Rival proposal put forward for a charity communicators' group

Indira Das-Gupta

A PR executive has proposed the formation of a special interest group for charity communicators as part of the Institute of Fundraising.

Ian MacQuillin wants it to be an IoF sub-group and is seeking backers for the idea.

Last year, Joe Saxton, chair of the Institute of Fundraising, unveiled plans to create a body called the Institute of Charity Communicators.

MacQuillin, an account director at Turner PR and a former editor of Professional Fundraising magazine, said: "As a member of the IoF, I want there to be a group within my own institute discussing communications issues. I don't want to be a member of two institutes.

"The Institute of Charity Communicators does not address the fact that most media controversies about charities have something to do with fundraising." This group, he said, would promote integration between fundraising and communication because, in most charities, the two departments just aren't working with each other.

McQuillin added that membership would be open to press officers and anyone who had a stake in how charity fundraising is represented to the public through the media.

Saxton said: "It is not the case that all charity communications is a sub-set of fundraising. Ian is entitled to his view, but I already have the financial backing of charities such as Oxfam and Barnardo's."

However, Saxton admitted that the process of setting up his communicators' group was proving to be "painfully slow".

The rival proposals are distinct from the ImpACT Coalition, which was set up last year to improve public trust in charities and has a membership of organisations rather than individuals.

Alan Gosschalk, Shelter's director of fundraising and a founder of ImpACT, said: "It was never our intention that ImpACT should be a networking forum."

FACT FILE

- PR man Ian MacQuillin wants to form a special interest group for charity communicators within the IoF.

- It is the second time in a year that plans have been unveiled to set up a communicators' group.

- The earlier proposal by Joe Saxton was for an Institute of Charity Communicators, which is being established.

- A third group, the ImpACT coalition, was established for organisations.

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