For many people who donate to NGOs it can be difficult to grasp exactly where your money goes. NGOs are increasingly under pressure to not only attract more donations but also communicate with the public about the work they do and why it is important to keep supporting them. Online (or digital) communication is where a lot of information about NGO programs and activities is happening. Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders are doing a particularly good job of engaging their audiences online. Some of their recent multimedia projects exemplify best practice digital trends. Here are two examples.
One – Urban Survivors
One of MSF’s recent multimedia projects - Urban Survivors - is a great example of how to engage your audiences and provide educational information about the communities they are working with and the challenges they face. Urban Survivors allows you to take a virtual journey through five slums in Johannesburg, Port-au-Prince, Karachi and Nairobi, using interactive infographics, videos and imagery. Urban Survivors is a MSF collaboration with a photography agency and a production company. The virtual journey through the different slums highlights the critical humanitarian and medical needs of the communities. Urban Survivors allows various levels of engagement, you can delve deeper into each city through watching videos or listening to interviews. There is also information about how MSF approaches their development work in these slums and who works in their teams etc. The idea of collaborating with creatives such as photographers and production studios is a great way to to make sure your message and what you communicate is compelling.
Two – Refugee Camp in your World
Refugee Camp in your World is a gamified experience of what it is like for MSF staff to work in a refugee camp. The interactive experience gives you the opportunity to walk in the shoes of four different staff members; a doctor, a midwife, a logistician and a nurse. As a doctor you are faced with decisions about where to place a predicted influx of refugees from across the boarder where there is intense rebel fighting. You are asked to make decisions about who you should treat first, how you should conduct a blood transfusion without any resources or how you should treat a gunshot wound. Gamifing is a known trend in advertising and digital industries and it is great to see MSF keeping up with these trends. Refugee Camp in your World does a great job at reinforcing the importance of MSF’s work and how vital their presence is in many locations around the world.
Often I think many NGOs and NPOs try to do a lot of important communication work (offline & online) without professional input, for obvious financial reasons. However in todays information soaked world and easily distracted donors, NGOs risk losing their audiences if they don’t realise the importance of effectively engaging them. MSF ‘get’ the importance of allocating resources to communicating what they are about and what they do. Both of the digital campaigns I’ve highlighted in this post are great recourses and I suggest you check them out and share them. The only issue with these examples is that they use Adobe Flash which is not viewable on mobiles or tablets which will reduce their reach. Making campaigns mobile friendly is increasingly important with mobile use for online search rising every year. In saying that, it won’t stop me from visiting MSF, I often return to their Australian site to update myself on what is happening in less reported areas of the world.
What awesome NGO digital campaigns do you know about?