Transparency in Global Giving: See Where the Good Goes

08/04/2010 03:07 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Global disasters like the earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunami are moments in time when Americans respond immediately, emotionally and generously. But fundraising to end global poverty over the decades has encountered many hurdles.

Global NGOs working to end poverty and disease have learned some important marketing lessons over the past few years. They now create an emotional connection by focusing on saving the life of one child rather than the millions of children in need. They have also learned how much more effective it is to use images of thriving children rather than ones with swollen bellies. The 21st century brand for ending poverty is personal, hopeful and empowering.

But there's one obstacle that is still difficult to overcome. That's answering the question, "Where is my money going?" Whether it's due to the perception of inefficiency or corruption, people worry that the money they contribute to solve poverty and disease in developing countries is not spent wisely.

The solution -complete transparency--and providing an answer to where the money goes can be quite compelling.

When the Ad Council engaged BBDO as the pro bono agency to develop a campaign addressing infant and child mortality on behalf of Save the Children, we knew not to focus solely on the nine million children under the age of five that die each year from preventable causes--as shocking as that is.

BBDO recognized the power of featuring the individual that delivers health care to mothers and infants in remote villages--the community health care worker. These men and women travel on foot from village to village dispensing health care where no medical facilities exist. The insight is that by helping fund the efforts of a health care worker, you are only one person away from the infants who can be saved.

The brilliance of the campaign BBDO created is that it explains where your money is going in an emotional and engaging way, inviting people to "see where the good goes." Beautiful film in television and online introduces people to these health care workers and tells the story of how they administer health care in remote villages. The messages that appear in donated media encourage people to visit where they can be educated about the issue and learn how to get involved.

On the site, each health care worker has a blog and a video profiling them and the life-saving work they do. They tell their story--all the way from places like Bangladesh--and they become very real, close and inspiring. There are also videos showing the child survival tools that a health care worker uses, such as immunizations, offering even further transparency behind what exactly you are providing with your support.

Tackling global poverty and disease in the 21st Century is no longer being left to governments. Individuals know they have to play a role. As people demand accountability and transparency from organizations asking for their support, success lies in giving witness to your work on the ground. Thanks to programs like "good goes," saving children half a world away has a name and a face. And as one of the PSAs asks, "How beautiful is that?"

Disclosure: Save the Children sponsors the Ad Council's GoodGoes campaign, which covers production, research, evaluation, distribution, promotion and Ad Council costs.