Listening to all the coverage over the general election made me wonder what it would be like to have a ‘politician’ working with us in our office. This is my imaginary appraisal write-up for the ‘areas for improvement’ that came back from the 360 feedback session for my imaginary colleague - Polly Tician.
The nfpSynergy Blog
Cameron’s slim majority presents opportunities for lobbyists from all sectors
At the first Cabinet meeting, David Cameron held aloft the Conservative manifesto and said:
Opinion pollsters don’t have an enviable job. We regularly work with surveys and we know that it’s often an inexact science. Trying to capture how the public feel about a subject is not an easy thing and depends on finding the right people to talk to, asking them the right question, in the right setting and at the right time.
So the results are pretty much in as this goes to press. The Conservatives have stormed to victory and Labour has been condemned rather than Con-Dem-ed to another five years in Opposition. Most people predicted a hung parliament, with many suggesting that Ed Miliband might make a bold move to become PM even if he didn’t lead the largest party back into Westminster. With charities planning for what should have been a predictable Commons layout, and at least some praying for Ed’s reds to take power, what now for those best laid plans?
The charity world has a conflicted attitude towards companies. There are many charities with large teams dedicated to building corporate partnerships and raising substantial income. There are campaign organisations that will have nothing to do with companies either in terms of income or influence, or that will only work with the most ‘ethical’ of the corporate world. It must be one of the few sources of income where some people believe that publicly lambasting donors is a productive way to increase income. However, some sector leaders have done it.
As summer approaches with the first tantalising signs of sun, now is the time to start planning for summer internships. Despite controversy about pay, charity summer internships can be a brilliant exchange of experience, skills and work between charity and intern. At nfpSynergy, a regular intake of summer interns and research assistants provides both a brilliant environment for gaining experience and, crucially, a culture of innovation and fresh insight within the company.
Our extensive research with the general public gives us a great insight into how people see charities. From within the sector it’s easy to forget that most people have little experience of how charities really work and spend very little time thinking about it! For many of them, views on how charities work are stuck somewhere in the last century, with even large national brands running multi-million pound operations expected to operate out of a church hall with few to no paid staff.
Over the last 20 years, an awful lot of the British public have started give to charity because some fundraiser or other persuaded them to donate a very small monthly amount. It might only be £2 or £3, but it’s fair to say that the widespread promotion of this type of giving has transformed both the fortunes of many charities and the number of people who give regularly.
The charity sector’s relationship with the media has always been something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, media coverage can provide a tremendous boost to a charity’s campaigns and services. On the other, negative attention has the potential to be very detrimental.