The last few years will go down as some as the most tumultuous ever experienced in charity communications. The Lobbying Act, the Charities Act, fundraising malpractice, the threat of a gagging clause and a hostile media climate have shaken the sector.
However, the world is stabilising slightly and it’s time for the PRCA’s Charity & Not-For-Profit group to take stock of our work and ensure we continue to serve our Members’ best interests.
While there is still work to do on improving the Lobbying Act and resisting any future attempts to limit campaigners’ freedom of speech, the sector needs to move on. And at the PRCA, we need to ensure we don’t duplicate the activity of other sector bodies.
We also need to adjust to a more positive footing – ensuring that we celebrate the best of the work of the sector. Showcasing where charities and other not-for-profits are delivering on the ground and campaigning work which delivers for social benefits.
The recent Members’ meeting hosted by the Whitehouse Consultancy, recommended the Group focus its efforts on:
1. Continuing to oppose threats to charity and not-for-profit freedom of speech.
This includes ensuring our remaining concerns with the Lobbying Act are addressed, the positive Hodgson Review recommendations are implemented and our voice is heard at the Review of the Charities Act and in any attempts to revive the Cabinet Office’s gagging clause or in review of Charity Commission regulations.
2. Re-build the reputation of the charity and not-for-profit sector
With such a period of unprecedented change and challenge for the sector, the PRCA’s group is ideally positioned to build the reputation of the sector.
In addition to supporting Bond’s “Changed by Campaigning” initiative, the Group will look to build on this evidence base to defend the effectiveness of charities in meeting the objectives they were set up to achieve - and highlight how campaigning is a vital part of this work. We will also examine how we can commission independent research into this area.
3. Celebrate best practice
Through our events and workshops, the Charity & Not-For-Profit Group will continue to ask thought leaders and experts from inside and outside the sector to provide inspiration and practical advice to professionals working in charity and not-for-profit communications in agencies, in house and as freelance consultants to charities, NGOs, social enterprises and other not-for-profits.
With the continued support of our Members and the team at the PRCA, we will continue to be at the forefront of defending our sector and supporting the communications professionals who work to make the world a better place - and of course we welcome more people to join us.