Marketing communications of non-profit organizations

World Vision and Terre des Homes - a comparison

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2006

25 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Organizational profiles
2.1 World Vision
2.2 Terre des Homes

3 Marketing communications of Terre des Hommes and World Vision
3.1 Target audience
3.2 Marketing communication objectives
3.3 Marketing communication instruments
3.3.1 Advertising
3.3.2 Direct Communications
3.3.3 Public relations Donor relations Press relations Grass roots relations Lobbying

4 Evaluation of the marketing communication
4.1 Informing about the organization and activities
4.2 Enhancing the corporate image and identity
4.3 Building strong relationships with target groups
4.4 Elicit certain behaviours or lead to actions

5 Conclusion

6 Appendix

1 Introduction

Given the explosion in the number of non profit organizations over the past years and the fact that there are no signs of a slowing of growth in this area (Sargeant, 1999a: 8) the competition is getting fierce. Due to the intangibility and immateriality of most non profit services, marketing communication plays a central role to gain differentiation and thus, competitive advantage. Communication is used to draw attention to causes, to raise funds in order distribute it to those in need or to promote activities (Kotler, 2005a: 27). To carry it to an extreme, in some cases, such as raising funds for disasters, the effectiveness of marketing communication can even decide upon life or death.

In the following research the marketing communications of the non profit organizations World Vision and Terre des Hommes will be compared, whereas key differences or similarities will be highlighted. Furthermore the paper aims to evaluate their respective approaches with respect to the theoretical ideal in marketing science. In order to attain these goals, a series of steps are required in advance. First, a brief outline on the organizations will be given. This step is followed by an overview over the organizations respective target audience, communication objectives and tools, whereas key differences or similarities will be highlighted. Based on those findings, the overall marketing communications will be appraised according to which extent their efforts are matching with preset objectives as well as with the theoretical ideal in professional marketing science. In the final section conclusions will be drawn and future recommendations will be provided. The research will be based on diverse marketing literature related to the topic. Additionally, data obtained from the international websites of the organizations and from interviews with their press referees will be considered in our study.

2 Organizational profiles

2.1 World Vision

World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization which was established in 1950 to care for orphans in Asia. The international headquarter is located in the American city Monrovia. World Vision operates as a partnership of interdependent national offices in more than 99 countries worldwide by more than 20,000 staff. They are working for the well-being of poor and vulnerable people with the main focus on children through sustainable development, disaster relief, raising public awareness and advocating for justice (World Vision International, 2006).

The most important service offered, is the child sponsorship program, where donors can select their own child, to whom they donate their money.

2.2 Terre des Homes

The International Federation of Terre des Hommes was founded in 1960 in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization, named after the book “Terre des Hommes” from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, operates as an independent network of 11 organizations in 72 countries with approximately 327 paid employees as well as more than 9000 volunteers. Their activities are concentrating on children and consist of development and humanitarian aid projects.

The most prominent issues Terre des Hommes is engaged with are child prostitution, child labour and child soldiers. Furthermore they run various education- and healthcare programs (International Federation Terre des Hommes[1], 2006a).

3 Marketing communications of Terre des Hommes and World Vision

According to Bruhn (2005a: 384) Marketing communication includes external communication (e.g. advertising), internal communication (e.g. internal newsletter), and interactive communication, between the organizational members and stakeholders (e.g. events). Figure 1 illustrates the marketing communication process of World Vision and Terre des Hommes.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Marketing communication process of World Vision and Terre des Homes

3.1 Target audience

Due to the fact that both organizations operate more or less in the same field, their target audience are quite similar, although there are some minor differences. For instance World Vision, as a Christian rooted organization, puts a great emphasis on Christian institutions such as churches. Political institutions or decision makers are targeted likewise. On the grass roots level they focus on local individuals or communities. Finally, existing as well as potential donors represent the major target groups, equally. It is reasonable that both organizations target potential donors according to a number of studies which exposed that charity donors are individuals with high income, slightly more female and that the age group between 35-44 years give the highest amount (Sargeant, 1999b: 131), whereas the propensity to donate increases with age and education (Haibach, 1998: 98).

3.2 Marketing communication objectives

The major communication goals of both organizations can be classified, according to the levels of response of the target audience, into cognitive-, affective- and conative approaches (Bruhn, 2005b: 387) which are stated in table 1.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Table 1: Major objectives of both organizations

Although the communication plan is orientated towards the achievement of various goals, the most important objective is to raise the level of funds. Jürgen Pothmann from World Vision Germany says that “our first priority is to strengthen the bonds with current donors and to gain new donors, as funds represent the foundation for all our operations (Pothmann, 2006a).”

3.3 Marketing communication instruments

The communication system of Terre des Hommes and World Vision is a complex organism of various elements. This section provides an overview over the main promotional tools applied.

3.3.1 Advertising

Kotler (2005b, 724) defines advertising as “any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor”. Advertisement to achieve their communication objectives are ran by both organizations in various media, such as TV, radio, print, outdoor or the internet.

Running frequently TV ads is common for World Vision international. TV advertising is used for all their campaigns on a regular basis (Pothmann, 2006b).”

Terre des Hommes uses television ads to make their “own requests and positions heard”, too. However, until now TV ads were only used for the campaign against sexual exploitation of children entitled “Please Disturb!” (Terre des Homes Germany[2], 2004a: 16). Radio advertisement plays for World Vision a more vital role compared to their counterpart. In the US they even run their own radio channel.

As both organizations have mainly the same target audience print advertisement often appears in the same newspapers or magazines. According to the respective press referees Pothmann (2006c) and Ramm (2006a), ads are placed in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” or “Die Welt” likewise.

World Vision makes use of outdoor billboard outlets worldwide. One example is the “Child Sex Tourism Prevention” project, where billboards with deterrent messages are placed at airports, overseas night-life districts or the like, aiming to dissuade child sex tourists at each step of their activity.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Exhibit 1: Billboard in Cambodia (World Vision USA, 2006a)

Terre des Hommes runs outdoor advertising, too. However, their financial resources are more limited than those of World Vision, and hence the placement of ads is often determined by the goodwill of advertising space providers allowing space free of charge for charity reasons. As a result, their outdoor ads are mostly placed at spaces which are often not rented due to their unattractive, low frequented areas (Ramm, 2006b).


[1] In the following abbreviated as “IFTDH”

[2] In the following abbreviated with “TDHG”

Excerpt out of 25 pages


Marketing communications of non-profit organizations
World Vision and Terre des Homes - a comparison
Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences  (Internationale Betriebswirtschaft / Interkulturelle Studien)
Marketing of non profit organizations
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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1557 KB
“Twenty years ago, marketing was a dirty word for those involved in non-profit organizations [NPOs]. It meant business, and nonprofits prided themselves on being free of the taint of commercialism and above such sordid considerations as the bottom line.” However this view has changed drastically over the last years...
Marketing, Kommunikation, Non-profit, non profit, charity, business, donation, communication, bwl, Werbung, Strategy, PR, Public Relations, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, englisch, english
Quote paper
Jens Walther (Author), 2006, Marketing communications of non-profit organizations, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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