Challenges for charities and PR

As someone who aims to work as a communications expert within the third sector, I feel that the challenges charities are currently up against are becoming more and more relevant.  With budget cuts from the government and the public struggling more than ever, demand for support from charities is growing.  However, with public trust having hit rock bottom, charities have a real challenge on their hands to raise funds and continue providing this much needed support.

A controversial issue, which stems from public perception, is how much money charities are spending on their promotional and marketing activities.  Personally, I believe that without marketing and PR, charities would have a real struggle on their hands.  Surely without anyone to shout about an organisation’s work, their supporters or their fundraising activities, the opportunity to make their desired impact lessens.

I recently came across an interesting talk from Dan Pallotta that is definitely worth a watch if you have a spare half an hour.  In it, he discusses how non-profits are being judged on how little they spend as opposed to their effectiveness and how much of an impact they are making.

For this reason, I think that charities should be given a little slack when it comes to how much they spend on promotional activity.  But with trust in the third sector at an all time low, how can the communicators within charities tackle this issue?


Arguably more important than ever, the need for charities to be transparent about their spending, actions and activities is vital. Social media provides people with the outlet to express their frustrations, particularly, I’ve noticed, on the sponsored posts of large, national charities. It’s important that these grumblings are handled in the first instance and, if possible, taken offline.


Engaging supporters through social media and other forms of communication is vital, even just so that they choose your charity over another when it comes to fundraising! Q&As, peer support forums, and putting their vision in the hands of supporters can be really beneficial and make supporters feel a part of something – which I think is the main challenge to overcome.  Having a friendly, approachable tone can be the difference between them choosing a huge charity or a small, local one.


Having a focused and clear strategy and vision seems like quite an obvious thing, but can sometimes be overlooked in smaller charities with very little budget for PR. It’s drilled into us at university how valuable PR and marketing can be as a strategic, high-level business function, and it’s only now that I am getting into the workplace that I am understanding just how right they are.

Making sure everything you do is consistent with your organisation’s branding, tone and wording can have so many benefits to your organisation.  Not to mention, having a place where anyone can see all this information (linking with transparency and engagement!) means trust is automatically boosted.

Times are hard for third sector organisations. But I think that with time, ethical PR and a good vision, public trust will once again improve as people realise the value these organisations can really have. 





HCPT 216: From young person to helper

In October 2015, I wrote about a charity called HCPT and a trip I went on with them in 2013.  You can read about that here.

Fast forward from my trip as a young person in 2013 to Easter 2016 and I found myself back in the bubble that is Lourdes – this time as a helper, still as part of group 216.

There are a few things in life that are almost impossible to describe with words… Sometimes the enormity of stuff is too difficult to do justice on paper, so people don’t even attempt it.  But for this one, I think it’s important that I try.

Your trip to Lourdes doesn’t start and end in the week you’re actually on pilgrimage.  It starts months before, with hours and hours of preparation and commitment from group leaders, group members and even the parents of the children.  Helper or child, your group inevitably becomes a hugely special part of your life.

The first time I returned from my week of singing, contemplation and friendship in 2013 was incredibly special… I felt different, happy, and almost rejuvenated.  There was no difference this time.

I witnessed the joy of the children from the little things: at cafe stops, having their face painted and ribbon braided through their hair at trust mass, even things as simple as seeing them loving life with hot chocolate round their mouth and beaming smiles all round.  Sometimes, there’d be bigger changes that you could see within them as they reached out, made friends and grew in confidence.  It was an honour to say that I was part of the team looking after them.  The helpers in 216 are equally inspiring. Each one is as kind, funny and caring as I thought they were in my trip as a child.  The week is fun.  

It starts with singing on the aeroplane, you get to see some beautiful places, go to the mountains, play on the prairie with a parachute,  wear a wacky hat with no shame, go to aquariums and most importantly, spend the week with people who are absolutely bursting with love.

It is a place where your worries are left at home.

I’ve just got back from the HCPT Manchester region reunion, and I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to reconnect with my group and that I was welcomed back into 216 so kindly.  I have made some fantastic friends and looked after some incredible children.

For 216, HCPT Manchester, HCPT, children, helpers – thanks be to god!


PS – My friend Robyn is running the Manchester 10K for HCPT Manchester.  Helpers pay their own way, but also have to fundraise for the cost of each child’s travel – around £700. Please consider sponsoring her to give more children this opportunity:



A Momentous Day in the Meningitis Fight

After years of campaigning, today is a bittersweet day for all of those affected by meningitis.

The Meningitis B vaccine will now be rolled out to babies, and subsequently lives are going to be saved.

It’s too late for some, my friend Alex included, but in time for so many more.

No 10 Rosie

This is a topic I feel particularly close to – I had meningitis, my friend died from the after effects, and from being a part of the meningitis community I have seen firsthand the devastation it can leave in it’s wake.

I was a small part of the team of committed volunteers that have helped to campaign for this jab… Along with CEO of Meningitis Now Sue Davie and fellow Young Ambassador Livvy, I handed the thousands strong petition into the Department of Health a few months ago.  Then, the whole young ambassador cohort had a meeting in the Cabinet Office with the PM’s special advisor on health, Nick Seddon.  We were all very vocal and hopefully got the long term impact of meningitis across to him.

Thankfully, a few weeks later it was announced the government had negotiated with GSK, and we knew we would get the vaccine.

But when?

It’s been a long wait, but today is the day vaccination finally begins. Despite this, it really is important to remain vigilant to the signs and symptoms of meningitis as no vaccine is going to truly eradicate all strains of the disease.


Meningitis doesn’t discriminate, and it’s impossible to win the battle against such a dangerous thing without the knowledge to beat it.


Charity and Social Media

I run the social media for a newly formed local charity called the Believe and Achieve Trust. It’s so important in this age of social media for people to be able to engage with what you’re saying and relate to what you’re doing. I won’t lie to you, we’re a small and local charity that are just getting ourselves on the ground, but there are definitely some bases that need to be covered, whatever size your charity. Here are a few things I’ve learnt so far:

1. Don’t let the aim of your charity be forgotten.

It’s so easy for your message to be lost in a  bundle of charitable requests.  Don’t forget to remind people what your aim is, and why they are donating their time and money to your cause over others.  There are so many charities out there competing for supporters that you can’t afford to lose them.

2. Involve your supporters.  Connect with them.

I’ve found that the best way by far to interact with your supporters is to ask them a question to find out what they might want from the charity.  Before a meeting, for example, send out an ask for any ideas they may have or goals that they may want the charity to achieve.

3. Visual media is always good… and a few puns.

Making people giggle is always going to gain you support. Even if your pun isn’t hilariously funny, it may bring a smile to someones face and form that bond that charities and their supporters need. Using visual media such as pictures and videos engages the reader, persuading them to look at your request.

4. Interact with other charities and on twitter, embrace things such as #charityhour.

Every charity is looking for their message to be spread on a wider scale, and where best to gain the support than from each other? Shares and hashtags go a long way. Retweet other charities tweets and ask them for advice – different approaches to things can sometimes be enlightening and give your cause a certain twist.

5. Be personable.

Twitter and Facebook are so useful for building a professional image of your charity, but sometimes people want to see the face behind it.  Again, making them laugh, or posting a quick interview and picture of those who are involved with your charity can be immensely helpful in gaining that new volunteer.

Don’t forget to ask for people to share things – it gets better results.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this has helped create some inspiration!



an introduction // first post


Hello to you if you have stumbled across this blog!

My name is Rosie, and i’m a 17 year old college student from the UK. I’m currently studying Sociology, History and English Language at A2, which means that next year I will be (hopefully) going to university.

My long term goal is to work for a charity.  At the moment, i’m incredibly passionate about fundraising and volunteering for various causes, and in the long run I would like to put this to use and work in the third sector.  My aim, however, is not to fundraise for my living, but work in a PR & Communications role within a charity.  This means getting a degree…

Currently, the world of university is an overwhelmingly huge concept that seems a long way away, but in the back of my mind I am aware that my exams will be complete in around 9 months and i’ll be on my way.  This both excites and terrifies me!

I know that as someone who would like to work in PR I need to work on honing my writing skills in even further than I already do, and a perfect way to do this would be through a blog.  I do enjoy writing a lot, it’s the inspiration that I lack!

So that’s a basic introduction on me. I’m planning on doing a few blogs about charities i’m already involved in, the things I spend my time doing and such.

I hope you stick around!