What big business can learn from charities?

Written by Nikki Peters

By Francesca Rivett-Carnac 

I went to the PRCA’s Charity Group Summer Drinks the other week, and it really got me thinking.  What can big business learn from charities?

What struck me about the speakers from WWF and Shelter was the enormous focus with which they approached their campaigning and PR work. There’s nothing like a tight budget to sharpen the mind, and there are serious lessons to be learned from the charity sector. Even, or perhaps especially, if you’re working for a big business.

If you could only launch one campaign a year, I’m guessing you would think long and hard about what it was, what it said, where it went – and crucially, what it delivered. Right?

Right. But what’s the excuse for not thinking like this all the time?

What I’m talking about here is strategy. There are many businesses and organisations that are very good at generating content in the media without thinking about what it is really achieving. In the absence of a purpose that supports your organisational objectives, coverage just becomes noise.

We’ve all seen it. A piece of research that doesn’t go far enough in linking back to the business or organisation that commissioned it. That fantastic stunt that make us smile when we see it, but a couple of days later we have forgotten who was behind it. The spokesperson on the sofa who is clearly an expert – but at the end of the interview we are none the wiser about the organisation they represent.

Of course, brand visibility is important and name checks play their role. But I can’t help wondering whether, if egos were left at the door, we would see businesses and organisations generating better targeted and more effective coverage.

Supporting every business plan should be a good comms strategy; never the other way round. When budgets are tight we are forced to prioritise, and for organisations getting it right, the result is brilliant coverage that leaves us in no doubt about who they are, or what they are trying to achieve.

The future of payment – the revolution of mobility technology

Phasing out petrol and diesel cars and introducing EVs is a great option in...

More information

Claire Brady on Net Zero Hero Podcast

Some people think that ‘circularity’ simply means recycling, but it is so much more...

More information

Earth Day

Earth Day provides an opportunity to take stock of our progress towards addressing the...

More information

When it comes to making sustainability claims, getting it wrong can cost organisations the earth

According to Robin Hicks, “2022 was the year that policymakers started to take greenwashing...

More information

Less is more: How low alcohol brands are targeting their Gen Z consumers

Dry January may be over, but giving up alcohol definitely hasn’t gone out of...

More information

Beyond B Corp: Breaking up with Barclays 

Last year we became a certified B Corp, and to do so we had...

More information

Three takeaways from the IPCC’s ‘final warning’ report 

This week has seen the release of the latest IPCC report assessing the climate...

More information

Why we’ve introduced a 4.5 day working week

As the rulebook of the working week gets rewritten, at Stand we continue to...

More information

Stand shifts as we move into our second decade

I founded Stand with one simple (but typically ambitious) belief: that good comms can...

More information

So… has the pandemic set us back or propelled us forward?

Last week, just days after the restrictions in England were lifted, we hosted our...

More information

Wellbeing is not a one-size-fits-all approach

It’s safe to say that being plunged into multiple lockdowns across the past 18...

More information

Covid-19 has given us a harsh lesson in education inequality

Although ‘Freedom Day’ is here, Covid’s effects will, as we hear all too often,...

More information

The pandemic of inequalities

Last week, the Health Foundation’s Unequal pandemic, fairer recovery report made headlines, revealing that...

More information

Has the pandemic set us back 50 years, or will it propel us forward?

At its onset, Covid-19 was described as the great leveller. But the pandemic has...

More information

Pride 2021: Tokenistic campaigns just won’t fly anymore

June is Pride Month, a time for celebrating the diverse accomplishments, identities, and members...

More information