3 ways you could be like charity:water

Yesterday we looked at reasons most nonprofits aren’t as “awesome” as charity:water. Here’s more about charity:water from the Duarte Blog, a presentation design blog: How charity:water is Changing the World.

They point out three things they like about charity:water…


  • The 100% model. 100% of public donations go directly to water projects.
  • Relentless transparency. You are given precise information, including the exact GPS coordinates of where your money is being spent.
  • Good design. They have cultivated a beautiful brand and provide well-designed and effective tools to help you spread the good word.

This is useful information because it’s not what a fundraising professional thinks, but a donor point of view. Let’s take a look at each of these things:


  • Fundraisers often pooh-pooh the “100% model” because from our vantage it’s just a financial shell game. But donors, a lot of them, really love it. Unfortunately, donors tend to see overhead spending as a lesser thing that they aren’t interested in supporting. Sure, they’re wrong about that, but would you rather win an argument or raise more funds? Maybe you should figure out a way to put the “100% model” to work for your organization.
  • We also tend to dislike “relentless transparency.” Don’t those donors know that all that information sharing takes time and money? But do you ever wonder what the ROI of that sharing might be?
  • It’s interesting that a design firm makes no distinction between the way things look and the way they work. The main characteristic of good design is that it delivers an effortless, unconfusing, crystal-clear experience. As for beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder — the donor. The charity:water donor is probably younger than your donor. But whoever your donor is, design for her, not for yourself.


Comments

2 responses to “3 ways you could be like charity:water”

  1. Awesome post again here Jeff. I especially liked your point about the 100% model as I often, and have (http://recharity.ca/does-100-of-your-donation-hurt-or-help-charity/), pooh poohed it but this line says it all “Sure, they’re wrong about that, but would you rather win an argument or raise more funds?”. As long as there’s some education to donors along the way on the need for “overhead” as the relationship grows it’s a fantastic way to build trust early on with supporters.

  2. Awesome post again here Jeff. I especially liked your point about the 100% model as I often, and have (http://recharity.ca/does-100-of-your-donation-hurt-or-help-charity/), pooh poohed it but this line says it all “Sure, they’re wrong about that, but would you rather win an argument or raise more funds?”. As long as there’s some education to donors along the way on the need for “overhead” as the relationship grows it’s a fantastic way to build trust early on with supporters.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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