A new report shares insights into the nonprofit news that’s dominated in Australia’s media coverage over the last 12 months.

Lifeline was the most mentioned charity in the news last year, while Andrew Forrest was the nation’s most recognised philanthropist, according to new research.

Media monitoring provider, Streem, has released a study into the nation’s most prominent charities, foundations and associated people in print and online news over the last year. The study examined mentions in Australia’s 12 capital-city newspapers and 21 of the biggest news websites from around the country. Syndication (the practice of making media content available across multiple platforms or publications) was removed.

Lifeline had by far the most news mentions, with 5,293, ahead of the RSPCA with 1,725 mentions.

Many Lifeline mentions came from publishers who included the charity’s contact details at the bottom of sensitive stories about issues such as suicide.

In terms of prominence, the RSPCA was the charity most-frequently mentioned in the first 100 words of a story, while St John Ambulance spent the most time in lead positions on news websites.

The RSPCA has featured in numerous articles that have discussed issues including the increase in animal cruelty during lockdowns, untrustworthy breeders, ongoing live animal export concerns, horse racing debate and multiple dog deaths related to unregulated pet food production.

St John Ambulance often feature as first-responders in articles about incidents and emergencies, and have frequently featured in stories about ambulance ‘ramping’ (ambulances having to wait outside emergency departments for extended periods due to lack of beds) in the last year, which include WA parliamentary committee scrutiny of the state’s contract with the nonprofit (a reminder that ‘all publicity is good publicity’ is probably not true).

Streem media analyst Conal Hanna said the pandemic had a major impact on coverage of the charity sector this year, with more than a quarter of mentions of charities coming within 100 words of coronavirus or lockdowns.

“Some charities saw more news coverage as a result of their lockdown-related programs, while for others COVID-19 probably made it more difficult to cut through due to pandemic saturation in the news,” Hanna said.

Meanwhile, the Minderoo Foundation had more than double the media presence of the next closest philanthropic foundation, the Judith Neilson Institute.

Minderoo has made the headlines over some very large and high profile gifts (including $10 million funding for the launch of its social impact film division, Minderoo Pictures), its COVID-19 response, it’s direct calling out of some of the world’s largest polluters, and it’s continued focus and support for climate action.

The Judith Neilson Institute supports and celebrates quality journalism and storytelling around the world and provides grants and education programs that equip journalists with the resources they need to produce outstanding work. The organisation often receives media coverage associated with its funding. The nonprofits’s patron and founder, Judith Neilson, is also a headline-maker in her own right, a 74-year-old billionaire, the owner of Sydney’s White Rabbit Gallery and dedicated philanthropist to several causes.

Not only was Minderoo co-founder Andrew Forrest the most mentioned foundation philanthropist, his wife Nicola was third, behind Ms Neilson. In March, The Australian newspaper named the Forrests the biggest donors of the past 12 months, having given away $88 million in 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.

The research found the volume of sector coverage was relatively consistent across the year, although the prominence of charities peaked in September with both Sydney and Melbourne in the grips of extended lockdowns.

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

Finally, three stories that spent a long time in the top spots of online news websites were:

  1. How Royal Flying Doctor Service is taking NT’s remote rollout under their wing
  2. Orange Sky calls for more Canberra volunteers after 50 per cent drop during pandemic
  3. Thanks A Million campaign: Foodbank volunteers Trevor and Judy Grant stepped up effort in 2020

Any charities interested in seeing how their media footprint compared can contact Streem.

To read more about how to secure press coverage for your nonprofit, click Classy.org’s blog post here and Prosper Strategies’ guide to securing PR coverage here!



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