Aid agency advertising images

You see a commercial on TV or receive an advertisement in the mail with the picture of someone in need. You reach for your checkbook to donate. But before you stamp the envelope or click the “donate now” button, imagine that instead of it being someone else far away, it is an image of you, your child, or you family. Now ask yourself these four simple questions:

  1. Does the advertising show you as having dignity or does it excite pity by showing you as an icon of suffering?
  2. Are you shown doing something positive to help yourself, or does it show you as a passive recipient with either the aid workers or the donors doing the action?
  3. Does the language used in the advertisement present a fair portrayal of your situation or does it rely primarily on sensational and emotive language? And the most important question of all…
  4. Would you give consent for that aid agency to use this image of you or your child in their worldwide fund raising campaign?
If you would not allow your family’s image be used in this way, do not donate. Because although this isn’t you, it is someone else’s child, mother, or husband.



Child Rights Information Network – The use of images of children in the media

Dochas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages