Nabs gears up to deal with industry job cuts

LONDON - Nabs, the ad industry charity, is recruiting extra staff as it gears up for what it fears will be a wave of job losses at agencies during the early part of next year.

The above video was first shown at NABS' Patron's evening on Wednesday

Its action follows a huge increase in the number of calls to its helpline – up 53 per cent over the same period last year. Most of the calls are from agency staffers who have either been made redundant or fear they are about to be laid off.

At the same time, Nabs is streamlining its careers advice service so that those who find themselves jobless can be seen and helped more quickly.

The charity needs an annual income of about £2.1 million to sustain its activities. However, only 20 per cent of the industry currently gives it financial support.

Barbara Seymour, its fundraising development and marketing manager, admitted: "It's when we need money the most that people are least inclined to give it. And we know the first quarter of next year is going to be very tough."

Nabs issued its warning as it unveiled a new film detailing its activities during the past year.

The film will be used to drive up awareness among agencies, particularly digital specialists that have almost no knowledge of Nabs or its activities.

"A lot of these companies were not born out of the industry so they have no Nabs culture," Seymour explained.

Nabs, which has given more than £500,000 to beneficiaries this year, has growing increasingly alarmed about becoming squeezed within an increasingly crowded charity sector.

"Twenty years ago you just sent your cheque to Christian Aid or dropped money into the Barnardo's box," Seymour said.

"Today there's so much more competition for that money. Charities are big business. And agencies may be more reluctant to give to Nabs if they have a big charity client."

Nabs executives also believe they are being affected because agencies have become much more democratic when they make charity donations and allow staff to choose where the money should go.

During the coming months, Nabs will emphasise that, as far as the industry is concerned, charity ought to begin at home.

Ron Miller, London Weekend Television's former sales and marketing director and a long-time Nabs stalwart, told a reception for the charity's patrons this week: "There aren't a lot of people out there to give to Nabs. And if they won't help, who will?"