Category Archives: PR for charities

Ethical public relations versus fake news

In a blog for the Charity PR website, Ethos public relations looks at ethical PR versus the growth of fake news.

Ethos PR 20th anniversary logo

For over 20 years, Ethos public relations has described itself as an ethical PR agency. We might not have known it back then, but what we were really saying was that we were against ‘fake news’.

In recent years, a number of things have contributed to the term ‘fake news’ being bandied about, almost every time someone disagrees with some information or an editorial stance. This is not at all useful and is only going to increase mistrust of information and expert opinion.

In the PR context, what we meant by ethical PR was not engaging in spin but focusing on the real news behind a story. For many clients, especially in the charity and social enterprise sectors, this is particularly important as they have meaningful stories to tell supporters and funders and we believe this is best done with real, honest case studies and stories that demonstrate the real impact of their work.

Back in the 1980s it wasn’t fake news that made us develop our honest approach but rather spin and ‘kiss and tell’ stories.

Unfortunately, the transformation to fake news from this was almost inevitable, and was supported in part by some bad editorial decisions by the media along the way.

It’s easy to blame editors, but a free media does need to be protected, although probably almost everyone working in public relations can cite examples of where really interesting, pertinent and newsworthy press releases have gained no coverage, while less socially useful information gets on air or in print.

Journalists aren’t social workers, but they do need to take a responsibility to their community and reflect what is going on in a balanced and holistic way. We have always subscribed to – and done our best to adhere to – the NUJ principles in our dealings with the media.

In a pre-digital age, it was true that air time and newspaper space was limited, but that’s hardly the case now. Real, good quality and verifiable news should be able to find an outlet on trusted media sites to balance the seemingly endless rise of so called ‘news’ sites peddling opinion as fact.

Ethos public relations supports charity communications

Ethos public relations is committed to supporting charities and was delighted to sponsor and manage the design and print of a flyer and poster for a new music festival.

Music for the Monty posterMusic for the Monty takes place in June as part of Welshpool Transport Festival. One of the directors of Ethos public relations has been involved in helping to organise the event and Ethos public relations took responsibility for preparing an A4 poster and an A6 flyer to promote it. One of the Ethos team designed the publicity materials and the logo was kindly donated by designer Dave Clucas.

Public relations is important for all types of organisation, but for charities and not-for-profits it is especially important for reaching new and existing supporters. Ethos public relations is committed to helping charities publicise their activities and has worked with many local and national charities in its 20 year history.

This website, which is managed by Ethos public relations, contains lots of useful information to help charities promote their organisation, including advice on social media, video production and photography. There are also some ‘top tips’ on PR for charities.

Shaun Fisher, one of the directors of Ethos public relations, said: “We are passionate about working with charities, community groups and voluntary organisations to get their messages out to the wider public. This isn’t just because it is our business, but because we have a longstanding commitment to raising awareness of the activities and achievements of the charitable sector.”

You can find out more about the work that Ethos public relations does to promote charity events here and to contact Ethos public relations click here.

Music for the Monty takes place on 23 and 24 June 2018 and features an evening concert at Welshpool Town Hall on Saturday 23 June, as well as free music at venues across Welshpool over the weekend. The event has been organised to raise funds for the restoration on the Montgomery Canal which stretches from Shropshire to mid-Wales.

Report shines light on mental health services

In its annual State of Care report, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the independent regulator of health and social care services in England – has found some improvements in mental health services, but has also highlighted areas of concern and challenges that services must overcome around high demand, workforce shortages, unsuitable facilities and outdated services.

Mind logoWhile there have been many improvements, a greater proportion of mental health services were found to have deteriorated in quality compared with other parts of the NHS. Of services originally rated as good, 26 per cent of mental health services dropped at least one rating. This is in comparison to 23 per cent of adult social care services, 18 per cent of acute hospitals and two per cent of GP surgeries.

The CQC said it was surprised and concerned that 73 per cent of mental health beds are on locked rehabilitation wards, as it suggests an outdated approach to care in which people are institutionalised rather than helped to recover and live independently.

Also, many facilities were found not to meet safety standards, with fixtures and fittings that could be used in suicide attempts and examples of medicines not being stored securely.

Responding to the report,  Chief Executive of Mind Paul Farmer said: “It’s very concerning to see that, as of July this year, more mental health services had deteriorated in quality than other parts of the NHS and that issues of safety, among others, have not been addressed despite being raised in previous reports. It shows the scale of the challenge facing NHS mental health services; we have a sound plan for starting to improve services over the next few years but after decades of neglect and underfunding it is going to take sustained effort and investment over many years to reverse the damage that has been done.

“That the CQC continues to highlight the same basic ward safety issues time and time again is very worrying. When someone is in hospital for their mental health, they are at their most vulnerable and they and their loved ones should be able to trust that they are receiving care in a safe, therapeutic environment. We are concerned to see that many facilities don’t meet the needs of people with mental health problems, and that inspections continue to reveal examples of outdated and sometimes institutionalised care.

“The prevalence of locked mental health rehabilitation wards is particularly alarming, and highlights the need for the review of the Mental Health Act recently announced by the Government. This review must thoroughly explore the problems with the current Act in full consultation with people with experience of being treated under it, so that future legislation is fit for purpose and put the rights and needs of the person in crisis first.

“Last year, a five year plan for improving mental health services was launched, with a commitment by the NHS to spend £1 billion more on mental health services by 2020-21. This is a good plan and we need to see it delivered in every local area. The CQC report reiterates the need for that funding to be invested in services on the ground, so that we can start building NHS mental health services that will carry us in to the future.”

PR for charity events

Ethos public relations has introduced a new PR package to help charities promote their events.

Director ShauPR for charity eventsn Fisher said: “Ethos public relations is passionate about helping charities, community groups and voluntary organisations get publicity for their activities. This isn’t just because it is our business but because we have a commitment to highlighting the valuable contribution made by charitable and voluntary action.

“Over the years, we have seen, and even attended, a wide range of charitable activities that haven’t been as successful as they could have been. Often this is because of time constraints, a lack of appropriate communication and marketing or simply a lack of organisational capacity.

“For most local charities part of the problem of organising a successful event is budget. Not many voluntary organisations can afford the rates charged by large public relations businesses. But that’s where Ethos public relations can help. As we are committed to helping local community efforts flourish, we are offering a bespoke package for local charities seeking to ensure their events are a success.”

For a set fee of £200 including VAT, Ethos public relations will discuss your event with you and give their opinion on the idea, work with you to ensure it is communicated suitably on your website, Facebook and Twitter, write a press release for your local media and upload it to appropriate listing sites and advise on photography.

Shaun Fisher added: “This whole package should not only help you get more visitors or participants to your charity’s event, but will free up your time so you can focus on the important job of putting the event together.”

Click here to find out more and if you would like to work with Ethos public relations to give your charitable work the boost it deserves, give Shaun a call on 07968 211664 or email info@ethos-pr.com.