57% of Russians can’t tell bona fide from fraudulent fundraising

Research shows that 57% of Russians do not know how to distinguish a fraudulent charity fundraiser from a bona fide one

What has COVID-19 done to the social advertising sphere and where do Russians place their trust?


On July 28, the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation hosted a meeting of the Coordinating Council for Social Advertising and Social Communications. The meeting addressed the findings of a sociological study by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre which focussed on the attitude of Russians towards social advertising. The study was conducted in June 2021 and included over 1600 respondents aged 18 and above. It comprised people from 150 different geographical locations within Russia.

Social advertising and COVID

According to Kirill Rodin, Head of the Department for Public Interaction at the Research Centre, the situation with COVID has increased the creation and consumption of social advertising.

According to the study, 40% of Russians came into contact with some form of advertising in 2021. In 2019, this figure was only 19%.

At the same time, however, the majority of those who did not encounter any social advertising were young people aged 18-24.

Russians noted seeing adverts related to the Coronavirus most of all (22%). This was followed by ads about road safety (7%), ads for helping children with various medical diseases (4%) and ads for combatting smoking, alcohol and drug addiction (3%).

Concerning Coronavirus, respondents recalled adverts for vaccination, the use of PPE and the need for social distancing most of all. The main medium through which respondents were exposed to social advertising was the television (57%). Adverts on the street were noted by only 44%, while on the internet this dropped to 33%. The lowest percentage was noted at airports and train stations (9%).

Help or suspicion

Respondents were asked if they had taken any action after seeing advertising. 28% said they had been encouraged to donate to charities for the treatment of seriously ill children, 10% had bought food for those in need and 5% had volunteered for a charity.

24% had been encouraged to sort household waste, 16% had handed over old clothing for recycling and 7% had donated old clothes to those in need.

37% of Russians asked noted that they were in a position to help others financially. Among those who did not make donations, 54% said they were not in a financial position to help others, 43% said they believed this help should be provided by the state and 32% believed that charity fundraisers were, more often that not, organised by scammers.

Respondents were presented with the scenario in which they had received a message with a request to help a seriously ill child or adult. Almost half (49%) said they would first check the information about the sender, 39% said they would immediately delete the message. Only 7% said they would be ready to donate based on the message alone.

22% of respondents believed that checking the fundraiser and distinguishing it from a fraudulent one is possible and can be checked through official sources. 6% believed that the fundraiser is likely to be bona fide if broadcast via the federal media. According to Kira Smirnova, Executive Director of the All Together Association, these media are often used by dubious, ingenuous charities.

57% admitted that they would not know how to distinguish a bona fide charity asking for money from a fraudulent one.

Advertising at Yandex

Since March, the Yandex project Help is at Hand has allowed CSOs to apply for grants that can be spent on launching social advertising campaigns.

Nikita Soloviev, Operations Director at Help is at Hand spoke about the results of the project. According to him, 286 applicants entered the competition, of which only 156 organisations passed the basic checks. The project also compiled a list of the top reasons why CSOs were denied grants for advertising. Most often, the applicant charities did not have the necessary statutory documents, an audit report or a clear account of expenditure of their funds on their websites. Another of the main reasons was that certain CSOs allowed fundraisers to use personal accounts.

The charities that benefitted from the Help is at Hand grant for advertising were Butterfly Children, Moving Up, ORBI and Live!

Source: https://www.asi.org.ru/news/2021/07/28/issledovanie-57-rossiyan-ne-znayut-kak-otlichit-moshennicheskij-sbor-ot-dobrosovestnogo/

Translated by Holly Battye

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