How PR can support third sector as they navigate their way out of lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has been catastrophic for the UK’s 170,000 charities. Despite the recent introduction of a vaccine and a roadmap back to ‘normality’, the knock-on effect of the pandemic will continue to have a serious impact on many charities, social enterprises, and non-profits in the months – or sadly even years – to come.

The UK’s constantly changing news agenda means that the world will eventually move on from Covid-19 and turn its attention to other pressing matters. But whilst it’s exciting to think that the pandemic might soon be considered ‘old news’, charities and social enterprises rely heavily on the media to raise awareness of their cause and secure funds – and to, ultimately, survive.

And if that’s not enough pressure to deal with, many are also facing increased levels of demand as the country starts to transition out of lockdown.

A recent survey conducted by Pro Bono Economics revealed that three quarters of charities are preparing for high levels of demand for their services over the next year.

Many third sector experts are also forecasting an increased need for mental health support, community hubs and food banks, meaning that the services offered by charities, non-profits and social enterprises are going to be more important than ever before.

Charities, non-profits and social enterprises are putting on a brave face – but describing the support they can offer is simply not enough to deliver the funds and resources that they need. It’s vital that they find a way to really connect with their target audiences and make them feel emotive towards their cause if they want to continue to receive support.

Because of its ability to reach large audiences, being featured within the media could be the solution that these struggling third sector organisations are looking for – but how can they manage this when they are already so busy?

Every charity should have a communications lead or team to help drive positive coverage about the organisation and its USPs – whether that’s through talking about their services, sharing stories of their beneficiaries or volunteers, releasing data from their archives, or offering commentary from their key spokespeople. By thinking creatively and outside of the box, charities can peak the media’s interest.

Luckily, at The PHA Group we know how to deliver hard-hitting campaigns that engage, inspire, excite – and ultimately, meet our client’s goals. By engaging in powerful and strategic PR activity which speaks directly to their target audience, charities and social enterprises can ensure that their cause remains at the heart of the news agenda and will truly create impact – no matter the covid climate.

We have been working with numerous third sector clients throughout the pandemic to raise awareness of their causes and services and drive support. One of which is Sue Ryder, a British palliative neurological and bereavement support charity.

When the coronavirus pandemic forced their network of retail shops to shut and their fundraising calendar to be being wiped, we worked quickly to support Sue Ryder with an emergency appeal to help regain much needed funds. This resulted in 550 pieces of coverage being generated within the space of a few days.  After the emergency funding appeal, the Chancellor announced that £200 million for hospices would be made available.

We are also working with UK animal welfare charity, Blue Cross. In the run up to Christmas we launched a campaign to raise awareness of the number of pets across the UK who would be spending the festive period in shelters and unfit homes.

The social media led campaign called #EverythingTogether, involved us gifting celebrities, influencers and their pets with a movie night hamper containing ‘pupcorn’, a cosy throw and other goodies, to encourage them to upload a selfie of them and their pet enjoying a Christmas movie night, along with a caption explaining why they are thankful for their pet.

The campaign reached 8 million people on social media, with one influencer donating £2.5k to the charity, as well as posting in support – demonstrating the impact that the campaign had in raising awareness of Blue Cross’ services.

If you would be interested in discussing how we could help your charity or social enterprise cut through the noise, get in touch with our award-winning Third Sector team today to discuss how we could support you.

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