A century of charity campaigning

NGOs discuss charity campaigns. How it was 100 years ago and what will happen in the 21st century


Moscow, 21.03.14

Experts discussed various trends of information support for charity employed during the last century at a round-table event held in the Russian Federation’s Public Chamber.

In opening the meeting, the Director of the Grand Prix Advertising Research Centre, Vladimir Weiner, explained that templates of social advertising at the start of the 20th century had comprised all the elements necessary for an effective information campaign, according to a press spokesperson from the Russian Charities Aid Foundation Fund, which was represented at the meeting. He said that the personal involvement of members of the Tsar’s family and other high-ranking individuals had played a significant role in a hundred years of charity advertising campaigns. This is a matter which has drawn respect and attracted extra attention to the question of social advertising.

Representatives from two charities related their experience in the modern-day running of the of the old charity “White Flowers” established by Tsar Nicholas II and which spread across Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1998, the old traditions of this charity were revived by the Nizhny Novgorod organisation “Service” with support from Nizhny Novgorod’s Agency for Social Information. Activists took part in “White Flowers” events as part of efforts to help children suffering from tuberculosis. Volunteers went around raising money through collections and, in return, handed out white daisies and leaflets highlighting the human impacts of tuberculosis. All this attracted the attention of mass media and business, which have both donated money to the cause.

In keeping with the history of the Tsar’s family involvement, the Orthodox help agency “Compassion” has been organising “White Flower” events since 2011. According to the organisation’s press secretary Anna Ovsyanukova, retaining the ways of the past is extremely important in creating a positive image of modern-day social advertising.

An example of contemporary charity work was given by Inna Finochka, special correspondent from Novosti. This agency has been involved in work aimed at drawing attention to the problems of those suffering from autism, known as “Light it up in blue”. Blue is the internationally recognised colour of autism and with this in mind and as part of World Autism Awareness Day, large buildings in 10 Russian towns were lit up in blue.

Suggested ways of promoting social advertising were put forward by a writer from the “Philanthropist” website, Lydia Tikhonovich. She made reference to CAF’s “Socially active media” programme, under whose auspices an inaugural competition will be held for NGOs to come up with ways for assisting the growth of social advertising, together with a training course on the “Rudiments of advertising communication for NGOs”.

Participants in the round-table event in the Public Chamber discussed tried and trusted ways of raising awareness of the importance of charitable work such as charity performances in well-known Moscow theatres, as well as charity bazaars. At the same time, they recognised that more and more ideas for promoting the charity sector are constantly evolving, thanks to new information support methods and the power of the internet. In addition, members of public organisations have noticed that NGOs are nowadays increasingly moving away from one-off actions to providing regular support for those in need of their help.

Author: Daria Shapovalova


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