It seems that the role of the NGO is becoming increasingly important in the PR industry. The world is now beginning to consider and worry about the bigger picture i.e. the state of the planet rather than just ourselves and our businesses. As this trend persists, NGO’s are certainly picking up their pace in firmly establishing themselves as an important force in Public Relations.
NGOs now play a very important role in devising campaigns to keep the people of the world engaged about the state of the world they live in, whether its famine, pollution, human rights or child labour there is an NGO campaign out there to address it. They are playing the role of the ‘All Seeing Eye’, making sure that businesses and governments alike don’t lose sight of what is going on a global level.
The NGO is significantly growing as a powerful force in informing the public through their campaigns about current issues. An example of this would be the issue of climate change. Due to the PR efforts of NGOs such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, corporations and governments across the world are having to sit up and acknowledge what these organisations are saying and consider how they themselves, are impacting the world in terms of climate change.
The media is more and more interested in giving the topic of climate change more consideration due to the high profile NGOs involved, therefore raising its profile. When reporting on issues such as this the media is increasingly interested in talking to the leading NGO on that issue, it adds credibility to the story. This is because NGOs are seen as the the party in the ‘right’. They have the reputation of only wanting to do the right thing, unlike corporations or governments who always receive scepticism due to their end goal of making money. However the NGO has no other interest in the issue other than the ethical and just course of action.
The NGO has a fantastic reputation and so is extremely trusted by the public. This makes the NGO an incredible threat to corporations and governments. Through NGO campaigning public concern about issues such as climate change is increasing, this in turn puts corporations under a greater level of scrutiny – forcing them to react. Examples of this are M&S and Tesco’s implementing a strategy to deal with lowering their carbon footprints. Every corporation now has a green story; much of this is due to the power and the influence the NGO holds. Companies who do not act face the dreaded wrath of the NGO.
Therefore corporations have realised that having an NGO on board can be an asset to them. The once considered arch enemies; NGOs and Corporations are now forming unlikely partnerships. “Partnerships of various kinds between businesses and NGOs seem to be part of an emerging trend that seeks to foster corporate integrity. “ –George G Brenkert, Corporate Integrity and Accountability, p8” The corporation realises that by having a relationship with an NGO benefits them in raising their integrity amongst its stakeholders and the public. Being affiliated with a trust-worthy NGO rubs off on the corporation, making it a more trust-worthy organisation also.
It really seems that the power of the NGO has increased significantly over the past decade or so. They used to be a secondary mechanism in influencing corporate and government decisions and public opinion. This is no longer the case. NGOs are key players at the negotiating table. They hold the power to shape what we think and how we act on issues on every level, whether it be personal or corporate.
Corporate watch; Public relations and lobbying industry
Brendan May Planet2050; Change must begin here