Media scrutiny of charities is the 'new normal', says nfpSynergy

08 Mar 2016 News

A survey by nfpSynergy has revealed that 70 per cent of journalists expect more critical coverage of charities in the future, despite extensive negative coverage last year.

nfpSynergy

A survey by nfpSynergy has revealed that 70 per cent of journalists expect more critical coverage of charities in the future, despite extensive negative coverage last year.

The bi-annual Journalist’s Attitudes and Awareness Monitor questioned 150 journalists covering the charity sector. It concludes that “media scrutiny of charities is here to stay for the foreseeable future”.

The research reveals that 65 per cent of journalists think the media "needs to do more to scrutinise charities” and that 52 per cent agree that “tighter regulation of charity fundraising is required, even if it means that charities raise less money”.

But according to the research, less than one in four respondents – 22 per cent – said they found it harder to trust charities as a result of recent media stories. Just 8 per cent said they would be less likely to cover a charity campaign as a result of recent media stories, while just 4 per cent said they would be less likely to cover a story about a charity beneficiary as a result of recent media coverage.

A blog by nfpSynergy researcher, Karen Barker, to accompany the research states: “Over are the days when charities could feel confident that the occasional story about chief executive pay during the slow news summer cycle could be weathered and quickly forgotten by the public.”

Barker describes media scrutiny of charities as a “new normal” and urges charity communications teams to take steps towards damage control in the coming year – including sharing “key messages” for staff to answer critics with. These can include responses to how much the chief executive is paid and what percentage of voluntary income is spent on the cause.

“This will help them demonstrate your organisation’s transparency,” said Barker. “Staff should be prepared to answer questions about fundraising, admin costs and executive pay from MPs and journalists.”

The blog also urges charities to treat journalist as supporters: “Show journalists that you take these issues seriously and are happy to have open and frank conversation about them,” Barker said.

Barker also urges charities to “start important internal conversations” within the charity and among all staff.

“You can explain that you can’t be afraid to raise concerns internally on issues in your organisation, because if you don’t today, the Daily Mail might tomorrow,” she said. 

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Read our policy here.