Publication Details

Randle, M. & Dolnicar, S. (2017). Increasing Civic Participation Through Market Segmentation. In T. Dietrich, S. Rundle-Thiele & K. Kubacki (Eds.), Segmentation in Social Marketing: Process, Methods and Application (pp. 129-142). Singapore: Springer Singapore.


Most societies depend on the willingness of community members to donate their time for the provision of essential services, such as delivering meals to homes of people with mobility issues, distributing food to the homeless, and protecting people's homes and lives in cases of natural disasters. However, somewhat alarmingly, recent figures indicate that after 15 years of consistent increases in the number of adults demonstrating civic participation through volunteering, rates fell from a high of 36 % in 2010 down five percentage points to 31 % in 2014. As a consequence, many organisations that rely on volunteers for the provision of a range of services are under substantial pressure to retain current, and recruit more, volunteers. This chapter discusses the potential benefits of marketing techniques for organisations that depend on individuals donating their time to help a social cause; elaborates on why market segmentation is a suitable approach to encourage civic participation and why it is likely to outperform mass marketing; and offers practical examples of how market segmentation has been applied to (1) increase the participation of community members from distinctly different cultural backgrounds in environmental volunteering, (2) identify different patterns of volunteering motivations which can be targeted with marketing messages to increase recruitment, and (3) determine which sections of the general population represent promising targets for foster carer recruitment. The key message of this chapter is that organisations with noble missions would benefit from overcoming the perception that marketing is not noble enough for them to engage in. Instead, they should embrace marketing in general, and market segmentation specifically, as effective tools which will help them achieve their goals.

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