PR for social good? What’s that?

‘PR for social good’ panellist, Ann Rowe, blogs about what impact PR can have within charities

I work for the umbrella body for charities in Scotland. By law, charities must only have charitable aims (we’re not motivated by profit) and must provide public benefit (we want to make the world a better place).

Across Scotland and the UK charities do amazing work. Fact.

Does that mean PR for charities is PR for social good?

According to mainstream media, charities are full of fat cat Chief Execs earning outrageous salaries, charity fundraising is a cut throat business that has run amok, and charities are letting society down, not picking it up – think Kids Company scandal. That doesn’t sounds like ‘social good’ to me. But these stories are by far the exception and not the rule.

That’s why PR is critical for charities. PR needs to champion charities and give balance to the current political and media onslaught.

Andrew Ross, PR and Policy Manager at the CIPR, says there is a clear opportunity for public relations knowledge, advice and support to take a leading, strategic, and defining role across the charity sector. Wise words, Andrew.

Charities today work in a hostile environment. It’s a travesty, but it’s the truth.

Bad headlines erode public trust and threaten the very survival of charities. Without trust there’s no support, no money and no volunteers. And without all of these there is no safety net for the most vulnerable people and lost causes in our society.

My job, and the job of others like me, is to use PR to fight back against unfair and divisive coverage so charities can continue to thrive.

Professional ethics are core too.

Good PR should be based on good practice. PR puff that paints a false picture of a failing charity will do no one any good – not the charity, not the people it supports and not the PR profession.

So, to answer my original question – what is PR for social good? – it’s PR with a conscience.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all PR had a conscience?