From the Tsunami to the earthquakes in Nepal or Haiti, from the plight of the Rohingya to the Syrian war or the migrant crisis, have NGOs become hypermarkets of solidarity, selling compassion in all departments to today’s captive sensation-hungry consumers? This work tells the inside story of current reality in NGOs and, for the greater good, uncompromisingly questions the way communication is manufactured in the humanitarian sector. Behind the compassionate facades and images of disaster, Bruno-Georges David provides an innovative and informative analysis of NGO marketing and fundraising appeal strategies. The author poses the legitimate questions of a professional and well-informed citizen concerning aberrations in organizational communication, a worrying phenomenon which could lead to a fatal breach between the NGOs and civil society and public opinion. Tested by over ten years of immersive research, teaching and lecturing on the media coverage of humanitarian crises and NGO communication, this work questions their relationships with money, the media and political authority. To what extent is there a blurring of self-promotion and information? Are manipulation and propaganda also prevalent in this sphere? We are given a broad overview of the real issues raised by the industrialisation of humanitarian action as regards the general public and the media, still taboo subjects in a tightly closed, secretive milieu. Taking on the role of a manifesto, this work recalls the origins of modern humanitarian action so that the generations to come may make a conscious and illusion-free commitment to humanitarian action, preventing it from becoming a mirage or a memory of the 20th century.
Bruno-Georges David is a consultant and Head of the Communications Department of the Social and Solidarity Economy of the School of Information and Communication Skills (EMI). He was previously Director of Communication and Development of Secours Islamique France and held the same position at Action Against Hunger. He is the founding President of the association Communication Sans Frontières, creator and founder of the Grand Prix of Communication Solidaire and of Observatoire de la Communication Solidaire. He is also a member of the steering council of Humanitarian Alternatives. He was previously Managing Director of BDC M & A, Managing Partner at TBWA/Corporate, CEO of ABDC.EU and he held various positions at Publicis: International Director, Deputy Wordwide Account Director, CEO and Chairman at Publicis Russia and CEO of Publicis Poland. He currently teaches at Paris I Sorbonne (CELSA) and Paris XII (UPEC).