Strategically disseminating key ideas, opportunities, and achievements of a Water Fund via effective Communications and Marketing Strategies is critical for attracting investors to the Fund, as well as sustaining existing engagements with key stakeholders.
Why is this necessary?
To lead ongoing communication and engagement of stakeholders that is necessary to create a shared vision of water security priorities and to generate collective and coordinated action to address these concerns. This area is necessary for the Water Fund to achieve its targets and goals and is closely linked to the water security challenges and associated interventions after initial support is obtained. This work results in behavior changes, namely further support for the Water Fund’s plans and projects.
Communications and marketing within the 5 phases of the Water Fund Project Cycle:
Phase 1: Feasibility
The Feasibility Phase includes two 'checks' to test if a Water Fund is the right water security tool. First, a test of 'eligibility' is completed by quickly determining if there are water security challenges and a potential for a Water Fund to help. If yes, feasibility is then explored further by developing a deeper understanding of the situation and generally how a Water Fund could positively contribute to water security within the defined area.
The Decision Support Document informs decision-makers on deciding if the Water Fund should proceed to the Design Phase. This document provides related recommendations and conditions for moving ahead.
Phase 2: Design
The Design Phase is undertaken to develop the best solutions for the identified water security issues and to choose the appropriate water fund configuration which accounts for key technical issues, financial considerations, governance dimensions and strives for maximum impact.
A Water Fund Strategic Plan is created to establish a long term (5-year) plan that creates clarity, focus and a shared roadmap for implementing important strategic choices made by the leadership of a Water Fund.
The purpose of Clarifying the Challenge is to be clear on: 1) how to define the challenges the Water Fund is going to help address, 2) what success looks like and how the Water Fund contributes to that success, 3) how to identify the risks and obstacles and how they can be mitigated/navigated, and 4) how to formulate the Water Fund’s strategy, objectives, and 5-year goals by tangible actions the Water Fund will conduct.
The purpose of supporting interventions is to: 1) establish engagement plans per stakeholder category and high-level protocols for communications, 2) create a plan to secure resources (i.e., fundraising/financing), and 3) to develop a 5-year roadmap to track milestone progress toward the Water Fund goals.
Launch events are held for Water Funds to publicly promote the partners who have led their development and the range of activities that will be implemented to help achieve their goals. A launch event can help to increase public support, solidify coalitions, and attract new resources to a Water Fund. Accordingly, it is important that a concise and united message is presented at the launch event to encourage widespread media attention and interest from both the public and private sector.
Phase 4: Operation
The Operation Phase is undertaken to establish stability by developing and implementing a comprehensive work plan, which guides systematic execution of activities, measurement and evaluation, and communication of progress towards the goals of the water fund. These activities should be continuously improved through adaptive management, refinements, and innovation.
The Annual Operating Plan addresses key aspects related to operating the Water Fund, including technical matters, marketing and communication, stakeholder engagement, fundraising, administration of the Water Fund, quality assurance, adaptive management, innovation, and planning.
The purpose of the Reporting step is to communicate key results (e.g. conservation and socioeconomic benefits), provide updates on planned activities, and/or detail the financial status of the Water Fund. Reporting is a critical step in ensuring that all stakeholders remain engaged and that transparency in the ongoing operations of the Water Fund is maintained.
Phase 5: Maturity
The Maturity Phase is a determination that assures the long-term viability of the water fund to create significant and lasting impact that positively contributes to water security.