An interesting article in NMA last week outlined how a recent change to the Committee of Advertising Practice codes will now allow charities to show comparative ads on TV and radio for the first time. Charities are now able to tell the public exactly how they spend their donations compared to others.

Charities are struggling in the recession, with 56% reporting a downturnI initially found the idea of charities competing against each other slightly unnerving – like many others, I had always (naively!) thought that charities could rely on goodwill to attract new donors. My experiences of working on the Blue Cross and Compassion in World Farming affiliate programs have taught me differently however – it is a constant challenge to attract the public’s attention and to get them to pledge their money.

The recession is continuing to hit charities hard: a Charity Commission study last year found that 56% of charities have been affected by the economic downturn, up from 52% at the start of 2009.

So while critics worry that these new advertising changes will encourage ‘one-upmanship’ and divisions in the sector, charities say that they have to be more aggressive in distinguishing themselves and the work they do in order to educate the public and survive.

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