18 September, 2014
Today sees the people of Scotland decide whether they want their country to become independent. It’s a momentous day for everyone in the UK not just those north of the border. There has been a great deal of discussion and analysis about what each outcome could mean politically, financially and domestically.
Charities north of the border have recently been offered advice to engage with Scotland’s changing future in a report by nfpSynergy.
But how will the changes, whatever they’re going to be, affect public relations for national charities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland? If they have beneficiaries and supporters in Scotland any changes to policy or funding that emerge after today could affect those relationships. PR will be key in reassuring service-users and supporters, helping to maintain income streams and establishing or continuing channels of communication with decision-makers.
Relationships with the Scottish media could also change. Charities may face a greater challenge to generate interest in stories and to demonstrate their relevance to a newly independent country. What was a ‘national’ story yesterday might not be tomorrow, even though there may be quite a number of people who live there who’ll be affected. Certainly, the media agenda will be crowded for some time yet so stories will need to be strong to get cut-through, and other channels need to be considered to make sure key messages get to stakeholders.
It’s an interesting, worrying and potentially expensive time as many charitable organisations face communication challenges and possibly re-branding if the ‘yes’ vote wins out. We’re watching with interest.