Publicity Of Non-Profit Projects As An Element Of Sustainable Territorial Development


The social, cultural, educational functions of civil society cannot be fully performed without the work of the third sector. At present, non-profit organizations as full-fledged market participants have taken upon themselves the task of satisfying the needs not covered by the state and commercial sectors. The main goal of a commercial structure is profit, which can be measured by quantitative indicators; in non-profit activities, social change and transformation constitute the goal. Thanks to the development and the abundance of various communication technologies, the interest and need for promoting non-profit organizations is growing in modern society. If the promotion of the commercial sector implies an abundance of various sources of information, as well as close work with authorities, non-profit organizations in most cases depend on both of these structures. In today’s economic environment the third sector is the foundation of civil society. The development of this sphere, relying on the promotion of national projects aimed at sustainable territorial development, will make the brand and the reputation of the region an important intangible asset in its economy. To improve the reputation and, as a result, increase the competitiveness of regions in the conditions of the modern information society, not one-time bursts are needed, but a consistent systematic and well-planned passage through the stages of “recognizing and accepting” a region in the external environment. One of the tools for implementing these processes is the activity of non-profit projects.

Keywords: Non-profit organizationpublicityregional developmentRussia


The “third sector” of the economy appeared in the world relatively recently and was a reflection of the development trends of the market economy as a whole. In the developed democracies, the “third sector”, considered the foundation of civil society, is a matter of pride.

The “third sector” of the economy in modern Russia is developing very actively and includes various associations in the form of non-profit organizations (hereinafter – NPO). The main part of NPOs is registered in the form of public organizations (62,766), autonomous non-profit organizations (26,029), non-profit foundations (18,933), institutions (14,366), non-profit partnerships (12,864) and associations of legal entities (10 853). Among the registered NPOs, several separate groups, determined by their organizational and legal form, can be distinguished, namely: 30,832 religious organizations, 20,731 professional unions, 3,555 political parties (with regional offices), 2744 bar associations, 2718 Cossack societies, 1526 small communities peoples (Non-profit sector: development dynamics, 2018).

Organizations in this sector do not have the power and authority of the government, but use the widespread involvement of the population in public life. Non-profit organizations are created most often as a reaction to social contradiction or as a response to social needs.

But the conditions for the existence of the “third sector” are determined by its subordinate position in relation to business and the state. At the same time, in the framework of a volatile economy, the support of non-profit organizations from the state and large businesses has significantly decreased, as a result, the environment forces NPOs to increase financial sources, thereby giving the third sector greater independence (Federal Law, 1996).

The interpenetration and mutual influence of areas suggest the presence of actions where each element is not just connected with all other elements but is aimed at maintaining a positive balance. This is the main principle of sustainable development. The algorithm for implementing such relationships is implemented quite simply. In this regard, the interest of government agencies and non-profit associations in the development of business systems as a source of financial injections becomes clear. For the state, this is the implementation of tax programs as a way to replenish the budget, for the “third sector” it is the opportunity to receive sponsorship, implement charity programs or receive patronage or encouragement. Strengthening the position of the state is a guarantee of legal and economic stability and security for commercial and non-profit organizations.

In its turn, the state itself is interested in the development of the third sector as a structure capable of solving certain social problems and helping to implement the tasks of social policy. In addition, the maximum interest of commercial structures in the development of the third sector is perfectly understandable. For example, the public non-profit organization Association of Entrepreneurs in the implementation of its main statutory activities serves the interests of business.

Three areas of sustainable development that influence the development of the third sector:

1. The economic sphere involves the satisfaction of basic human needs, taking into account the natural needs of the environment.

2. The sphere of politics regulates the maintenance of stable functioning of the state system.

3. The social sphere is the most extensive in terms of coverage, based on well-being and improving people’s living standards (Afanasyeva, Grishakina, & Manova, 2011).

Problem Statement

Economic sphere

The total income of socially oriented NPOs in 2015 constituted 686 billion rubles, in 2016 – 831 billion rubles, and in 2017 - 848 billion rubles. Revenues from the sale of services, work and goods, property rights amounted to 261 billion, revenues from Russian commercial organizations - up to 199 billion, grant revenues from Russian individuals – to 113 billion, revenues from the federal budget - up to 43 billion, revenues from budgets constituent entities of the Russian Federation amounted to 38 billion (Non-profit sector: development dynamics, 2018).

PR-activity in the economic sphere solves one important task – creating the image of the organization and fostering favorable interactions with partners and consumers. As a result, a positive reputation is formed that works favorably for the company and bears fruit.

Important components of public relations in any organization are reputation basis, corporate culture and publicity.

Each of these components equally affects the effectiveness of the organization and undoubtedly requires not only financial investments from the management, but also the communication efforts of the PR specialist.

It is worth noting that the market is full of goods, services in almost all areas of society, an important competitive advantage will be the prestige of the organization, which is created through effective PR promotion methods, investments and a well-thought-out management strategy.

The main task of the activities of a PR specialist is to work on the reputation of an organization that favorably meets the needs of society and, as a result, makes a profit (Zazykin, 2019).

The sphere of politics

The interaction of the “third sector” and government structures is based on building an equal dialogue in cooperation, where the distribution of zones of responsibility between them plays an important role in the implementation of the fundamental principles of this interaction: the principle of subsidiarity and the principle of social partnership.

So the principle of subsidiarity suggests the possibility of state intervention only in inevitable situations, i.e., in the situations of the impotence of civil society institutions in solving important social issues when centralized management “from above” is required from the government (Belolyubskaya, 2007).

The principle of social partnership involves building relations between the state and civil society, where in solving important social problems, NPOs act as a full partner. At the same time, the state, providing financial and other support to NPOs, allocates funds to solve important social problems.

In practice, the interaction of NPOs and the state differs depending on the level of power.

At the federal level, the state sets the tone for the development of partnerships with NPOs and works out the necessary mechanisms for cooperation. Effective interaction of the third sector with the state at this level should develop in the following main areas.

At the federal level, the state sets the main tone for the development of partnerships with NPOs, and develops the necessary mechanisms for cooperation. Effective interaction of the third sector with the state at this level should develop in such areas as stimulating the active participation of citizens in society life, the deployment of social programs and the creation of a solid legislative base for NPOs.

At the same time, it is necessary to take into account such forms of interaction between the state and society as a social order, targeted financing of specific organizations, and grant activities aimed at developing NPOs.

Another common way of public influence on the formation of legislation is independent evaluation.

Social sphere

Based on the above statements, the urgent question arises of the competent development of a strategy for managing a company’s reputation. A key moment in corporate reputation management is the constant maintenance of public relations.

Social or non-profit PR is the activity to promote and develop non-profit organizations and projects whose purpose is to solve special and important problems of the modern world, such as disability, orphanhood, ecology, preservation of cultural heritage, etc. Social work involves targeted activities to assist categories of people who are in difficult situations. NPOs act for the good of society, pursuing noble goals, not receiving income from their activities, and therefore organizations of the third sector need PR to make their existence possible. Thus, social PR helps the third sector to solve more than one important issue: attracting finance, public support, creating an image, forming the most accurate and true idea of the type of activity of the organization (Akhmetshin, Ilyina, Kulibanova, & Teor, 2019; Remund, & McKeever, 2018).

Charity is the main field of activity of NPOs and the work of PR specialists in social advertising. In accordance with the federal law “On Charity and Volunteering”, charity is an activity carried out by people on a gratuitous and voluntary basis, consisting in the transfer of funds and private property to needy individuals and organizations. It aims at solving humanitarian problems and implementing various humanitarian assistance programs. Both private and legal entities can engage in charity.

Around the world there is a huge number of charitable organizations, each of them needs the work of PR departments. The need for the work of PR departments in NPOs is caused by the fact that society, the media, sponsors and businessmen often have a fuzzy idea of what the third sector is and what it does. The task of PR-specialists is to establish the correct communicative relations of the organization, to explain its mission precisely and clearly and create the organziation’s positive image. In addition, it is obvious that non-profit organizations have an insufficient, limited budget, they need resources. That is why charitable organizations are always associated with fundraising. This is another of the tasks of the PR department - attracting finance and other material resources to increase the organization’s potential.

Fundraising is the most common social PR technology. Social technologies are a set of techniques, methods and practices used for control of social processes and operations, for interaction with social subjects and objects and for achieving social goals. A detailed analysis of this term is presented in the book by I. F. Albegova “Fundraising for Nonprofits as a Technology of Success” (Albegova, 2009). The complex of all social technologies used in the work of PR-specialists is called PR tools.

Fundraising is an extensive concept that can be understood as a science, art, theory, and even philosophy, as well as a specific activity, the essence of which is determined by a system of other terms, such as a philanthropist, a sponsor, a donor, a patron. Although fundraising is also an activity of finding money, one cannot think that we are talking only about money. It also presupposes the involvement of other important resources - volunteers, products, goods, services, information, communications - all that ensures the organization’s potential.

Thus, public relations and advertising in the social sphere is a special activity that has its own nuances, characteristics and technologies. It is called social PR, as it is aimed at working with organizations and projects whose mission is to solve important public problems on a non-profit basis.

In Russia, the third sector has existed for more than twenty-five years, and during this time it has repeatedly proved the effectiveness and necessity of its work. Therefore, there is no longer any doubt that the charity sector is necessary for the successful development of the social sphere and for the solution of the acute problems of society (Sharakhina, Azarova, Bykov, & Achkasova, 2018).

At present, according to the legislation of the Russian Federation, such forms of charitable organizations as public organizations (associations), foundations, institutions, as well as consumer cooperatives, political parties, trade unions, associations, public law companies are allowed to exist. A charitable foundation is considered the most effective form of organizing charitable activities. A foundation is a type of independent non-profit organizations that has its own property formed by attracting monetary and other material, labor voluntary contributions and funds used by the foundation to carry out charitable assistance in a specific social niche. The specific of a charitable foundation’s activity is determined by one or several definite sectors of the social sphere in which its work is carried out. It may be ecology, health, science, education, culture, animal welfare, social support for vulnerable groups, etc.

Charitable foundations are a very important element of civil society; they play a large-scale role in the life of citizens and the state. This form of charity helps to mobilize the people’s forces and resources and solve jointly acute social problems that for some reason the state cannot solve or does not see. Charity is developing; it is becoming a more formalized and civilized activity. People begin to deal with it professionally, developing special tools for the most competent implementation of it.

Nevertheless, society has always been and remains cautious in regards to charitable foundations, as well as to many non-profit organizations and projects, not fully trusting their activities. The main reason for this distrust is the low awareness of people about how real assistance is provided by NPOs, about what they are, their principles, goals, methods and ways of working. Therefore, few charitable foundations manage to become large and successful organizations. The main thing for charitable foundations and other similar organizations is their image and reputation, built on good deeds, as well as complete openness and transparency to the public. All this can be achieved only with the help of competent PR support.

Research Questions

What is the specific of the “third sector” development?

What are the obstacles to the transition of the Russian Federation to sustainable development?

How does the development of the “third sector” influence sustainable territorial development?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the undertaken analysis is to identify the specifics of the work of the third sector. The study of this problem made it possible to identify a stable relationship between economic sectors, to determine the role, place and functions of non-profit organizations in the system of sustainable development of the Russian Federation. The prerequisites and the main obstacles to the transition to sustainable development of the Russian Federation are analyzed.

Research Methods

The research methods include analysis, synthesis and generalization, which allowed considering all the basic concepts for this research and identifying their essential characteristics. After receiving and processing the primary information about the research subject, modeling and systematization methods were used based on a statistical report conducted with “Medialogia” monitoring Internet platform.


It is worth noting that publicity is considered as one of the aspects of public relations. There are several definitions of the concept of “publicity”, each specialist identifies certain features in it, but in general, their definitions are similar. Highlighting the common features, we can say that publicity is the repute of a company or an individual, which is formed with the help of the media. Moreover, it can be either positive or negative, since the basis is the reflection of information not by the PR object itself, but by a third party.

Functioning in the space of public communications, almost any market entity fights for the increment of publicity capital.

The creation of publicity means the creation of a certain program in which the target audience, the task set, the budget laid down by the organization should be taken into account.

The creation of a publicity program should be given special attention. The program could be aimed at sales increase, improvement of the organization image, change of the production location, etc. The main task is to interact with the media, which will ensure the publicity of new events of the organization. At the same time, it is worth considering a number of features, such as communication with editors of the media, sending out messages about the organization at the right time, working with a right edition, etc. (O’Toole & McGrath, 2018).

Publicity is most often perceived as a description of an informational occasion, rather than material aimed at promotion. It allows achieving a higher level of trust than advertising, because it is not just informing the audience about the specifics of the organization, but forming the image (Zhoua, & Whitla, 2013).

Activities aimed at the formation of publicity also include participation in ratings and events, promotion in social networks, implementation of social projects.

In general, it should be noted that in a highly competitive market, advertising and public relations, as well as publicity, are crucial for the activities of any company. Each company needs media coverage of its activities. Therefore, it is worthwhile to devote time to developing a publicity program, which is likely to help achieve success. Any organization, company or brand, regardless of the field of activity, needs to be promoted. The use of public relations tools in the development and management of the brand contributes to the emergence of bilateral trusting relationships between the brand and the target audience (Dong & Rim, 2019).

Repute, based on the real achievements of the organization, of its work, will lead to the formation in the human mind of a concrete, specific image that matches or does not match person’s tastes and values. Thus, the company will be able to individualize itself, stand out among competitors and work most effectively with its target audience. Such publicity is especially suitable for such areas of activity in relation to which there are consumer stereotypes: all organizations are of the same type. It also applies, of course, to the organization we have chosen for analysis.

An analysis of the activities of “Culture of Capitals” LLC confirmed the assumption that the process of forming publicity is not as simple as it seems at first glance, especially if it concerns non-profit organizations. Of particular importance at the present time is the presence of the organization in social networks and a competent promotion at a minimal cost.

The company under analysis has been in the non-profit market sector since May 2017, it is actively informing the public about its activities (more than 90 materials have been published over one year). Such an active media presence is a good start for a young company. However, an analysis of the materials showed that the predominant media references of neutral nature are reprints of the organization’s press releases and event announcements. In addition, an important shortcoming in the work of the PR department of the company was revealed: there is not enough effective interaction with the media, lack of a clear PR strategy and regular newsbreak, no clear release schedule for publications.

More than that, the company is underrepresented in social networks, whereas a greater effect in promoting the company and creating the image of the organization can be achieved by using social networks. Naturally, the use of social networks should be an auxiliary tool in the formation of publicity, especially for non-profit organizations. The primary and main means should nevertheless be constant cooperation with the media, which are the main assistants in creating the desired image of the young organization.

At present, the organization “Culture of the Capitals” does not cause trust among public groups, it has not formed the desired image due to the low activity in the PR support of the organization.


As recommendations for improving PR activities and increasing public capital, some ideas have been proposed. It should be noted that some of these ideas have already been successfully tested and are put into practice to improve the image of the organization.

To improve the work of NPOs in Russia, it is recommended:

  • When interacting with the media, it is necessary to reach the level of information partnership or information sponsorship. It will allow a NPO to receive publications in targeted media on mutually beneficial conditions;

  • The active use of the Internet space to promote activities is very promising and it is necessary to improve the quality and quantity of publications using both own resources of organization and the resources of partners and sponsors. Working with social networks helps active communication with the organization’s audience. It is recommended to restructure the web-site and fill it the high-quality content;

  • To focus on work with active beneficiaries. Coverage of joint projects with beneficiaries will help attracting the media and the public;

  • To increase the number of informational occasions for attracting the attention of the media and society to the organization’s activities (1 large-scale event a year; 2 moderate-scale, but related to the company’s activity, events once in half a year; local, small events - once every 3 months);

  • To work actively with regular volunteers both at events and within the organization;

  • To develop a PR-activity strategy, to activate clear communication work for events promotion;

  • To interact openly with the public in order to prevent mistrust in the work of a children’s non-profit organization.

For a more effective communication policy, the management of the organization needs to expand the staff of employees and appoint a more qualified head of the PR department, able to implement projects.


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31 December 2019

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Industry, industrial studies, project management, sustainability, business, innovation

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Fetisova, G. V., Ilyina, I. A., & Afanasyeva, T. S. (2019). Publicity Of Non-Profit Projects As An Element Of Sustainable Territorial Development. In I. O. Petrovna (Ed.), Project Management in the Regions of Russia, vol 77. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 565-573). Future Academy.