Making your charity visible in the press - we ask journalists for their tips

Man holding newspaper

Making your charity visible in the press - we ask journalists for their tips

This week we're exploring our research with journalists to find out what topics and stories they think has the best cut-through in the press for charities.

Naomi Croft

We all know how good press can lift a charity’s brand – being featured in a positive light can be a tricky target to achieve consistently, but it’s well worth the effort it requires. Part of this is learning how to anticipate and reach journalists with the type of news, stories, and content that they are in search of, which is what we’re looking into today. Our regular research into the opinions and expectations of UK journalists has turned up some exciting trends which can help your charity to maximise your standing in the press.


The cost-of-living crisis is still top of the news agenda

Our first port of call is to look at which issues are expected to influence stories over the coming 12 months. Our latest wave of research indicates that journalists are expecting their stories to be influenced by the cost-of-living crisis more than any other issue, with 67% giving this answer. This is a big jump from even just a year prior, where only 56% said the same.

While we’ve seen that the public are more concerned with other issues - such as the quality of NHS services - when strategising for press coverage it’s vital that you reach out to journalists about the topics that they themselves deem the most influential. And there is an appetite for stories from charities on the cost-of-living. After all, the general election is upcoming and cost-of-living issues are one of the top three topics that MPs say constituents contact them about (as of November 2023). Bringing the press your charity’s unique experiences, challenges, or hopes for the new government through this lens is likely to be a great source of cut-through.


Journalists know the importance of politics when covering charities

The journalists that we survey recognise the truth of the overlap between charities and politics. While only 14% have specifically said that they will be prioritising political stories, a lot of mentions of the upcoming election has us certain that the sector’s political engagement in the coming year will be likely to be covered. 

When it comes to the issues that the general election will hinge on, such as the cost-of-living itself, charities will want to have a handle on their communications with specific regard paid to each issue. The sector has a history and duty to put pressure on the government to enact change. In fact, this was a point on which journalists last year commented that they had been impressed by the sector, with Cancer Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society being frequently mentioned with praise being lauded on their political publications and press interactions. It isn’t the time to shy away from political advocacy. Get involved, and don’t be afraid to be loud – now is the time to shine a spotlight on the work that you’re doing.


Charities need to get better at discussing challenges

The journalists we surveyed recognised that charities are doing well at reporting their success stories, which should undoubtably be a crucial part of your comms strategy. Some journalists actually prefer a lean towards the positive, feeling that there are too many negative issues being discussed and not enough room to celebrate the victories – as one journalist told us, the sector has to avoid being “overwhelmingly gloomy”.

However, there is also room for improvement across the sector is in reporting the challenges and issues that you may be coming up against. Only half of journalists think that charities communicate the cost-of-living challenges that they’re facing effectively. These challenges make for interesting stories and give a contrast from successes to highlight the impact of a charity’s work and the necessity of donations.


The upcoming election is an opportunity for your charity to capitalise on the open conversation. Journalists are waiting to hear on the unique voice that you can provide; be that in your successes, struggles, or ideas for change. There will be many topics that become more salient as the election approaches, and we’d love to hear about charities making the most of the platform they have. As for our research with journalists, what would you like us to ask in the coming wave of surveys? We’d love to hear from you – get in touch at .

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