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charity as a tool in advertising: methods and results

Charity advertising is everywhere: from websites to street billboards. And surely you have encountered messages that talk about the importance of helping different categories of people. We collaborate with charitable organizations to create advertising campaigns and promote the idea of charity in various ways. We establish quality communication with the target audience based on research, which is especially important when working with the charitable sector. In this article, we will share the nuances that should be considered in advertising in this area, as well as talk about its development.


Overall situation

In 2020, due to the pandemic and general uncertainty of the population, many people wanted to help the more vulnerable and needy. This led to a significant increase in charitable fundraising at the end of the year - the results of the project "Rusfond. Navigator" show that compared to 2019, the total amount raised by charitable organizations increased by 6.9 billion rubles. This is, by the way, the largest increase since 2016.

Thus, by the end of the year 2020, the collections of organizations included in "Rusfond. Navigator" amounted to 26.4 billion rubles.

Choosing donors: funds and categories

In the field of private charity, like in any other, there are its own tendencies. For example, as practice shows, newcomers more often donate money to indirectly familiar organizations or popular funds they trust. But in order to make a charitable fund recognizable, in addition to honest work, it needs a thoughtful and well-built communication. As for citizens who constantly engage in charity, they usually interact with a selected pool of trusted funds and may not respond so actively to advertising.

Donors also choose not only where to make a contribution, but also to whom. The study of the charitable fund "CAF" showed that the top 3 most relevant categories are: children, poor people and religious organizations. Children are in the first place - more than half of the audience supports them.

Interestingly, according to statistics, 76% of all non-profit organizations and funds in Russia provide assistance only to children. At the same time, the age group up to 15 years old makes up only 3.3% of those who really need help. And only 24% of NGOs work equally with both children and adults.

Types of Donations

The most common types of donations among the modern audience are charity and non-material assistance, such as donating things to orphanages, churches, and other organizations. However, due to self-isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic, the proportion of people who give charity has decreased: 60% in 2019 and only 32% in 2020.

Nowadays, it is possible to donate online through a monthly subscription. However, despite the activity of people on social networks and the Internet, the proportion of such users is only 3% of the total number of donors.


Most advertising campaigns are based on images of children and targeted assistance to specific children. When creating such ads, marketers often exploit emotions of pity, using photos of sick children, emotional phrases, and shouting headlines. It is difficult and even meaningless to evaluate such advertising campaigns, especially if they work for the benefit of society. Unfortunately, charity remains an area of ​​pain and suffering in the mass consciousness of people in Russia. However, not all users want to see the suffering of others among their content, even if they are ready to help. Therefore, there are many advertisements based on interesting discoveries, wordplay, and heroism and strength of those in need, instead of pity.

About contributions: 90% of funds in their advertising campaigns call for regular monthly donations, even if in the minimum amount. Large funds, in addition to regular donations, often offer an exchange of money for branded merchandise, charity evenings, and concerts, for which the proceeds or part of it will go to the fund. This is an excellent way to attract those who have never been involved in charity before.


According to statistics, 74% of Russians have made donations at least once in their lives, and only 19% of citizens engage in charity on a regular basis.

We can characterize philanthropists as the most active part of Russian society. They are people with high human capital and an active life position. Citizens who are interested in sports, want to lead a healthy lifestyle, and follow the public agenda. Philanthropists feel responsible not only for themselves and their families but also for the country and society. They have the strongest sense of justice. Surveys show that only 17% of philanthropists do not feel responsible for the country.

The audience never donates without any reason - each of the donors has their own motives, such as:

  • — Communication with like-minded people. Based on this motive, charities often create active leisure programs for people interested in making new connections and socializing. Such events are more interesting to an engaged audience, but sometimes they also attract ordinary people who are not familiar with the topic.
  • — The opportunity to feel like a good person. Charity is an activity that society approves of. Those who make contributions or help those in need in any other way automatically receive some recognition and deserve the respect of those around them. In addition, many are motivated by empathy for stories that touch their hearts. People want to contribute to something important and it is pleasant to know that they have done a good deed.
  • — The trend of charity. Donations are not always made out of pure kindness and a real desire to help. Sometimes, aid is a tool for maintaining or creating a good reputation, a way to gain authority, and to receive recognition from the audience. It's hard to say whether this is good or bad, because those in need don't care why the donor made a contribution. What matters to them is that the donation was made.

We have discussed the most common motives that drive donors. Now, let's understand why people do not want to engage in charity. Audience research has shown that the top reasons include:

  • — The belief that one needs to donate a lot. The results of a sociological survey confirm that people are deterred by their low income. They think that the 20-50 rubles they are willing to donate will not help anyone. Therefore, it is easier for them not to help at all than to donate "pennies."
  • — Inconvenient payment methods. For small donations, users have to take too many actions, from making a decision to transferring funds.
  • — Lack of engagement. We have already mentioned that the main goal for a charity is to attract the attention of potential donors. This is achieved through quality promotion, building a dialogue with the audience, and storytelling.
  • — Donations are like trying to empty a lake with a teaspoon.
  • Many citizens mistakenly believe that if the political system is not working, then ordinary people cannot solve problems. And the funds that try to help are just deceiving the audience and profiting from those in need.

    Thus, given the general attitude of different segments of the audience towards the charity sector, we need to work comprehensively with advertising and information for potential donors. For example, for an audience that shows empathy towards people's problems, we should tell more about them in detail. In such a situation, communication through targeted assistance, which involves the audience in stories, is acceptable. However, users who approach charity consciously do not always want to see suffering and pain in advertising. In this case, we need to build a charity advertising campaign so that the communication visually corresponds to the lifestyle of this segment of the audience. It is essential to be able to interact with different people, understand their moods, analyze their actions, and draw conclusions. Only such a painstaking research approach will help us create effective communication with consumers.

    Case Study

    As an example of communication in the charity sector, we present an advertising campaign that we developed together with the AdVita charity foundation. The advertisement calls for making charity a habit and a norm of modern people's lifestyle, such as subscribing to music, movie services, etc. Our advertising campaign is primarily aimed at people who are inclined towards conscious charity rather than emotional.

    Learn more about this case study here. Let's go, take a look, and evaluate it.

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