The opportunity

Power to Change is seeking to appoint an experienced PR Agency to raise the profile of the charitable trust and the importance of the community business sector, particularly in the context of a Covid-19 landscape.  The initial contract will be for 2 years with potential to agree and extend for additional years.

Power to Change is a charitable trust set up in 2015 to support the community business sector in England. We were established with a £150m endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund and we expect to continue with our work until at least 2022.

In the last few years we have scaled up our communications activities both for PR and social media, largely to increase strong, relevant applications for our funds, raise awareness of the sector and raise awareness of Power to Change.

In PR terms, we have secured strong regional results with targeted campaigns in some of our key places – Liverpool, Bristol and Plymouth.

Working with our partners, we have also secured strong national and sector coverage for specific funds like More than a Pub, Trade Up and the M&S Community Business Challenge. We have also worked on policies such as high streets, producing a position paper which has led to our inclusion on the Reasons to Be Cheerful podcast, ITN Tonight and a number of other news titles.

With the clock now ticking, we want to make sure everyone understands what the community business sector is, its role in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, how they can get involved and how essential Power to Change is in making that happen. We hope to secure additional funding to continue our work and strong, credible press coverage is a key way to make that happen.

Budget & Term

The contract will be for a period of up to 2 years (subject to annual review and extension being agreed) with an annual budget (to cover Fees and any Third party costs) of up to £70k including VAT. Power to Change is a registered charity handling public funds, we will therefore be considering best value for money when reviewing  the proposals.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for an agency that can propose and develop a creative and clear PR strategy that:

  • enables us to maximise awareness of the impact of our work
  • brings focus to our key sectors including community led health and social care, community led housing, community energy, community pubs, community owned buildings and green spaces and the high street
  • ensure the community business sector and Power to Change are viewed in the most credible light by consumers, the wider sector and funding decision makers like the government and other funders.

The strategy should focus on earned media coverage across consumer and vertical titles on a regional and national level. Agencies should be mindful of social media and ensure their proposal is scalable on social, but we run most of our social in-house, so we do not expect social execution to be part of the remit of the work.

We want to work with an agency that can demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the right titles to target, and creative ideas on how to make the most impact, over a sustained period of time.

We anticipate agencies that can demonstrate the following are most likely to be capable of delivering on our brief. You will need to provide case studies with campaign objectives, strategy and coverage results.


  • Have proven experience of consumer, national and regional PR campaigns in the UK leading to strong, earned press coverage
  • Have proven experience of running PR campaigns in the not for profit sector, ideally working with charitable trusts
  • Be based in England (our work is England-wide)
  • Have proven experience of working in a collaborative, cross-agency environment. You will need to provide two references from agencies you have worked alongside.


  • Have experience in securing coverage in the national business pages (desirable) (provide case studies with campaign objectives, strategy and coverage results)

About Power to Change

Power to Change is a charitable trust dedicated to supporting community businesses across England.

Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. The sector owns assets worth £890m, and comprises 9,000 community businesses across England who employ 33,600 people. (Source: Community Business Market 2019)

From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives. Power to Change received its endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015.

We run several specialist funds and learning programmes to support community businesses from the start-up stage right onwards. We also work with a wide range of partners to ensure our endowment reaches the right people working in our priority areas of energy, pubs, health and social care, and housing. You can read more about this on our Programmes page.

About Community Business

Communities come together and set up community businesses to address challenges they face together.

There are many types of community business. They can be shops, farms, pubs or leisure centres, among many other types of business. What they all have in common is that they are accountable to their community and that the profits they generate deliver positive local impact. During the Covid-19 lockdown, community businesses delivered vital services to local people.  Read some of their stories.

The four key features of a community business are:

  • Locally rooted: They are rooted in a particular geographical place and respond to its needs. For example, that could be high levels of urban deprivation or rural isolation.
  • Trading for the benefit of the local community: They are businesses. Their income comes from things like renting out space in their buildings, trading as cafes, selling produce they grow or generating energy.
  • Accountable to the local community: The local community have a genuine say in how the business is run, e.g. through regular consultation, membership or ownership. A majority of the management and trustees are from the community.
  • Broad community impact: They benefit and impact their local community as a whole. They often morph into the hub of a neighbourhood, where all types of local groups gather, for example to access broadband or get training in vital life skills.

We are running a two-stage tender process:

Pre-qualification (stage one): 27 July – 16 August 2020 – agencies that register their interest will be invited to complete a stage one selection questionnaire to help us assess whether they have the required minimum level of experience and expertise to deliver. We will evaluate all stage one selection questionnaires to pre-qualify and shortlist agencies to be invited to submit a full proposal (invitation to tender – stage two). The evaluation process which might include a telephone/face to face meeting to seek any clarifications.

Invitation to Tender (stage two): 7 September – 27 September 2020 – stage one shortlisted agencies will be invited to develop and submit proposals via an invitation to tender.  We will evaluate and score all proposals against the criteria set in the invitation to tender. We will invite the highest scoring agencies to clarification meetings to pitch proposals and answer any clarification points raised by the panel. We will notify all stage two agencies of the outcome of the tender and provide feedback on proposals.

Key dates:

Stage One Pre-qualification:

Deadline to submit selection questionnaire:                      16 August 2020 (midnight)

Notification of stage one outcome:                                      7 & 8 September 2020

Stage Two Invitation to Tender:

Invited bidders receive information:                                    7 September 2020

Clarification questions close:                                                  18 September 2020 (5pm)

Deadline to submit stage two bid:                                        27 September 2020 (midnight)

Clarification calls:                                                                     12-14 October 2020

Pitches:                                                                                       w/c 19 October 2020

Notification of stage two outcome:                                      26 & 27 October 2020

Contract Commences                                                              2nd November 2020

Want to find out more?

If you would like to receive a Selection Questionnaire, please register your interest by email to  confirming your organisation name and contact details.  Please mark your email FAO Sarah McCall, Procurement Officer, with the subject header as: PR Agency ITT.