UN looks for agency as it readies refugee campaign

GENEVA: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is planning a global outreach effort in the coming months that will both draw attention to the plight of refugees and spell out the organization's financial needs.

GENEVA: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is planning a global outreach effort in the coming months that will both draw attention to the plight of refugees and spell out the organization's financial needs.

The campaign will be a first for the global organization, which has never conducted a joint communications and fundraising effort at the global level, according to RFP documents. The office felt it needed a coordinated initiative from the concept stage through the production of outreach materials.  

The High Commissioner's office is about to interview firms that are on a shortlist; the RFP's deadline passed last month.

As the organization looks to launch an outreach effort, it sees two major problem areas it needs to overcome.

It believes 2,500 people are forced to flee their homes and cross international borders in search of safety every day. Therefore, part of the campaign will focus on highlighting World Refugee Day 2013, which is scheduled for June 20. The group sees the day as an opportunity to highlight the impact of war and communicate that refugee families need immediate help.

Having the key messages focus on “family” is important universally and resonates with all audiences in some way. The message also provides the organization with a “point of difference” from other groups, it said in the RFP documents.

In terms of business, it said “the past 24 months have been some of the most challenging in UNHCR's history.” The group is on the frontline of four separate conflicts in Syria, Mali, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, helping those forced to flee with shelter, clean water, and medical care.

The concurrent situations have left the group's resources and budget stretched. To continue its work, it needs more financial support from governments, donors, corporations, and individuals, as well as a greater number of supporters.

The effort will be produced, launched, and rolled out globally from Geneva and London, and adapted by local markets. The initiative will include corporate outreach, social media, and advertisements. It will have two phases: planning and development and implementation. The budget for the first phase is up to $200,000, and the fee for the second part has not been determined, according to the RFP.

A representative from the organization did not return a request for comment on the RFP.

In June 2012, the United Nations Population Fund hired Portland Communications to help raise its profile around the globe. Last January, the United Nations Foundation picked Weber Shandwick to develop the global communications strategy for the Sustainable Energy for All program.

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