Featured Work: Waterkeeper Alliance


Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement for clean, healthy, and abundant water for all people and the planet. The global nonprofit unites more than 300 Waterkeeper groups that patrol and protect more than 2.6 square miles of rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways in six continents. 

The Alliance hired Due East in 2020 to develop a strategic plan to guide the organization’s priorities and core activities over the next five years — Due East’s first truly global engagement. Although this dynamic group has been growing for more than 50 years, the distance created by the pandemic left many feeling disconnected from the collective movement. Working together, Due East and a group of Alliance staff and volunteer leadership not only had to tackle the complex logistics of engaging people from all over the world (languages, time zones!), we needed to reconnect hundreds of key constituents, most importantly Waterkeeper organizations and groups, to their common cause in the process.

The Process

Due East helped create and manage multiple ways for key constituents across the globe to engage in the process, including service on the Strategic Planning Committee, surveys, interviews, small group discussions, and one-on-one conversations. “We made it accessible and invited folks in and listened,” said Bess Langbein, Partner, Due East. “We got everyone to ground themselves in their ‘why’ and helped them create a new, collaborative definition and vision for the movement.”

In total, more than 250 key constituents contributed to the strategic plan.

Tonya Bonitatibus, Riverkeeper/Executive Director, Savannah Riverkeeper,  added “Due East locked arms with us to guide this critical planning process. With their help we were able to thoughtfully incorporate the voices and perspective of Waterkeepers from around the world to ensure this new Plan for the Movement reflects a shared vision for the future.

The Results

Guided by Due East, Waterkeeper Alliance created a new vision and mission, four bold strategic priorities paired with actionable strategies, and measurable 10-year shared results to track and report on collective impact. Combined with a set of shared 2030 results and indicators, the group emerged stronger, and more reflective. Click here to view their 5-Year Plan for the Movement.

“This plan is not about one organization,” said Marc Yaggi, Executive Director, Waterkeeper Alliance. “It is about a powerful, global movement of leaders working together to support one another, amplify our collective voices, and strengthen the laws and policies vital to protecting everyone’s right to clean water. I am in awe of this movement and extremely proud to be part of it.”

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