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April 2017

When Oxfam needed a global system to power their campaigning and connect their teams, we built a tool for 26 countries in 2 months to help this leading NGO fight poverty around the world.

Ian Sullivan

Ian Sullivan

Head of Digital WIN

Working with DEV feels like much more of a partnership than working with other agencies. It's great to take a problem to them - whether technical or design - and then work with them on creating the right response.


How do we enable Oxfam’s teams all over the world to collaborate on locally focused global issues without costing the Earth?


An agile workflow designed to deliver a powerful tool including workshops, wireframe and brand guideline driven user interface design, and a bulletproof open source platform fit for Oxfam's global needs.


A powerful actions platform for Oxfam and the sector, delivered on time and on budget ahead of Davos 2017, and campaigns with conversion rates in excess of 75%

How do we fix global, integrated campaigning that doesn’t cost the earth for a multinational NGO like Oxfam? We love answering tough questions, and this was a big one. There were two big issues which we would need to address:


“How do we enable affiliates to campaign on one issue, retaining control over their data whilst sharing the impact with the wider organisation?”

We needed a simple solution. Rather than developing a complex hierarchy of organisation categories and structures, our answer was instead to allow an action taken by a user to inherit tags from a range of source. And so an action can be easily tagged with the organisation, movement, campaign, themes, keywords; and beyond that, they could also be tagged retrospectively, enabling campaigners to add clarity after the fact. Search and reporting tools have provided both broad and focused understanding into that cloud of data. We also built mechanisms to allow that data to be easily pushed in and pulled out of the framework, pointing to APIs.


“How do we make joined-up online campaigning affordable, given the immense variety of scale, capacity and available budget?”

Oxfam needed a platform which would allow their staff around the world, regardless of digital experience, to produce on brand digital actions to connect supporters and power their advocacy work, share their data and reduce the cost that each organisation was exposed to. Our solution was to allow those orgs to leverage significant economies of scale. One instance of the platform supports many sub organisations. And because it's a shared framework, we developed a pricing structure which slashes the global running costs.


The fundamental starting point for any project is a sound understanding of the client's needs, their story so far, and where they want to go. And so we started the project with an all-team kick-off workshop with the project leads. We looked at the e-campaigning sector and developed an understanding of best practice and learned from the best.


ACT form design
All layouts were wireframes in detail. Here we can see the embeddable action widget.

With the roadmap laid out, we started with wireframe prototypes, which allowed us to quickly flesh out our understanding of the project's scope, without having to jump to build. This allowed the Oxfam team to evaluate whether the user flow met their early expectations.

And to build trust with campaigners and end-users, we designed a clean, on-brand skin.


Fast delivery: In the case of this project, agile working meant that we were able to build and release functioning portions of the platform at regular intervals measured in days and weeks rather than months. This allowed the Oxfam team to evaluate the decisions and directions they had briefed. This meant that while the end product might not have been exactly what they originally asked for, it was exactly what they needed.

Cost effective: The Oxfam team prioritised specific sections of the platform for development before others. This meant that the first phase of work delivered arguably the most important feature, ahead of anything else. The platform could have been launched in a minimum viable state at any point in its development, potentially saving time and money in the process.


The international rollout was timed for Davos World Economic Forum 2017. Ensuring this key moment in Oxfam's international calendar went smoothly was critical. In addition to our standard approach to robust and resilient hosting, we used in-site support tools for campaigner who needed support, allowing them to communicate with our team. This was a key feedback loop enabling continuous improvement of the platform.


  • The platform, on time and on budget
  • Many campaigns converting in excess of 70%
  • An open source tool with a roadmap for future expansion


  • Multi-organisation modelling, including local and global flexibility
  • The ability to chain multiple actions within a single campaign
  • Action types include, petitions, email to target and find and email to representative
  • Custom action form builder
  • CMS-level page builder
  • Deep multi-lingual options
  • Shared data tagging and reporting


  • Built with open source Python and Django frameworks
  • Powerful REST API framework and WebHooks
  • Data stored and accessible via JSON
  • ZERO unplanned downtime since launch

Launched in time for the Davos 2017 when Oxfam released their Inequality report that made headlines around the world. It highlighted the fact that 8 billionaires own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who form the poorest half of the world's population.

ACT Davos plane
The new e-campaigning platform was launched in time to support Oxfam's Davos 2017 moment.

The page builder has allowed campaign teams in Oxfam to produce pages with video, map, gallery and many other elements in minutes. In under a year, it saved these teams over £250,000 in design and development costs, and empowered campaign teams to deliver powerful, device responsive action pages in a matter of minutes.

Talk to us about the ACT platform and how it could revolutionise your campaigns.

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