Comparative Charity Ads

This is an interesting debate and great post from Craig Linton the Fundraising Detective, what do you think?

Is Charity Comparative Advertising a Good Idea?

ASDA TESCO ComparisonCould adverts like this soon feature charities? 

Possibly, after the Committee of Advertising Practice announced a consultation on whether to allow charities to use comparative advertising.

The announcement has been greeted with caution in Marketing Week and Third Sector  with worries that charities will focus any such adverts on efficiency, rather than impact.

So far the UK public have seemed relatively indifferent to comparing charities, with sites such as Intelligent Giving and Guidestar not really attracting too much attention or appearing to change giving behaviour.

I wonder if any charities will be bold and confident enough to use comparative ads? If they do, what would they compare themselves with? 

Here are a couple of ideas for adverts that might appear in the future…

Direct comparisons between rival charities

Last year we rescued 350 stray dogs, our rival only rescued 240.

For every £10 you give we feed 15 hungry children, charity x only feed 8 for £10.

We provided 300,000 hours of hands on care, our competitors only provided 150,000 hours.

Comparisons between charities generally

We only spend 5% of our income on admin costs, the charity average is 15%.

We help more animals in the UK than all the other animal charities put together.

More of our money goes direct to our beneficiaries than any other charity.

We spend less on adverts and junk mail than the top 10 fundraising charities.


If charity marketing was to go this way, then it could be a slippery slope with people losing their trust in charities generally and overall giving could be affected. I’ll watch how this progresses with interest.


Reading it made me feel a little uncomfortable….imagine a children’s hospital saying We care for more children than Great Ormond Street do (I can think of a few that may like to say that) ? Or the NSPCC and Barnardos going at eachother over who cares for neglected children better.

I think its a very negative road for us to go down and agree with Craig when he says that it could end up in people losing their overall trust in charities.

I asked the question on Twitter the other day asking for help in explaining why Impact is important for non profits. I think this shows why Impact is important. If you are demonstrating your Impact you dont need to go down the comparative route, you don’t need to say you are better than the other charity in a similar space. Your Impact tells that story.

This is certainly one to watch. And if you want to read some more thoughts Mark Phillips from Blue Frog has a great post today with his thoughts on it, read it here

2 thoughts on “Comparative Charity Ads

  1. I hate the idea of it…but then i hate comparative ads full stop. i hate political ads especially where instead of saying why they’re great, they say why we shouldn’t like the other party/parties. I think it’s just lazy – it’s for when you’ve run out of good things to say about yourself.

    • I think your last line basically sums it up, its when you have run out of good things to say about yourself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s