ACTION's 1991-92 VISTA Marketing Campaign: An Analysis. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS


The results of the analysis can be summarized as follows:

  • Student recognition of VISTA increased over time on the Test campuses relative to the Comparison campuses. The 5.4 percent different in the two groups approached but did not reach statistical significance.

  • Students on Test campuses were significantly more likely to have learned of VISTA from brochures (which were a key part of the marketing effort). Among publications, the campus newspaper was an important source of information on the Test campuses. Students on Comparison campuses were significantly more likely to have learned of VISTA from radio and TV. Such ads were not part of the campaign and could only have been viewed or heard previously.

  • Student knowledge of the VISTA program was strong in some areas, weak in others. Students on both the Test and Comparison campuses were more likely to know that VISTA service involved assignments throughout the country and included training. They were less likely to know about the $7,000 stipend and the opportunities with local sponsors. On the other hand, applicants to VISTA very extremely knowledgeable on almost every aspect of VISTA.

  • Few students on the Test or Comparison campuses recalled the specific content of marketing messages; those who did reacted very favorably to VISTA.

  • Test campus students were consistently more likely to agree with statements about the benefits of VISTA service, e.g., as a means to make important professional contacts, helpful in making a career decision, etc.

  • A high percentage of recent applicants (62 percent) indicated that they had talked with a VISTA recruiter, indicating that this was an effective means of attracting applicants.

  • VISTA applicants are for the most part female (77 percent), young (median age of 22.9 years), and have performed volunteer work during their college years (74.8 percent). The two most popular reasons for applying to VISTA was "the opportunity to help others" at 89.7 percent and "my interest in volunteering" at 72.4 percent.

Overall, the VISTA marketing campaign was a modest success. The specific marketing activities performed by VISTA recruiters (i.e., posters, brochures, campus newspaper ads, and personal visits) were major sources of program recognition. Future marketing efforts should consider targeting on the areas where knowledge about VISTA was weakest. Repeating the marketing campaign over time could have a cumulative effect greater than the one-time effort analyzed in this report. Finally, although samples are small, perceptions of the VISTA program among those who responded were overwhelmingly positive.

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