28th November, 2011

Charity spotlight – charity: water

charity: water is an innovative New York based non-profit organisation dedicated to bringing clean water to developing nations. I’m amazed at what they have achieved in just five years – delivering clean water to an estimated two million people is impressive to say the least.

Here are five ways they inspire me.

1. Donor engagement

Charity: water recognises the power of donor engagement. Through high-quality videos streaming the action from the drilling of a well to powerful infographics, their supporters know they are making a difference; they become brand ambassadors. One such example is a fundraising campaign that asks people to give up their birthday presents to give the gift of clean water. This campaign was at the forefront of global news recently when they inspired an American girl named Rachel Beckwith to give up her birthday presents for her eighth birthday to raise $300 for charity: water. But as she lost her life in a car accident the days immediately following her birthday, her campaign has now generated over $1 million for the organisation.

2. Thanking supporters

Donors get an email when the well that they funded has been drilled. But for me, the ultimate example of inspiring donor communications is the personalised thank you videos delivered to 250 supporters as part of their fifth birthday celebrations. [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/28732210[/vimeo]

3. Funding model

Charity:water’s funding model is noteworthy too. They guarantee that for every penny donated, 100% goes to building wells. Overheads are covered by a group of private funders they call ‘The Well’, a membership program where donors give a set amount to their operating costs each year.

4. Transparancy

Charity:water is very honest about their work and the challenges they face. Following an unsuccessful drill for a well in Moale, they put an honest appraisal of efforts on a video on their website and even sent an email to funders… [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/14779260[/vimeo] … As you would expect, they did return to finish the drill and filmed that too.

5. Visual tools

One glance at charity: water’s website will illustrate their innovation when it comes to communicating with supporters and the public. I love the personalised infographic sent to a donor by way of a project update; a powerful way to show impact.



So that’s why charity: water inspires me. How about you? Leave a comment or get in touch if you’d like to nominate a charity for the spotlight.


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