Definition of social impact of communications launched

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) Council has launched a new definition of the social impact of public relations and communications.

The new definition is the work of PRCA Council members and was presented to the organisation’s national conference in London by Simon Francis, Founder Member of social enterprise Campaign Collective.

The Council is now inviting professionals who work in PR and communications to complete a short consultation and benchmarking study to understand the extent to which the sector has a positive impact on society.

The definition reads:

PR and communications has a huge impact on society. It is the responsibility of all practitioners to understand the social impact of PR and be aware of the actions they are taking – in line with the Helsinki Declaration on the ethics of PR and PRCA Code of Conduct.

The PR and communications industry has a social impact in six ways:

1.Through the impact of our campaigns on target audiences

2.Meeting one of more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, depending on the campaign being developed and implemented

3.Promotion of genuine corporate social responsibility programmes / communications (and an active refusal to engage in greenwashing or astroturfing style campaigns)

4.Encouraging philanthropy and giving

5.“Buying social” and using social enterprises in the supply chain

6.Encouraging workforce diversity through positive employment practices

Simon Francis commented:

From PR apprenticeships to working with Social Enterprise UK to “buy social” in the supply chain, PR and communications can have a huge positive impact on society over and above the impact of the work of communicators. It is the responsibility of all practitioners to understand the social impact of PR and be aware of the actions they are taking.

At Campaign Collective, we measure social impact in two ways – the positive impact of our marketing work on society and what we can achieve through investment in our social purpose fund which has resulted in activity like the launch of The Rooftop, a new home for news worth shouting about.

Jon Chandler, Chair of the PR Council and CEO of Quiller Consultants, said:

Every sector should understand and measure its  social impact –  and we are no different.  What that means in PR  is not widely discussed nor is there a common view.  This initiative seeks to clarify  the impact we have as organisations  –  and the impact we have through the work we  deliver.

If you complete the survey, you will find out  how often you are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, consciously or otherwise.

I look forward to rolling out the plan to measure the social impact of the PR and communications industry over the coming months.

PR and communications professionals can provide feedback on the definition by completing this survey:


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