About 1 in 8 people in the world, that’s more than 1 billion, do not have access to safe drinking water. Many women and children will carry 40 gallon water jugs on their backs for hours every day, as the role of water collection falls to them. Many will head to muddy rivers, to bring needed water along with bacteria and disease. Now can you picture what a well in the backyard would mean! For children time for school, better hygiene and less disease, smiles…
In looking at the industry of delivering water, especially to Africa, I found two (2) great nonprofits: charitywater.org and thewaterproject.org together they have funded about 7,000 well projects in the past 5 years and both are expanding at an exponential rate to deliver more. The key to this success for both has been in a large part social media.
Both feature campaigns like this one from charity water depicting “pure” water for African babies. Both organization have solid and informative websites based on water projects, sharing just about everything they can on individual projects including locations, cost and many picture of the people who are being helped. On both sites when you donate you are immediately linked to a project and share in progress and ultimate success in completion. Each site also has the ability to further engage with personal fundraising pages. Both sites carry complete financial data for every year of operation. They each prominently display links to other social media sites.
One of the most active social media locations for both is Facebook. Charitywater takes the lead with 232,925 likes, while thewaterproject has 11,565. In looking at both organizations charitywater thinks more of themselves as a technology based company and is far more active in linking their social media activities and growing more connections. For example, although both organizations are active on twitter charitywater hosts several accounts including the newest @cwyellowthunder – a new drill rig tweeting its coordinates as it moves to new well drilling locations.
Both organization are also active on YouTube, but again charitywater is more active and to explain why they are more tech is founder Scott Harrison:
Both organization have blogs, but hosting on Feedburner for thewaterproject seems disconnected and may benefit with better linking or a move to the main website when the organization is ready for regular posting. Let’s not forget Flickr too. The bottom line for the two groups, on their fifth birthdays, is that both have benefitted tremendously from the social world with charitywater raising close to $5M and thewaterproject at $1M annually (source: 2010 annual reports) and both continue to grow at exponential rates thanks to being social and fun for a great cause!