Every year, on a pro bono basis, Curzon PR selects one charity and then sets out to help them with communication and marketing initiatives to increase their profile.
Farzana shares with us how she became involved in charity work and why it is important for charities to focus on communication and marketing efforts.
|Founder and CEO of Curzon PR and Philanthropist|
|Providing professional Communication and Marketing support for charities.|
|Margaret Thatcher - she was the first Prime Minister and achieved her success on pure merit, dedication and hard work.|
QUOTE YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE BY
|Treat a rose like a rose and a thorn like a thorn|
How did you get involved in charity work?
When I was a university student in London, I noticed that my campus was full of privileged students yet the local community outside the campus were poor, with low literacy rates and even lower levels of higher education.
I felt saddened by the contrast so I set up an initiative called the Student Welfare Movement which provided a platform for students from our university to engage with the secondary school pupils in the local schools - inspiring them to pursue higher education by being a role model.
Why do charities need a PR agency?
Charities, like all organisations, need professional help. Communications around who they are, what they stand for and why should people support them - is key.
We live in a world of charity fatigue; meaning charities must work harder to communicate their value to society, communicating the impact of their campaigns.
What was your most memorable experience you had working with a charity?
Working with children through Drama workshops in the Tower Hamlets area of London and giving them the confidence to pursue their dreams of a better future with higher education.
In your opinion what are the key challenges the charities face in order to raise awareness?
Charities need marketing support to raise awareness; however donors often do not have the appetite to fund the marketing function or other necessary functions of a charity and naturally prefer their donations to be spent on the ground directly.
This leads to organisational issues. Charities too - like other organisations - need to have strong financial, marketing, operational, legal, HR and IT functions.
Why do charity events get so much exposure in the lifestyle media?
In my experience, Journalists are generally mission orientated and have chosen their careers as they wish to serve society by ethical journalism and therefore are always looking to support causes through their editorial endeavours.
Charities also attract brand ambassadors who are celebrities as it boosts their profile and the media gets the celebrity hook they need to write about the charity.
Every year Curzon PR selects a charity to help with their PR on a pro bono basis. What are the selection criteria?
The charity we choose to work with is often connected to the agency through our community. Last year we sponsored CARE Pakistan as we have worked with them in the past and previously we provided pro bono PR to the Sarah Charlton Foundation because one of our team was on their committee.
We usually have a relationship with the charity and know their work in depth before we support them.
What advice would you give to charities who would like to raise their awareness?
I would advise charities to not neglect their marketing communications.
To understand they are one of thousands of charities - and stay focused working hard as businesses in differentiating themselves from other charities. They must not only provide value and impact but also communicate effectively and consistently with their target donors and stake holders.
How does you day look like?
I wake up at 7am and my first hour is with my daughter getting her ready for school and dropping her off. We always start our day with happy music so spend our morning dancing whilst getting ready. It is important to start the day on a positive note.
I then head to the office where I have internal meetings covering HR, IT, Finance, Legal as well as the strategy on client campaigns we are working on. I then head for lunch typically with a journalist followed by afternoon meetings with clients and collaborators.
Evenings are often hosting events with our clients such as an art viewing or charity gala. I then head home for dinner with my family who are my anchor in the frenzied world of PR followed swiftly by bed!
It is important that I am rested for the working day ahead.