Volunteer Services Overseas
A MARKETING PLAN TARGETING PUBLIC
SECTOR WORKERS IN SCOTLAND
“Volunteering plays a valuable role in society, not just in
helping reduce global poverty, but in the wealth of
experience volunteers will bring into UK public service”
• Douglas Alexander, Secretary for International Development
Nevertheless, only around 350 public servants volunteer
overseas per year.
The following marketing plan:
Focuses on: Building long-term awareness of the VSO brand and the
Aims to: Increase inquiry and application rates to VSO, specifically
from public sector management, business and IT professionals in
Analysing the Market: PEST Analysis
Announcement in March 2008 that the UK Government will
provide a £13m fund to ensure that UK public servants do not
lose out on their pension contributions when they volunteer
The worsening economic recession in the UK has led to increased
Fears over being unable to find employment after career breaks
or not being able to sell or rent one’s house, in order to volunteer
overseas, have been intensified due to the current economic
Analysing the Market: PEST Analysis
94% of employers agree that long-term overseas volunteering
broadens skills and experiences and that 48% of employers
claim that overseas volunteering increases employability (Cook
and Jackson 2006)
However, social barriers to overseas volunteering still exist.
These include the fear of falling behind in one’s career, concerns
over leaving family behind and the challenge of assimilating to a
new environment overseas.
Analysing the Market: PEST Analysis
Demographics: The UK’s population is set to increase from 60m to
65m by 2016, and to 71m by 2031. However, by 2031 there will be at
least two million more pensioners than children.
This will have huge implications for the housing stock, pensions and
the benefits system, and may act as a barrier for overseas volunteering
as workers may feel they have to earn at home to support their elder
The increasing use of the internet has provided an easy way for
brands to reach consumers.
However, the ease of advertising online has led to an increasingly
competitive environment, meaning that innovation is now
essential to effectively reach one’s target audience.
Long-term overall goals:
Long-term growth through increases in application rates from
appropriately skilled professionals in Scotland.
Reach annual business management and IT UK recruitment
target (2008/09: 70 B&M professionals and 16 IT
Objectives to achieve these goals:
Achieve high levels of awareness of VSO and its volunteering
opportunities for public sector professionals in Scotland.
Increase employers (and employees) understanding of the
professional development benefits of overseas volunteering in order
to increase the number of public sector organisations who
promote/encourage their employees to volunteer overseas.
Encourage increased advocacy and fundraising activity on behalf of
VSO in Scotland.
Increase the enquiry rate from public sector manager, business and
IT professionals in Scotland by 25% in 2009/10.
Marketing Plan: The Marketing Mix
The marketing mix of a voluntary organisation differs slightly
to that of a commercial organisation.
Why? The product or “offering tends to be more ideological than a
typical physical good marketed by a commercial firm.
Consequently, 8 P’s apply:
Bruce (1994) comments that a charity’s philosophy in delivering goods,
services or ideas is fundamental to a sound marketing approach and thus
should be made a clear component of the marketing mix.
Marketing Mix: Product/Offering
VSO’s offering: Opportunity to volunteer overseas for a
period of up to two years.
Complemented with a “VSO package” comprised of flights to
overseas destination, accommodation, living allowances,
health insurance, visas, holidays and professional support for
USP: Volunteering overseas with VSO allows participants
to change disadvantaged people’s lives, whilst also
providing the prospect for further personal and
professional development, increasing volunteers
Marketing Mix: Price
No fee, as such, to apply for a volunteer assignment with
However, volunteers will have to engage in fundraising
activities in order to cover any costs preliminary volunteer
Thus, the time and effort potential volunteers donate to
fundraising, as well as their commitment to giving up
employment and their salary in the UK in order to
volunteering overseas for up to two years, can be
considered the price of a VSO placement.
Marketing Mix: Promotion
Key message that VSO must promote to public sector
Public sector professionals’ pension contributions will continued to be
paid whilst they volunteer, for up to twelve months.
Conveying this favourable news appeal is crucial as it helps counter the
barriers that potential volunteers face when they consider taking a career
break or going on a secondment with VSO.
By not losing out on ones pension by volunteering, public sector
employees can volunteer knowing that their financial position at home
will not be as hugely affected than if they had to forfeit their pension in
order to take up a placement with VSO.
Promotion: Viral Marketing
An online viral marketing initiative should be at the heart of
VSO’s new campaign!
Sharp viral ad campaigns can net ten times the exposure of a traditional
Viral campaigns have the potential to reach global audiences and
markets at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
In order to ensure that VSO’s viral marketing initiatives are passed on by
consumers, they must be innovative and creative, and the message must
resonate with consumers.
Viral campaign would act as VSO’s first stage of engagement
with its target audience, increasing awareness of the VSO
brand and its volunteer work.
Further promotional techniques would then be required to
persuade and encourage public sector employees to enquire
and apply to VSO for overseas volunteer placements.
Promotion: Information Sessions
Information sessions at places of public sector
employment have been recognised as being effective
measures for reaching VSO’s target audience in this
Information sessions at public sector offices in Scotland
will lead to higher attendance rates than generic VSO
information days for all managers in Scotland.
These sessions will provide the opportunity for VSO
staff/returned volunteers to convey the professional
development benefits of overseas volunteering,
encouraging organisations to actively promote overseas
volunteering with VSO to their workforce.
Promotion: Online Advertising Space
Research has shown that because internet use is generally
initiated with some specific goal or motive in mind individuals
are more likely to express favourable attitudes toward banner
ads that promote that motive.
Consequently, VSO should utilise online banner ads on such
sites as “societyguardian.co.uk/voluntarysector”.
Interactive banners and video-streamed banners have
consistently shown to lead to higher click-through rates than
Consequently, VSO should employ animated, as opposed to
Promotion: Email Marketing
Sponsorship of e-newsletters sent out to VSO’s target
audience (i.e. managers in the public sector) by third
Sponsorship, or inline-advertising within e-newsletters, should
be employed with:
The Scotsman’s “Scottish business briefing” e-newsletter, sent to
15,000 of Scotland’s managers and business professionals five
days a week
Public Sector Forum’s e-newsletter, sent to 26,000 public sector
professionals each week.
Promotion: Public Relations
Press activity in the form of PR is free and allows a
brand to increase its awareness more effectively than
advertising alone .
Engaging with hot topics that are relevant to VSO
and public sector professionals will allow VSO to
maintain a consistent presence in key titles read by
managers in Scotland’s public sector.
Marketing Mix: Place
Specifically, three websites in particular should be
Scotsman.com, the website of Scotland’s national newspaper
Visited by over two million visitors per month, leading to over 12.5
million impressions per month
SocietyGuradian.co.uk, the website of the Guardian Newspaper’s
public sector supplement
Visited by over 270,000 public sector professionals per month,
leading to over 660,000 impressions per month
PublicSectorForums.co.uk, an online forum specifically for public
sector workers in the UK
Has over 26,000 subscribers.
The proposed marketing plan for VSO’s new campaign is
comprised of mostly new media, and is supported by
traditional media in the forms of PR and personal selling, to
increase awareness of VSO and “pull” consumers to the VSO
It is in this way that VS combine traditional and new media in
order to create clear and consistent messages through all
components of the communications mix so that they reinforce
Creating, maintaining and enhancing long-term relationships
with individual customers is especially important in today’s
increasingly competitive environment.
For a marketing plan timeline and breakdown of
costs please refer to the written report.
Thank You! Any Questions?