In the last decade, we have seen a decrease in public support for global development. The sector is struggling to gain new supporters, as well as retain the commitment from engaged audiences.
Describe your Lovie Finalist project. What’s the elevator pitch?

In Autumn 2018, Bond UK and Purpose collaborated on an intervention to increase awareness among the UK public on the positive and beneficial aspects of aid. After selecting Leeds as our pilot city, we created a hyperlocal “aid calculator.”

We believe that by showing an individual town’s contribution to addressing global development issues, local communities could discover a newly found pride in aid and develop a new language with which to talk about and defend aid.

We used social media targeting and local partners to promote Leeds Counts, testing different messaging to maximise distribution. We also engaged alternative influencers, such as Humans of Leeds, to spread the message.

What inspired this particular cause as the subject of your work?

In the last decade, we have seen a decrease in public support for global development. The sector is struggling to gain new supporters, as well as retain the commitment from engaged audiences. With this insight top of mind, we set out to create this local connection to broader global development issues.

What real-world impact were you hoping to make with this project?

There has typically been low engagement from the public to learn and take action on global development issues. This has lead to a decrease in support for global development and international aid, which creates a lack of commitment from decision makers and leaders to improve policy and invest resources. We hoped Leeds Counts would be the first step in making development issues relevant to local communities, creating new found local pride in their achievements through international aid.

Did your team have a specific “breakthrough” moment when conceiving or executing this project that you can share?

There were a few. When local MP Hillary Benn included Leeds Counts in his article about international development, this felt like a big win for us. It was also great when smaller influencers like Humans of Leeds (Instagram) and Britain for All (Facebook) shared the site.

But nothing felt better than when we hit 10,000 local people using the tool. It was incredible to see so many local people engaging with international aid in this new way.

Was the tech/medium you chose essential to conveying your message? If so, why?

The tool relied on gamification, a data driven UX, and storytelling to convey its messaging. We used this narrative journey because we wanted to provide the citizens of Leeds with a curated experience to maximise engagement on the topic.

What was the greatest challenge that arose during your work on this? What about the most rewarding moment?

Breaking down the contribution of UK aid to a city level proved quite tricky as we began the project. But once we uncovered the formula for one statistic, we were able to quickly figure out the rest.

We loved hearing back from local partners about how much they appreciated from the page. There was no acquisition included in the tool, which is not traditional in these kind of campaigns, so it was great to get such good feedback.

What did you learn in the process of creating this work that you didn't know/expect going in?

The impact of something as big as aid is more meaningful when localised so communities can see how they contributed. We are now working on more hyperlocal campaigns on the same topic, and we have even created a sister site - Norfolk Counts! See it at http://NorfolkCounts.org.uk

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