Evidence from the Public Relations and Communications Association’s (PRCA) Charity and Not-For-Profit Group has been accepted by a House of Lords Committee on the future of charities.
The Committee has been billed as a golden opportunity to kick start a more constructive relationship between government and charities and move on from the recent turbulent times for the sector.
The Group’s evidence focuses on the areas of the Committee’s inquiry into charities that have the biggest impact on PR and communications professionals: the reputation of charities, the pressures on charities, digital innovation and the role of government.
In addition to improved recognition of the diversity and successes in the charity sector, the Group makes eight recommendations, including:
- Reform of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act (i.e. the “Lobbying Act”), in line with the Hodgson Review and resisting any future attempts to limit campaigners’ freedom of speech.
- Support for charities to innovate more in the digital arena – even if this means some projects will “fail.”
- Group purchasing, approved suppliers (who have limited profit levels when working with charities) and strategic partnering with commissioners to help re-boot charities’ innovation.
- A rejection of anti-advocacy plans by government, but if such plans are introduced they should reflect the diversity of the sector and be on a level playing field with corporate suppliers to government.
- Resisting the attempts to think the answer to a “better” charity sector is more regulation via the Charity Commission.
There needs to be fundamental changes in the way charities are perceived by politicians and the public and our recommendations to the Committee will go some way towards creating this change.
Accepting these recommendations would help charities build a more constructive relationship with government and the public in order to achieve their charitable objectives.
The benefits to society from doing so, particularly in a time of economic uncertainty, could be immense.
The PRCA Charity and Not For Profit Group is also hosting a series of blog posts on reputation in the sector written by experts from Kantar and will host a joint event with the Commission on the Donor Experience on fundraising and reputation in the charity sector.