Campaigns for Impact: Insights from our Global Health Moments Webinar
Global health communicators are often looking for ideas to rally support for a cause and secure resources for their organisations – a well-crafted campaign can be a powerful tool to help achieve these goals.
But what are the secrets of a successful digital fundraising campaign? How do creativity, storytelling and planning converge to create a message that sticks and inspires action?
For our third Global Health Moments webinar, we explored these issues with Brendan Hanlon, Head of Fundraising and Communication at Just a Drop, who shared a behind-the-scenes look at the charity’s viral World Water Day campaign.
A unique digital storytelling campaign, the “Walk to the well” challenged online users to experience the 9-kilometer trek that a Kenyan woman, Ann, undertakes every day to collect water – by scrolling through the longest ever Twitter thread. (We will refer here to the channel as Twitter, because it was renamed X a few months later.)
The results were impressive: over 7.5 million people reached, 470K engagements, and twelve thousand (GBP) raised in only 10 days – enough to bring clean water to a school of 300 pupils in Kenya.
During our discussion with Brendan, we unpacked the elements that contributed to the campaign’s success. Here are the key insights:
- The strategic foundations: beyond the creative spark
The campaign’s creative concept was remarkable, but a solid strategy was equally important to bring the campaign to life. With clear objectives and audiences in mind, Just a Drop could select the right channels and integrate tactics to amplify the message further, thus encouraging users to challenge their networks to “take the journey”. An 18-month planning phase might appear extensive, yet the extra time proved invaluable in addressing unexpected obstacles – for example, when the team discovered that the chosen name was already claimed by another organisation they had to rebrand the campaign.
- Choosing the right campaign channels
Twitter stood out as a prime choice to achieve Just a Drop’s objective to reach new audiences with a limited budget. In the UK, Twitter users are 37% more likely to support causes on social media than general internet users. In addition, Just a Drop secured a grant from Twitter, funding their campaign post boost. As secondary channels, Just a Drop explored influencers and media engagement. However, these channels did not receive the same level of planning and investment, and as a result, they did not bring as much engagement.
- At the heart of the campaign: Ann’s story
Ann’s story was at the centre, narrating her thoughts and experiences during her daily walk to collect water. Through text, images and videos, the story created a powerful connection between Ann and the Twitter audience, and this resulted in significant engagement, as well as in an 80% increase in donations. To craft the narrative, the Just a Drop team worked with colleagues in Kenya, who undertook extensive preparatory work, including talking to Ann and the community, recording their consent, and discussing expectations. At the time of filming Just a Drop couldn’t guarantee it, but they are pleased to announce that they subsequently started a project in Ann’s village and the community now has access to water.
- Looking ahead to next year’s campaign
While the campaign reached millions and garnered substantial engagement, it has also provided ample learning opportunities. For future campaigns, Just a Drop aims to better articulate the call to action, to maximise the interest garnered and translate it into donations. As the team works on next year’s campaign, their challenge will be to build on this year’s success, finding new creative and unique ways to keep captivating audience. We look forward to discovering what they have in store.
A unique creative concept, a robust strategy, and a powerful, authentic narrative: these are some of the elements that made the Walk to Well campaign a success, and a compelling example to draw inspiration from.
Embarking on a digital and fundraising campaign can be both thrilling and daunting. But just like Brendan, who underlined the invaluable help received from their communications agency, finding the right partners is the first step on your journey to developing a winning campaign.
By Marina Monzeglio, Infinity Communications.