Vicky Browning: Why a media strategy is vital for charities

Plus: what journalists would cover and a new media guide

Vicky Browning
Vicky Browning

The events of last summer show that having a strategy for dealing with the press remains key. Yet a recent CharityComms survey of 125 charity PRs showed that many are struggling to secure positive media coverage. After the ever-present handicap of not enough time and resources, the challenges appear to arise from a disconnect between charities and the media. The most tricky part of media relations is the relations bit and a lack of interest by journalists in charity stories was the second highest complaint.

This belief isn’t entirely unfounded: a survey of journalists last autumn by market research firm nfpSynergy revealed that 64 per cent said they would be likely to cover a charity scandal [there is a blog about this on the nfpsynergy website]. On the plus side, however, four in 10 (38 per cent) said they were likely to cover a story about a charity beneficiary, while over half (56 per cent) reported getting inspiration for between 10 per cent and 50 per cent of their stories from charities.

A new book by comms consultant and former journalist Becky Slack, Effective Media Relations for Charities: what journalists want and how to deliver it, seeks to help charities navigate the complex media maze. It contains insight from media professionals and large and small charities and showcases a range of experiences across the sector in developing a media strategy that works. We hope it provides charities with the tools they need to bridge the gap between the third sector and the fourth estate. The book is available from 22 March at www.spmfundessentials.org.

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