International children’s charity Plan UK has welcomed a decision by the Advertising Standards Agency (AS) to overturn a complaint against a recent TV advert. One viewer had contacted the ASA, arguing that a one-minute Plan advert was misleading because it gave the impression that sponsors could pay for an individual child’s health and education. This is the first complaint that the charity has ever received about its portrayal of child sponsorship.
The ASA council ruled that it was clear that the sponsor funds were pooled for use on community projects benefiting every local child, rather than an individual child alone.
The advert, voiced by actor Timothy Spall, has been seen 62 million times on networks including E4, More4, Sky News, regional stations of Channel 4, ITV and Five, and digital stations such as Living, Watch, and Virgin 1. Plan UK argue that it made it clear that donated money went towards “children and communities”.
Leigh Daynes, Plan UK’s Director of Communications said: ““We make a point of explicitly explaining that while you sponsor an individual child your money goes to that child’s country where it is spent on grassroots projects. It’s impossible to build schools and health clinics if the money goes directly to a single child so your money helps many children, not just one”.
He added that Plan was in talks with the Fundraising Standards Board and the Institute of Fundraising to produce an industry-wide charter clearly defining “child sponsorship”, in partnership with other charities.
The public donate £25 million-a-year to Plan through sponsorship.
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