VSO celebrates half-century with publicity offensive

Overseas volunteering charity VSO is using publicity surrounding its 50th anniversary to try to dispel the misconception that its main work consists of sending young people on gap years.

A VSO advertising poster
A VSO advertising poster
The charity has hired social change communications agency Forster to run a publicity campaign emphasising that while the charity does have a volunteer exchange programme for young people, its core work involves sending experienced professionals on serious development projects in a range of areas including health, education and business.

George Ames, account manager at Forster, said VSO would be launching an advertising campaign based around the slogan “There are many ways to change the world. Find yours?” and featuring icons such as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

There will also be a campaign to drum up more press coverage for VSO and a series of regional events highlighting particular issues and making them relevant to the region. The charity hopes to encourage new and lapsed supporters to donate, campaign and volunteer.

Neera Dhingra, head of media at VSO, said: “We want to use the 50th anniversary to get people to look back and see all that VSO has achieved – but also to take another look at what we’re doing today to develop the skills of people in developing countries to help them to defeat poverty themselves.”

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