The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is taking a results-driven approach to promoting American investments in global health efforts by releasing an advertisement centered on impact. The video, part of the Living Proof Project, will strike a chord with policy-makers, philanthropists and citizens alike not by centering on unmet need, but by highlighting true and measureable change: “Polio cases reduced by 99%;” “Mother-to-child HIV prevention in 16 million pregnancies;” “Malaria cases down 50% in 29 countries.” This approach instills confidence that funding saves lives.
Aimed at policymakers to sway additional funding, the positive message will reach stakeholders beyond those already engaged with the project. The Gates Foundation hopes the commercial, and specifically the measured results, will encourage grant makers and individual philanthropists to give where it counts. As Bill Gates points out, “We see that these things are working, and we’re willing to continue to make investments. I think then other people say, Okay, it must be working or people wouldn’t put their own money into it.”
Additional messages on the project’s Web site encourage advocates to pass along the positive thinking and to “Dispel the myths. When you hear someone say ‘It’s just money down a hole,’ or ‘Saving lives just leads to overpopulation,’ tell them why they’re wrong. These investments work. They empower people, and they’re appreciated."
In the bevy of important social and environmental issues that ask stakeholders for financial support every day, programs that show impact are in high demand. The pressure is now on nonprofits to show the ROI.