The History of Third Sector Marketing.


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 The history of Third Sector marketing is a neglected area of research.  The Third Sector has existed in Europe since at least the Middle Ages. In the UK it began to become increasingly significant from the eighteenth century onwards. Previously charity had been closely associated with organised religion. Now many non-sectarian charities emerged such as Thomas Coram’s Foundling Hospital in London. However, organised religion remained significant in the Third Sector. Good examples are the various nineteenth century European and North American Christian missionary organisations devoted to saving the souls of people living in the global south. During the nineteenth century international third sector organisations emerged such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. In the US we see a similar development of the Third Sector to that in the UK.  In addition, during the early twentieth century we see the emergence in the US of non-governmental organisations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. Furthermore, in the United States wealthy individual have often bequeathed their fortunes to foundations (non-profit). 
Many Third Sector organisations lack endowments from wealthy individuals, particularly outside the United States. They are thus required to engage in fund-raising marketing. This takes many forms including newspaper advertising and direct mail. In the UK since the mid-twentieth century many of the largest charities have created chains of shops selling second hand goods gifted to them alongside other merchandise such as greeting cards. For example, Oxfam opened its first shop in 1943. George Gosling of the University of Wolverhampton is currently working on a history of British charity-run shops. As well as fundraising Third Sector organisations also use marketing to engage with their particular constituencies for other purposes.

Some Third Sector organisations solicit donations from passersby on the street. In the UK the Salvation Army perfected this into a marketing art form during the second half of the nineteenth century with uniformed Christian “soldiers” using collection tins. They were often accompanied by a brass band and a choir. During the late twentieth century an Austrian charity came up with a street collection innovation.  It realised that agents working on the street could raise much more money by persuading people to sign up for bank direct debits instead of putting coins or bank notes in a tin. In the UK this has become known as “chugging”.  Chugging has become ubiquitous on twenty-first century UK high streets despite its unpopularity with many members of the British and Northern Irish public. 

List of Topic Areas

  • Non-governmental organisations, 
  • Charities, 
  • Foundations (non-profit), 
  • Community associations

Submissions Information

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Key Deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 30/11/2023
Closing date for manuscripts submission: 01/05/2024

Guest Editors

Dr. Richard A. Hawkins, University of Wolverhampton, UK, [email protected]