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Changing fundraising for the better

“Journalism is what people don’t want you to write. Anything else is just advertising.”

Those words from an old newshound were terrifying and inspiring in equal measure when I was a hack. As a comms pro, I still find them a useful barometer for how some journalists think.

Building the reputation of the charity and not-for-profit sector was a key theme identified by PRCA Charity group members and it’s something we’re focusing on in the coming weeks and months.

We’re pleased to be working with the Commission on the Donor Experience to help inform their efforts to change fundraising for the better. The commission aims to increase both funds raised and donor satisfaction “by appealing to the feelings, thoughts and desires of donors”. As part of that, they are keen to “build better relations with the media so that coverage is better informed...”

Of course, established media are only one channel and our next event – a joint event with the Commission – will explore how to build reputations in a complex and, sometimes, hostile environment.

The commission, chaired by broadcaster Sir Martyn Lewis CBE, is looking closely at how charities need to change the way they fundraise. As part of that, they recognise the need to improve the way the Charity sector engages the public and better explain and align its collective fundraising proposition to public need.

But if reputation matters, and it clearly does, we need to get better as a sector at measuring it and then putting a value on it. Market researchers Kantar have produced two useful blogs on why and how to measure reputation in charities and not-for-profits and we’ll be sharing them here in the coming weeks.

It’s no longer true that only negative stories get media traction – it never really was. And while it’s great to celebrate successful charity campaigns through things such as the PRCA’s awards we need to share the great achievements made by charities much more widely outside of our own industry too.

Bond’s “Changed by Campaigning” initiative will help with this and we at the PRCA Charities group will be keen to support it.

One of the most striking things I found when I moved to an in-house comms role at Anchor, England’s largest provider of housing and care for older people, was how many people were happy to do a great job quietly. Even now, people sometimes need encouragement to talk publicly about how they are doing great things for the older people they serve.

Many charities, and the agencies supporting them, are doing similarly positive work every day. As a sector, it’s time we shouted much louder about it.

To find out more and be part of this new initiative, contact or visit the donor experience website and click here to find out more and sign up for the event on 29th November. 

Are you open to new thinking and ideas? Willing to try out new ways to improve the supporter experience?

The aim of the Commission on the Donor Experience is to support the transformation of fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. It is based on evidence drawn from first hand insight of best practice. By identifying best practice and capturing examples, we will enable these to be shared and brought into common use. In doing this we will engage the experience and wisdom of a great many of the very best practitioners in their field as well as the experience of donors themselves. Our output will be richer in content than any previous study and as a result set the stage for many years to come.

For the next blog in this series, you can look at Mark Carrier MPRCA's piece titled 'Why Reputation Matters in the Charity Sector'.