You too can be a lot like charity:water

Do you have what it takes to be a game-changer like charity:water?

Yes, you absolutely do.

The real question is are you willing to do what charity:water does?

Most organization are not.

Here’s what charity:water does that’s different, according to npENGAGE, at So, You Want to Be like charity:water? They don’t spend all their time and energy describing and explaining themselves. They focus on telling stories about their donors:

Most of us in America don’t know what it’s like to not have access to clean water, but by telling meaningful stories — stories of those in need and stories of the supporters giving up their birthdays to help — they help us relate to a community in Africa.

Please let that sink in a bit.

They aren’t trying to raise funds by “educating” people about the problem of water in poverty areas. They aren’t spamming people with their elevator speech. They aren’t sticking to some brand guidelines version of bragging about their effectiveness.

They’re telling stories about donors who experienced the joy of doing something positive about a big problem.

That may not go a long way to deepen people’s knowledge about the issue, and it may not add a lot of points to the public’s regard of the brand.

But it does show potential donors that giving to charity:water is fulfilling, life-affirming, and fun. And I’ll bet that not only raises more money — but also educates and informs more than all the well-intentioned lecturing, bragging and brand-guided chest-thumping in the world.

Is your organization willing to stop trying to make the case that you are cool, exciting, unique, effective, etc. and instead start bragging about how cool, exciting, unique, effective, etc. your donors are?

That’s one of two things that charity:water does to change the fundraising game. (The other is a powerful, specific, understandable call to action.)

Any organization that wants to do this can do it. That includes yours.


Comments

6 responses to “You too can be a lot like charity:water”

  1. “Please let that sink in a bit.” Pun intended?

  2. “Please let that sink in a bit.” Pun intended?

  3. Jeff,
    Simply stated… it’s easier to just sign a requisition order for another 100,000 mailers. And, it’s also easier to blast out some spam or run around like chickens to run another event.
    To do what charity:water does requires strategic thinking, empathy, and perspective. In other words, it requires thought and hard work.
    But most of all, it requires leadership.
    The nonprofit leader of the future has to recognize that the old ways are not going to work forever.
    Until nonprofits find leaders who are willing to roll up their sleeves to do the hard work that is required…. Until they find leaders willing to spend time on intelligent marketing, most nonprofits will not be like charity:water.
    You can lead a fish to water but you can’t make ’em drink.

  4. Jeff,
    Simply stated… it’s easier to just sign a requisition order for another 100,000 mailers. And, it’s also easier to blast out some spam or run around like chickens to run another event.
    To do what charity:water does requires strategic thinking, empathy, and perspective. In other words, it requires thought and hard work.
    But most of all, it requires leadership.
    The nonprofit leader of the future has to recognize that the old ways are not going to work forever.
    Until nonprofits find leaders who are willing to roll up their sleeves to do the hard work that is required…. Until they find leaders willing to spend time on intelligent marketing, most nonprofits will not be like charity:water.
    You can lead a fish to water but you can’t make ’em drink.

  5. Julie-Anne Slatter Avatar
    Julie-Anne Slatter

    Jeff, I read the original article when it came out and it’s great to read your frank take on it!
    I do agree with Tina – it’s one thing to know what needs to be done and another thing entirely to get that type of messaging approved.
    That is why people like us, read blogs like this. We need to continue to educate our leaders and share articles like these to provide the evidence they need to make the necessary changes.

  6. Julie-Anne Slatter Avatar
    Julie-Anne Slatter

    Jeff, I read the original article when it came out and it’s great to read your frank take on it!
    I do agree with Tina – it’s one thing to know what needs to be done and another thing entirely to get that type of messaging approved.
    That is why people like us, read blogs like this. We need to continue to educate our leaders and share articles like these to provide the evidence they need to make the necessary changes.

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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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About the blogger

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.