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WaterAid prioritises digital advocacy with its appointment of Blue State

WaterAid, the world’s leading NGO on water, sanitation and hygiene has hired global creative agency Blue State to develop a bold global strategy for its digital advocacy to help the organisation reach decision makers and influence behaviour around the world.

Opportunities for traditional advocacy – where organisations are able to engage decision makers such as politicians and businesses directly – have been hampered since the pandemic began. Charities, but also policy-makers and governments made an urgent switch to digital outreach to continue communications. WaterAid is now considering the long-term implications of this, and how it can be more strategic in its long-term digital approach.

Blue State will help WaterAid develop a strategy for its WASH Matters programme, the not-for-profit’s technical and field operations arm, working with WaterAid’s head office as well as with the countries where WaterAid works. The agency will help WaterAid to understand how it can help shape its global digital advocacy around water, sanitation and hygiene access, and the tools, techniques and messages that will resonate with governments, policy-makers and influencers to bring WASH to the forefront of the policy making agenda

Claire Seaward, campaigns director at WaterAid, said: “The pandemic deeply impacted how we, and many other charities, operate online when it comes to raising awareness, driving fundraising and  reaching our advocacy goals. We saw a shift in how we could ensure our messaging was at the forefront for the right audiences from in-person to online. 

“With people continuing to work from home in the future, this digital way of influencing will be an important new tool in our advocacy toolkit even as other pandemic behaviours begin to change back again for many. Blue State’s in-depth understanding of mobilising people online means they really know how to solve this challenge for us as we head into 2022, and beyond.”

Hannah Johnson, managing director at Blue State, said: “The pandemic accelerated the shift to digital in the sector and beyond. Within the advocacy realm, people could no longer meet in certain spaces to have conversations behind closed doors and so digital advocacy engagement and actions increased.

“This has given charities and organisations looking to speak to government audiences a new way to reach out, and though in-person advocacy is becoming an option again in many places around the world, charities can’t afford to lose the momentum and value that they have built online during this time. Particularly when this environment provides the potential for activities to be more easily optimised and trackable.”

WaterAid works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 28 million people with clean water.

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