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Save the Children International

The Challenge

How does a leading fundraising organization accelerate global digital growth to expand their impact?

The Insight

Unpack market potential by prioritizing scaled investment and building capacity in more markets

The Solution

A four-pronged strategy with clear routes for operationalization

Save the Children International (SCI) has 25,000 dedicated staff across 116 countries and responds to major humanitarian emergencies, delivering innovative development programs and ensuring children’s voices are represented in their campaigns.

They approached Blue State in 2022 with an ambitious plan to build on some significant growth and  accelerate digital engagement in more markets, including mature markets, by 2028. 

A co-created view across 50 teams and 20+ markets

At Blue State we are proud of how we partner with organizations to co-create outputs and outcomes that are shaped collaboratively. Over the course of the first few weeks of our SCI partnership, we held a number of group sessions and 1:1 stakeholder interviews across communications, fundraising, advocacy and technology teams reviewing dozens of existing strategies and reports to get a clear sense of capabilities and growth opportunities.

We also analyzed performance at income, donor and investment level and compared that to peer benchmark data and external data sources to identify opportunities for scale and innovation.

Since 2020 SCI’s digital income has grown consistently year-over-year,  driving organizational questions about media strategy: Should the focus of the global team be in larger, more successful, markets or newer, more emerging digital markets?

We identified  pockets of digital excellence across the Save the Children team including using social listening to monitor trends & insights that could then inform other emergency messaging, exploring cryptocurrency and developing subscription products to generate new streams of revenue. What we saw was that teams were balancing new and existing projects well and even initiatives with fewer available resources had secured regular donors and showed promise of scale.

Understanding how to accelerate mature markets

For one of the largest fundraising organizations in the world, the questions we were asking were broad in both scope and potential impact:

  • Should global focus on digital acceleration to make mature markets even bigger?
  • Should investments go to emerging markets to diversify the portfolio?
  • How, as a global hub, could SCI continue to drive innovation and knowledge sharing across continents and country teams?

To answer these questions, our team first developed a strategy that balanced local needs with global growth ambitions and identified multiple initiatives that could be brought to life — from dedicated support for regions with high potential for growth to new data infrastructure that would facilitate knowledge sharing in emergencies.

Then, to help demonstrate business impact, the Blue State team worked on detailed digital projections and different investment scenarios for markets, showing where and how additional potential could be unlocked and where income may be trickier to grow due to saturation.

Ultimately, we determined that mature markets can still grow, but to maintain exceptional growth across a backdrop of local talent and limited local agency options, Save the Children International needed to build additional specialist skills and capacity. 

Creating a global culture of shared products and performance 

At Blue State we recognize that strategies only deliver results if action is taken. The work we just described was intended to be a dynamic roadmap, outlining the best path forward for this organization. The next step, after sharing the vision and goals with the global team, was to action it, and bring the roadmap to life adapting to new data along the way.

One first priority that was identified was market teams unable to access  real-time data from peers in other countries to help them react more effectively to emergencies, working closely and across markets to help create a global dashboard that could showcase digital fundraising data more quickly. 

And when markets felt they needed additional products to test in order to diversify the portfolio, we collaborated on a testing strategy aimed at growing and engaging donors who were parents in order to gain global learnings. 

And, when regions like Europe and APAC needed their own dedicated capacity to scale digital support, we helped them accelerate their programs more effectively, with consideration of their respective landscapes and resourcing. 

Finally, we  shared our sector insights and key trends at multiple SCI global skillshares and meetings, showing  how to bring together brand, comms and digital fundraising for  more effective and interconnected experiences while testing newer channels like Connected TV (CTV).

Working with local teams to embed digital acceleration

Throughout our partnership it was clear that some initiatives could be achieved by the global team — who coordinate international cooperations — while local challenges would require a different solution.

To build that local infrastructure we engaged teams from Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and Spain on a more detailed analysis and roadmap for their own country. We are now working in collaboration with Save the Children Australia and Korea to map out the shared needs of teams in APAC to help them accelerate and expand digital fundraising initiatives in newer emerging markets such as Ireland, France, Taiwan, Portugal and Singapore.

We can’t wait to see the organization continue to grow and our work start to appear in the wild in 2024. Watch this space!


  • 20+ markets engaged
  • 50 teams consulted
  • 4 change workstreams
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