When I first heard about Charity:Water in 2010 I did not give them much thought, however over the past couple years it’s been hard to not notice them especially in Silicon Valley. The name Charity:Water keeps popping up in the news and on the web far more often than any other nonprofit. Living in Silicon Valley, you tend to notice tech blogs and I’ve increasingly found Charity:Water’s use of technology and social media getting well deserved coverage. I’ve also begun to notice Charity:Water often being Tweeted and Instagrammed by famous tech entrepreneurs like Jack Dorsey and Chris Sacca.
All this social media success that Charity:Water is enjoying really peaked my interest and I wanted to find out more and see what it is that they are doing differently. It didn’t take long to see why are they doing so good and growing at a phenomenally high rate, doubling down on funds raised year over year and that too from a vast number of small individual donors. As per their 2011 financial report, In 2010, they raised 10.8 million and in 2011 they almost doubled that to 17 million. Online donations accounted for 65% of funds and 80% of their total funds were from individual donors.
The key to their success is the “100% Model” where 100% of your donated monies are put towards the water projects and not used for their own operational costs. By adopting this model they got rid of the two key hurdles which prevents people from donating, one, everyone wants their donation to go to the project – every last cent of it and two, people want proof about how their money was used.
So how do they run their operations, pay salaries, etc, simple big private donors who understand that by opting to pay the daily running costs of Charity:Water they are helping build a sustainable model that can raise money and do good at massive scale.
Social media is clearly the fuel that powers their growth, they excel at using the web to communicate the importance of clean drinking water in the developing world and the enormous suffering caused by the lack of it. Charity:Water produces high quality content using the latest platforms like Twitter Vine, Instagram and Facebook.
Now onto the fun stuff, you probably can’t wait to build a well or help with a water pump – Charity:Water has made that very easy just goto their site at mycharitywater.org to start your own fundraising campaign or simply make a one time donation to www.charitywater.org.
Another thing I absolutely love about Charity:Water is that they promise you a clear 18 month project completion deadline at the end of which they provide you with photos, GPS locations and all other information about how your money was used to help bring water to communities.
Charity:Water is clearly far ahead in the game, they have all the pieces of the puzzle right and with their deep understanding of the web and their extraordinary capability to inspire at scale they are poised to make a serious dent in the global water crisis.