Region(s): Global
Issue(s): Community and Social Justice
Author: This campaign was produced by a number of departments within the World Bank. Sponsoring organization: NGO Organization(s): The World Bank
Contact: Mehreen Sheikh Msheikh1@worldbank.org

Campaign Info

Scope of Good Practice

The “What Will It Take to End Poverty?” campaign drives a global conversation on what causes poverty, who is affected by poverty, and what solutions exist to end poverty. It used online and offline outreach strategies on major social media platforms, in multiple languages, and with various multimedia properties. The target audience was the global general market with a focus on young people looking to make a positive impact on society. The results were featured at the World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Tokyo and continue to be disseminated. The next phase of the campaign — “It takes” — will highlight solutions to ending poverty.

The Problem Addressed by the Campaign

The campaign addressed the dialogue gap between individuals, international institutions and policymakers on how to end poverty. By asking the public “What will it take to end poverty?” in social media, on film, and with postcards, the World Bank Group empowered individuals of all ages and backgrounds to provide ideas about fighting poverty. UN agencies, universities, and non-profits such as the Gates Foundation, ONE Campaign, Oxfam and other groups also joined in the dialogue online. In one month, the campaign received over 12,000 responses from 120+ countries. The topics discussed were presented at the World Bank Annual Meetings in October 2012.

Background Research

The "What Will It Take" campaign mirrored a World Bank Group effort to open the conversation to program beneficiaries and to aid workers on the ground that see firsthand what solutions work best for communities. By giving them a voice, beneficiaries are empowered and share valuable insight into their daily lives, needs, hopes and aspirations. By encouraging participation through its vast network of social media and through country offices, the campaign was able to elicit response from a staggering variety of people across the globe of differing ethnicities, religions, ages, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds. The key messages were that programs that empower communities help individuals improve their lives; that gender equality is vital; that access to better healthcare leads to more productive lives and, perhaps most heartening, that love and compassion are key components to ending poverty.


The campaign strategy centered on a strong, direct call to action that would empower people around the world to share their ideas to end poverty while also learning about the experiences/best practices in existence. The question:  "What Will It Take…." allowed participants to embrace the concept and tailor it to their experiences, beliefs and perspectives. The question was specific, yet kept the subject open-ended. "What Will It Take...to improve the lives of children? Create jobs?" People answered with the phrase “it takes…..," which was also used by organizations sharing best practice and lessons learned in the fight against poverty.


The hashtags #whatwillitake and #ittakes were used as identifying logos and calls-to-action for the campaign. A unique, eye-catching design element was used in all facets of the campaign — from videos, to post cards, to the call-to-action across social media. As an identifier/element to the campaign, the team produced more than a dozen of videos from participants all over the world, created a call-to-action video with the U.S. President, and engaged with the U.S. World Bank country offices in a Bank-wide multimedia/social media campaign.


The campaign used paid and organic social media, with a focus on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook in more than four languages, as well as earned media in "Wall Street Journal Live" and other outlets. A massive, segmented wall was also built to display the thousands of “What Will it Take” response postcards, in multiple languages, that were submitted as part of the campaign. The Wall was featured at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in Japan and transported to the World Bank public lobby in Washington.


On Twitter, the campaign had 41,770,420 views in 120+ countries in 8+ languages. Campaign videos were viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube. Thousands of postcards were submitted for display on the wall. Most participants, online and in person, submitted poverty solutions focusing on the ideas of education for all, ending corruption, and reform in policies.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The campaign’s call-to-action expanded far beyond its intended use, with the phrase “What Will it Take…” becoming adopted by a number of poverty-fighting organizations. Given this popularity, and the enormous volume of responses, it was important to show the global audience the impact of the campaign and how their feedback will be used to help end poverty. The "What Will It Take" campaign was so successful that it is being expanded with the "It Takes" follow-up to help enhance World Bank efforts to mitigate extreme world poverty by 2027.

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