Awareness campaign: A disguise for fundraising

The 21st century has witnessed a dramatic increase in the availability and uptake of ICTs globally. This has provide unprecedented opportunities for individuals to access information, connect with one another and have their voices heard. The speed with which people in the developing world are adopting to digital communication and internet technologies is forcing a paradigm shift in how the aid industry uses communication tools to better understand and service crisis-affected communities.


Digital campaign is an online marketing effort put forward by companies and organisations to drive engagement, awareness, conversions, or to raise revenue. Organisations/companies uses social media platforms for contests and awareness campaigns to get to their audience and beneficiaries. Goodwill Ambassadors and supporters are some of the most recognizable public faces of Aids organisation that helps to bring out organization to every corner of the world through their influence through their campaigns and awareness raising. For example, the most renounce Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR is Angelina Jolie Pitt.

Although videos are one of the most powerful tools use to raise awareness and campaigns by international development organisations, there are also other channels capable of creating an impact. Images and newsletters are also widely used for awareness raising. All these tools are used as a means to raise the visibility of their organisation and a wider outreach. An example of an image campaign is that of Save the Children below. The Child is the prominent element on the image. Save the children have a reason for choosing a picture with a baby. This is because children make people feel certain tenderness and would immediately catch the attention of any reader. Children can also makes the message stay longer in the memory of the reader and would reach out to a wider amount of the population better.

The communication action in this image is to create awareness but on the other hand,stating the amount of children in various regions in need of  emergency is a way to encourage the reader to make a donation.


The outbreak of the Covid 19 has raised panic and anxiety all over the world. There are a lot of tik tok, videos campaigns, posters and pictures in the form of awareness raising, communication mechanisms all in a bid to fund-raise using the media. The video below from UNHCR is an example of an awareness raising campaign, which when given a deeper understanding seems to be a fundraising campaign.   In the video, UNHCR representative Cecilia is positioned to create awareness on what UNHCR is doing to help refugees. In the video. She elucidated that UNHCR is working with partners to help refugees to get access to accessible water and hygiene. At the same time, an awareness chat with what to do to prevent Covid19 is being displayed at the back of the screen.

However, the picture of a boy washing his hands and the amount of refugees assembled in one place immediately catches the attention of the viewers. As a viewer, you are positioned to question the degree of vulnerability and harm this can be for the global population. This is because the first step in mitigating Covid 19 is social distancing. The spokesperson talks about international solidarity at the same time contradicting the opening sentence of her campaign which states “What UNHCR is doing to help refugees overcome corona virus” The opening statement is very catchy as it will lift the interest of the viewer to be interested to see what UNHCR is doing to fight the pandemic. Going fathered in the campaigns, she talks about testing and how refugees can be a target of discrimination. She further states that if left unchecked, refugees might be excluded from the society. I find this video very educative, a video meant for awareness raising which to me turns to be a fund raising campaign.


UNHCR Campaign and Awareness Raising on Covid 19

I particularly find this video interesting because the reporter is taking proactive measure to educate the public how to mitigate the spread of corona virus and at the same time creating awareness on raising funds to support refugees who particularly needs protection and assistance in the preparedness of the Covid 19 pandemic.There is also an extensive proliferation of visual representations of developmental issues in this advertisement. This is because most NGO ́s and other development institutions focus mostly on the representation part of their development works. These organizations agree on the importance of communicating with the global North who is distant from the traditional development issues. INGO`s have taken advocacy roles which are more “political” with no distinction between education and advocacy. They turn to use advocacy as an umbrella term for activities like lobbying, development and public education, campaigning and mass communication.

Please, I would  love to hear your take on this video. We might have contradictory views. Drop a comment using the comment section.


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