develop new sources of income. Responsibility for fundraising will pass from the chief executive to the new director of external affairs who will look to boost funding from grants, trusts and statutory sources. The trust is also discussing the viability of moving into some form of public fundraising.
"Because we don't provide services, it's more difficult to convince individual donors of the importance of our campaigning work," said O'Reilly. "In order to grow and move our work forward, we realise that we must start developing better relations with different communities to open up new opportunities in campaigning and fundraising."
The first step will be to strengthen ties with communities living with and affected by HIV and the organisations which support them. However, O'Reilly said that the real challenge will be to reach communities which have no direct link to the disease.
Through building new cross-sector relationships, the trust hopes to reach new audiences by communicating the importance of its domestic work to supporters of organisations working on overseas Aids programmes such as human rights groups and humanitarian aid charities.
"The sad fact is that if people are not immediately implicated then it's often very difficult to explain the relevance of HIV and Aids and get them interested in the issue," explained O'Reilly. "It's up to us to tap into people's knowledge and concern with the international Aids crisis to leverage support for our national programmes."
In line with the changes, the trust will step up its current provision of public information and resource material, and will also look to develop campaigns similar to its recent national Anti-Stigma programme. It also aims to increase its leading role in the national Stop Aids campaign.
"We're going to continue on with all the work we're currently doing, but by widening our sphere of influence I think we have the potential to really start making waves and getting people to sit up and listen," said O'Reilly.