No hit or miss this post as it’s more about a personal experience.

It’s been a difficult couple of months, as the Charity I am a Trustee of reached the point in late Novemeber when it became clear that, on current expenditure and income, it would run out of funds  by September this year. Just over a year ago we learnt that the core funding we had always received from the County Council was to be withdrawn and re-allocated to a centralised organisation who would in turn contract local services from us.

From that point on the writing was on the wall and despite considerable efforts to raise funds through the year it was clear by the end of November that we would have to close some projects down.

As a Board of Trustees we are sure that we see a future for the organisation, and that this future is as a Social Enterprise, trading in a number of areas to raise funds which we can apply to less commercial activities.

So we are now in  a period of rationalisation, closing all but a handful of the Charity’s projects, and about to go into a period of planning a re-build and re-launch.

Now, “what does this have to do with PR?”,  I hear you ask. Well, our future will depend on delivering projects for our local community that both fill a need and can be run on a commercial basis and to do that we must really listen to the people in our community to understand what it is they need and shape how we might provide it. Luckily there is a project running in our area to sound out local people, and we will certainly be tapping into their findings as they emerge, but we must also develop new ways to engage with the population we serve.

This will be a big PR task, and a challenge to some within the organisation who are still rooted in traditional models of grant funded charity provision, but it will be what shapes our future and ensures that our community gets the services it deserves. A classic example of the central position communication can have in the sucess or failure of an organisation.