World Toilet Organization: Leveraging brand equity

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World Toilet Organization: Leveraging brand equity

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The World Toilet Organization (WTO) was founded by Jack Sim (Singapore's first Ashoka Global Fellow) on 19th November 2001 in Singapore. WTO is Singapore’s first global non-profit organisation committed to improving sanitation conditions worldwide. Since its inception, WTO has brought together key players from governments, academia, civil society, multi-lateral agencies and the private sector to explore innovative and sustainable solutions to the global sanitation crisis. With its unique advocacy efforts and programmes, the organization continues to break the taboo around toilets – drawing much-needed attention, discourse and participation from the international community to address the silent sanitation crisis.WTO pioneered the creation of World Toilet Day (which has now been adopted as an official UN Day as a result of the organization's joint initiative with the Government of Singapore), World Toilet Summit and World Toilet College. With its global network of supporters and members, WTO has delivered projects in Asia and beyond. Currently, the organization runs SaniShop – a social enterprise model- in Cambodia and India. WTO has completed the pilot launch of its School Sanitation programme in South Africa. With 6 pillars (Advocacy, Rural Sanitation, Urban Sanitation, Tourism Sanitation,School Sanitation, Awareness Programmes) guiding the organization’s operational strategy, WTO continues to pursue cross-collaborative efforts in various regions with toilet associations, multinational corporations and government agencies to create sustainable impact and find innovative solutions to the sanitation crisis.The organization is at an exciting juncture of growth and expansion; however, despite its track record of delivering successful advocacy campaigns, it continues to face challenges in terms of securing sustainable funding streams, creating new revenue channels as well as safeguarding its brand. To address these challenges, we have re-alligned our priorities, streamlined our projects and services. Therefore, a new, robust strategy is needed to help the current team identify its strengths and weaknesses. What we lack is an understanding on how to leverage WTO's brand to attract new partnerships, build new funding streams. As a result of high staff turnover in the past, the current team is struggling to plug in gaps in institutional knowledge. We hope with the generous support from American Express, we can work towards a strategy that will help WTO grow its social impact and at the same time, build a sustainable financial future.  

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our approach is two-fold. 1. Advocacy - What we don't discuss, we can't improve. We turned sanitation into a sexy subject and a viable business option. We established World Toilet Day, World Toilet Summit, World Toilet College to push sanitation to forefront of the global development agenda. 2. Action-oriented - We don't believe in providing communities with free toilets. We believe in creating a sustainable sanitation ecosystem and establishing community ownership. Our SaniShop model achieves this by creating jobs for local entrepreneurs and sales agents who become agents of change in their communities. We also train janitors and sanitation providers to increase the quality of service in the sector.
Contact Details
World Toilet Organization
About Your Organization
Organization Name

World Toilet Organization

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
About You
First Name


Last Name


Job Title

Communications Manager

List additional team members who would be involved in this project:

Katherine Thomson - Fundraising Manager

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About Your Organization
What are your primary products/services? Please describe all.

Advocacy - World Toilet Day (global day of action), World Toilet Summit (held annually with a host government).
Awareness Programs - World Toilet College (a training body), Community-Led Total Sanitation
Rural Sanitation - SaniShop (social enterprise in Cambodia & India)
Urban Sanitation - Urban slum consulting project with NUS
School Sanitation - Hygiene awareness program
Tourism Sanitation - ASEAN toilet standards audit

Who is your primary audience, customer or beneficiary?

Individuals and households in both rural and urban settings.

How do your products/services benefit this population?

1. We trigger behavioural change which leads to improved health and hygiene by focusing on hygiene awareness programs in communities we serve
2. We create employment opportunities at the local level: SaniShop employs local entrepreneurs to create a sustainable sanitation ecosystem.
3. We set standards for urban sanitation providers to ensure the needs of various groups are taken into consideration (disabled, elderly etc)

How many staff do you have (full and part-time)?

Full time: 10 Part-time: 1

Impact and Sustainability
Organization Mission: What problem is your organization committed to solving? In particular, describe what is innovative about your approach.

WTO is committed to bringing health, dignity and well-being to everyone, everywhere through sustainable sanitation. Globally, 2.5 billion people still lack access to basic sanitation. The MDG goal for sanitation remains the most off-track because of the reluctance to talk about the issue. WTO's unique approach in combining toilet humour and serious facts have been successful in generating a lot of attention to the sanitation cause. In addition to our advocacy efforts, we pioneered a social enterprise - SaniShop - which trains local entrepreneurs to build & sell affordable toilets.

Impact: What has been the impact of your solution to date?

1. Advocacy - World Toilet Day was formally recognised as an official UN Day in July 2013 as a result of our lobbying efforts. World Toilet Summit has been held in 13 cities across the world and this year will be hosted by BRAC in Bangladesh. World Toilet College has trained more than 4,000 individuals since its inception.
2. Action-oriented - More than 11,000 toilets have been sold in Cambodia through our SaniShop initiative since its inception in 2008. We partnered with Unilever to establish the world's first Toilet Academy in Vietnam (pilot project) and have now expanded to India. We piloted a school hygiene awareness programme in partnership with Domestos South Africa. This project is currently being reviewed by local municipalities.

Impact: What is your projected impact after receiving consulting support from American Express?

1.Strong brand identity - We look forward to reinventing the organization and placing it on the global stage with a new vigour to deliver its mission.
2.Build and foster new partnerships - By revamping our current messaging and identifying the gaps in our communications/marketing strategy, we hope to reach out to partners, donors and key stakeholders to build long-term partnerships that will help us expand our operations to different regions. This will help more people get access to clean and safe toilets.
3. Increased participation of high-level decision makers in the global sanitation movement - We want to mobilise a global movement of decision-makers, thought leaders, politicians and policy professionals to lobby for equal access to sanitation for everyone, everywhere. Your consulting support will help us utilise our resources to achieve this mission.

Sustainability: Do you currently have the financial and human resources to implement new strategies or recommendations offered through this partnership, or would implementation be dependent on receiving additional funding? Please describe.

We have financial and human resources to implement new strategies. We believe with your support and guidance, we will be able to raise additional funding, if necessary.

Project Selection
Select your first choice project

Strengthening Key Messages

Select your second choice project (Optional)

Strategy Design

Are you or an assigned project manager from your team able to commit 3-5 hours per week over the 10-week consulting period?


Strategy Design
Why did you select this specific project type?

As a newly-formed team at WTO, we need assistance in developing a fresh and robust marketing strategy to position WTO in a new light to donors, supporters and partners. We need a strategy which identifies and helps us leverage our key strengths to improve our work and scale our impact.

What strategy opportunities or challenges are you currently facing?

Opportunities: Access to multiple stakeholders (government agencies, MNCs,NGOs, academic institutions) through various collaborations. Our services and campaigns have global impact. Many supporters both within & beyond the sanitation field.
Challenges: Lack of funding to expand & retain talent

Are you interested in reviewing the strategy for the organization overall or for a specific product/service? Please explain.

We are keen to review our marketing strategy because this directly impacts our fundraising efforts. The NGO field is saturated with many players; therefore, we are competing with other NGOs for the same pool of funds. Our track record is impressive, yet funding remains a problem.

Do you have a current strategic plan? If yes, what are its primary goals? If no, why not?

Our current strategic plan for marketing is to establish ourselves as the 'world headquarters' for sanitation-related efforts, campaigns and solutions. By establishing ourselves as the HQ, we hope to build more partnerships, increase credibility and expand our current services and projects.

If you were to receive support, what is your expected outcome at the end of the consulting period?

Knowledge to position the organization/brand to different stakeholders and how to use the revised strategy as a springboard on which we develop, foster and create new partnerships. With the new strategy, we hope to reach out to more stakeholders who are interested in working with us/funding us.

How will support in this area allow you to deepen your impact?

Your support will directly impact our ability to raise funds for existing and new projects. When new partners join us in our work, we are able to scale our impact within a shorter time frame due to sustainable funding streams. Your support will help us help more people get access to safe sanitation.

Strengthening Key Messages
Why did you select this specific project type?

We need to understand the best methods to strengthen and leverage WTO's brand in the long term to boost donor acquisition. By supporting us in improving our current messaging, we will be able to identify key gaps in our communications with donors, partners and other stakeholders.

What brand challenges are you facing?

Mixed messaging: Due to a lack of financial and human resources, some initiatives are temporarily put on the back burner. This leads to a dilution of the organization's mission and confusion with regards to the organization's scope of work.

Are you interested in reviewing your organizations overall brand or for a specific product/service? Please explain.

We are interested in reviewing the organization's overall brand because we need to fully re-evaluate the DNA of the organization to streamline all our projects and services. By reviewing the overall brand, we can ensure there is continuity and consistency across our various projects and services.

What are you trying to accomplish through improved branding?

Improved branding will lead to a strong, impactful messaging of our work, mission and goals. This will help us to approach donors, partners and key stakeholders with a strong identity and create new opportunities in different regions.

If you were to receive support, what is your expected outcome at the end of the consulting period?

Clear and concise messaging on how to present WTO's brand to different audiences. With a revamped brand identity, we hope to foster and build new partnerships which will contribute to multiple funding streams for the organization.

How will support in this area allow you to deepen your impact?

A strong brand identity will help us approach key players in the sanitation field and equip us with the right tools to build effective partnerships. We want to be able to sustain our current projects and deliver new projects where funding permits. As a result, we will be able to impact more lives.