Purpose: Child sponsorship programs have been accused of representing children from the developing world in a manner described as "development porn" in their marketing communications, and of operating in such a way as to reinforce beliefs that people in the global South are powerless, dependent on help from the developed North. This research takes a critical, historical approach to investigating the marketing practices of Plan Canada, a subsidiary of one of the oldest and largest child sponsorship-based development agencies, in order to evaluate outcomes of charitable giving at the social and ideological level. Methodology: We adopted a consumer storytelling theoretical lens to conduct narrative analysis of letters written by donors upon their return from visiting their sponsor children. Findings: We reveal how even if aid recipients are treated with respect in marketing communications, ideological outcomes which reinforce Northern hegemony may still result. Social implications: Although charitable acts by individuals are commonly encouraged and lauded, marketers may play a role in perpetuating negative outcomes that result from this consumer action, such as reinforcing notions of cultural difference and superiority. Originality/value of paper: - Only a few researchers have investigated the social and ideological outcomes of charitable giving. We investigate the outcome of charitable giving on the donor and recipient communities and relationship between these communities. Models of charitable giving need to be revised to include these outcomes.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Charitable giving, Consumer storytelling, International development agencies, Narrative analysis, Not-for-profit marketing
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/S0885-2111(2012)0000014005
Series Research in Consumer Behavior
Neilson, L, & Mittelman, R. (Robert). (2012). Ideological outcomes of marketing practices: A critical historical analysis of child sponsorship programs. In Research in Consumer Behavior (Research in Consumer Behavior, Volume 14) (pp. 9–27). Emerald Group Publishing Limited. doi:10.1108/S0885-2111(2012)0000014005