How coronavirus drove charity sector coverage in 2021

New research published today by Streem has revealed the nation’s highest profile charities and philanthropists in the news, as well as the charities most closely associated with the impact of coronavirus. 

The study of more than 60 charities across the past 12 months found almost a quarter of their mentions came within 100 words of lockdowns or coronavirus.

But while some charities experienced a rise in coverage due to their COVID-related efforts, others found it challenging to cut through, due to the overwhelming amount of pandemic coverage.

Lifeline was by far the most-mentioned charity in the 12 months to 31 October, with 5293 distinct news mentions, well ahead of second placed RSPCA, who were mentioned 1725 times.

Many of Lifeline’s mentions came from publishers including their contact details at the bottom of stories about sensitive topics such as self-harm.

The RSPCA were the charity most-frequently mentioned in the first 100 words of a story, while St John Ambulance spent the most time of any charity in the lead positions on news websites.

The significant impact of COVID on media coverage meant that for some charities, their coverage rose due to their COVID-related efforts, while for others it would have impacted their ability to cut through, due to the overwhelming amount of pandemic coverage.

For charities with over 50 COVID-related distinct mentions, Unicef had the highest percentage of mentions associated with COVID at 82.7 per cent, followed by Yourtown on 74.7 per cent and Médecins Sans Frontières on 61.7 per cent.

The Minderoo Foundation had more than double the media presence of the next-closest philanthropic foundation, the Judith Neilson Institute (JNI).

Minderoo co-founder Andrew Forrest was the most mentioned philanthropist, while his wife, Nicola, was third behind Ms Neilson.

The prominence of the Forrests and Minderoo reflects the significance of their donations, with The Australian newspaper naming them the biggest donors of the past 12 months in March, having given away $88 million at that time.

Mr Forrest’s media mentions alongside Minderoo were more than double that of the highest-profile chair of a charity, John Brogden of Lifeline.

Across the year, the volume of sector coverage was relatively consistent, although the prominence of charities peaked in September with both Sydney and Melbourne in the depths of their extended lockdowns.

Adelaide’s Advertiser was the newspaper that gave charities the most prominence over the last 12 months, while Hobart’s Mercury dedicated the most attention to the sector online.

While our research, which examined mentions in Australia’s 12 capital-city newspapers and 21 of the biggest news websites from around the country, looked at the industry generally, our dedicated Media Analysis team stands ready to provide you with insights and analysis specific to your organisation.

Providing qualitative and quantitative analysis, Streem’s Media Analysis team can examine your media coverage or beyond, offering you the key insights you need about your presence in the news. To find out more about what Streem’s Media Analysis team can offer you, get in touch here.

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