Designed & conducted campaigns
Managed long-term, multichannel efforts to support strategic initiatives.
For decades, IREX deliberately kept a low profile while quietly implementing life-changing programs on behalf of US government agencies. As the aid landscape shifted, IREX's strategy called for diversifying its base of donor organizations to mitigate funding risks and create more room for innovation. Our leadership team decided that IREX needed to introduce itself to new donor and partner organizations by becoming a thought leader in strategic areas.
We met with teams that were planning to create content for this initiative. Drawing upon user interviews from the irex.org redesign and analytics from previous initiatives, we shared what we'd learned about the types of content that our target audiences valued the most.
In the meantime, we started designing a multiyear, multichannel campaign called Learning Signals. We tentatively decided to overhaul our e-mail newsletter to make it more relevant to key audiences and use it in coordination with website content, paid and organic social media posts, employees' professional networks, and targeted outreach to media outlets to earn the interest of key audiences.
Through a comparative analysis of peer organizations' approaches and an analogous inspiration exercise with staff, we discovered that many e-mail newsletters in our industry were "self-centered" in promoting their own content, while influential voices in other industries put their audiences' interests and needs at the center of their work.
With these insights, we structured Learning Signals so each edition would share the following things:
A practical guide for practitioners or a credible piece of original research.
A selection of related links to other organizations' materials, along with a brief description of why we found them interesting or useful.
A Google Doc for sharing work in progress and for inviting feedback, suggestions, and other ideas.
We set objectives for each edition and gauged progress through quantitative and qualitative data. Over the course of a little more than a year, the campaign led to a number of key results:
Important meetings with new donor organizations
Partnerships and funding for strategic programs
Positive feedback from subscribers
Articles in major outlets, including pieces in New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, Nieman Lab, Christian Science Monitor, Wilson Quarterly, World Economic Forum's Global Agenda, Project Syndicate, and Columbia Journalism Review