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Social Responsiblity and Public Relations
An organic guide to success in ethical PR.
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 by Anna Levy

Anna LevyNow more than ever, it pays to go green. The ethical goods business has bucked the trend of the recession, growing by almost a fifth in the UK since 2009, reflecting a growing sense of social responsibility and concern for the environment.

We are as responsible as any other industry for ensuring our impact is a positive one, and it has never been more important for us to be working with ethical and sustainable brands, those who put the three ps's – people, profit and planet at the heart of what they do.

AnAnna Guyerna Guyer is the Founder and CEO of Greenhouse PR. With a background in consumer PR at one of London’s top agencies, she decided seven years ago to move to an organic farm in the country and establish her own ethical PR agency.

Here Anna gives her tips for working in PR for good causes ...

1) Look for in-house positions in charities or NGOs. Nowadays, not-for-profit organisations have large and well-established press offices and PR teams. Agency experience, and the training and work ethic often developed through this route, is often highly valued by in-house recruitment teams.

2) Do voluntary work or an internship to gain some experience in the Third Sector before making the leap. This shows commitment to good causes and your communications savvy will be extremely valuable to a not-for-profit, particularly one that cannot afford PR support. A small charity without much of an in-house team (if any) will also give you the opportunity for real autonomy and creative strategic input.

3) Work for a PR agency with charity / public sector clients and a strong ethical code. More and more agencies are, like Greenhouse PR, becoming choosier about the clients they will work with and about their methods. Ethical PR is about more than just working on charity campaigns. It is also about ensuring that the values of your client or organisation are seen through in the work you do for them, and that you maintain an honest and principled approach to your campaigns. This includes, if you’re working on environmental campaigns, staying well-clear of ‘green-washing’!

4) Go freelance and choose your own clients and campaigns! Organisations with a social purpose will often have small budgets and are therefore attracted to hiring single consultants with fewer overheads.

5) Make friends with journalists and editors who share your passion for the cause. Unlike in the consumer sector, issues based campaigns are less about wining and dining and more about finding writers who are truly ‘on side’ and building long term relationships.

6) Be prepared to take a pay cut. Realistically, you might not get the salary you’d expect in the consumer/corporate world but the other pay offs (like resting easy in your bed at night!) should compensate for this.


Anna Levy is an issues-based PR specialist with a passion for education
and a background working with government departments and charities.
She freelances for ethical communications agency Greenhouse PR,
and is also a host at The Hub Islington.
Contact Anna Guyer at annaguyer@greenhousepr.co.uk
.





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