'Get the message across'

Charities should stop being obsessed about getting their names mentioned in the media and give priority to coverage of the issues they are concerned with.

This was the verdict of delegates at the Reporting Poverty Seminar in London last week. It was organised by the Media Trust and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Lucie Russell, director of crime reduction campaign Smart Justice, said: "We all want the name of our organisations in the media so we can tell our trustees and fundraisers 'we placed this'."

Russell said that this behaviour stemmed from the need to prove that time and money was well spent. "But we have to rise above it and think about the cause rather than the individual organisations," she added.

"I've given comments to journalists where our name hasn't been quoted, but we got our message across."

Julia Lewis, deputy director of policy development and communications at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, agreed. "There's a tendency to think 'we funded this, so we should get a mention'," she said. "Where charities work collaboratively, there is an acceptance that raising awareness of the campaign is the goal."

Commenting on the event, Mirella von Lindenfels, founder of Communications Inc, said: "If the goal is to raise funds or awareness, then getting a particular charity's name mentioned really matters. For organisations with low brand awareness, any opportunity to raise it should be taken."

The seminar was organised to inform a guide for journalists, which will be written by David Seymour, the Daily Mail journalist.

Reporting Poverty is to be published on 5 November.

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