Working together for the children : New Children’s Hospital 2017 fundraising campaign on Facebook and the communication of charity work

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Title: Working together for the children : New Children’s Hospital 2017 fundraising campaign on Facebook and the communication of charity work
Author: Uoti, Jaakko
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för socialvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2016
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Media and Communication Studies
Medier och kommunikation
Abstract: This thesis aims to examine the communication of charity work on social media. The thesis takes on the fundraising efforts of Finnish charity organization New Children’s Hospital 2017 (Uusi Lastensairaala 2017) and its Facebook Page posts over the course of twelve months. The research problem is to look at what kinds of charity work ULS 2017 Facebook Page promotes and what discourses of responsibility and solidarity can be seen as inscribed into these forms of charity work. The subject matter is a timely example of new forms of public fundraising and charity as well as the responsibilization of the public sector. The study provides insight especially into discourses employed by charities and fundraising organizations in the domain of health care and otherwise health-related causes. The primary research data consists of posts from the New Children’s Hospital 2017 Facebook Page from October 2013 to September 2014. First, a method of content analysis has been used to examine, what kind of forms of charity work are presented on the Facebook Page posts and by whom they have been initiated (private individuals or groups, companies, actors in the third sector or the public sector). Building on these findings, prevalent types of charity work are further examined by applying a method of critical discourse analysis. The analysis indicates the prevalence of charity through consumption, sports and health-themed events, and projects and charity spectacle in the ULS 2017 campaign communications. A majority of these charity actions were organized by private businesses or private individuals or groups. In terms of ways of participation, so called social media campaigns per se where people are encouraged to share stories or create content are not prevalent in the data, yet the use of technology in donating techniques (SMS, digital donation boxes and social applications) is well presented. Concepts of self-fulfillment and personal pleasure, responsible consumption and healthy lifestyle surface in the discourses of sports and health related events and projects while entertainment and experience are mostly presented in different social events. What is found is that personal interest and self-improvement is presented side by side with discourses of social responsibility, communal work and of a collective towards a national project. It is argued further, that ideals of healthy lifestyle, entrepreneurship, consumption and collective work is perceived in many cases of charity work and its communication, and that many of these ideals can be seen as coalescing with neoliberal ideals of self-regulation, self-reliance, entrepreneurship and active citizenship.

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