The water and sanitation charity held a 24-hour tweetathon to showcase its work around the world

A child plays in clean water from a new handpump in Zambia [WaterAid/ Anna Kari]
A child plays in clean water from a new handpump in Zambia [WaterAid/ Anna Kari]

What is it?

WaterAid 24 began in Australia at midnight on 7 June and ended in the US, with updates and pictures posted throughout the course of 24 hours. The aim was to shine a spotlight on the charity’s many teams around the globe, from water engineers in the field in Ethiopia to internal auditors in India and Burkina Faso.  

How did it work?

WaterAid employees from all over the world sent short messages to an email address that was managed by the charity’s UK team, who then uploaded them to its Twitter feed and included the hashtag #wateraid24. The UK team worked in shifts to update the feed throughout the 24 hours on developments from Asia, Africa, the Pacific region and Europe.

What did the tweets say?

An example tweet from the charity’s operations in Liberia said: "Had a meeting earlier today with the Public Works Ministry - they do not lavishly provision their meetings! #wateraid24."

Why did the charity do it?

Joe Downie, WaterAid’s website manager, said: "We wanted to show just how many layers go into our work to deliver safe water, sanitation and hygiene to some of the world’s poorest communities. A wonderful by-product was a genuine feeling of interconnectedness between WaterAid staff the world over."

How did WaterAid promote it?

The tweetathon was flagged up on the charity’s home page, Twitter feed and Facebook page. Digital specialist The Rabbit Agency seeded the campaign out to social media bloggers before the launch. Clarence House and Lauren Laverne were among the high-profile retweeters of the campaign.

What was the reach of the campaign?

The charity’s total potential tweet reach was estimated to be 1,147,759 and 1,111 tweets were issued under the hashtag #WaterAid24 in total on the day.

Third Sector verdict:

WaterAid 24 effectively demonstrates the global nature of social networks by using them to showcase the charity’s activities around the world. Keeping the campaign to a day rather than extending it to a week helped to maintain interest in the tweetathon, while the 24-hour time period meant that people around the world were able to see the updates and feel involved.

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