campaign: Students for Clean Water
raising the money: University of Texas students + Google
raised in last campaign: $10,211
raised so far in this campaign: $4,321 + $40,000 from Google
goal amount: $20,000
First, tell us how Students for Clean Water was born.
Students for Clean Water became a campus organization at the University of Texas at Austin in September. In high school, I got a chance to travel to Africa and I saw what life was like for people who had no access to clean water. It broke my heart. During my senior year, a group of my friends and I started an organization called Hope for Africa and we raised money for a different clean water organization that drills wells in Sudan. It was an incredible experience. During that same year, I got the chance to visit the charity: water offices in New York. I instantly fell in love with how you’re approaching the water crisis.
I wanted to bring my high school club experience to my college campus, so this year, I started Students for Clean Water. We have an incredible team of people that’s furious about the global water crisis and sees the vast amount of tangible hope that we, as a college campus, can collectively offer. The group has spent the year raising money for charity: water. We love the model of charity: water and the mycharity: water platform makes fundraising a streamlined, accessible and effective process.
Your first campaign was wildly successful… you raised $10,000! How did you do that all in one semester?
We put on a few big events like a pancake party and a benefit concert. Some members who had birthdays gave them to charity: water. People used their passions to make a difference; for instance, my friend Natasha, who is now officially the Head Chef of the organization, loves to bake. Every week last semester, she held bake sales on campus. She raised a ton of money and showed the world that we can use the things we love to do to create substantial positive change in the lives of others.
Did you learn anything from your first campaign that you’re now doing differently in this one?
We have always valued a grassroots approach to activism, but we learned that we needed more structure to the organization and more strategy to our campaign.
This semester we created official leadership positions in the organization and gave more thought to how we wanted to approach our fundraising strategy.
So where did Google come in?
My roommate’s sister works on the marketing team for their new service called Google Hotpot [a geolocation app]. She and the Hotpot team wanted to partner with us to provide clean water while simultaneously marketing their new service to Austin. We couldn’t have been more thrilled to work with them.
Explain Google Hotpot for those who don’t know.
Hotpot is Google’s new way to help people find places they’re going to love. You basically rate a bunch of spots on Hotpot like restaurants, bars, hotels, etc., and then the next time you search on Google, you’ll get personalized search results based on your tastes. Google pledged that for every rating a student gave on Google Hotpot until March 10, they’d donate $1 to our charity: water campaign (up to $40,000). In order for these ratings to count towards our campaign, students had to register through our website.
In all, we gathered more than 1,100 people to give over 47,000 ratings on Google Hotpot — meaning that Google will fulfill their pledge and donate $40,000 to our charity: water campaign! On the last day of the campaign (Thursday, March 10) we had a party to celebrate. It was incredible.
Several times I had to pinch myself as I stood on the sidelines watching the culmination of this remarkable two weeks; I felt like I was living a dream. There were tears, laughter and shouts of joy!
The most rewarding thing about Students for Clean Water has been experiencing the powerful difference that a group of passionate people can make. Our organization is filled to the brim with incredible students from diverse backgrounds uniting around a single cause: to give developing countries clean water. It’s so beautiful to see the joy on the faces of those who work to raise money to provide clean water to people they will probably never meet. It’s even more beautiful to imagine joy on the faces of the people who will get to drink clean water because of our efforts.
Will the group carry on after you graduate?
Definitely! We have a team of incredible people who are working tirelessly to make sure people get clean water to drink, and that will continue to be true when I leave UT in December. We’ve loved raising money for charity: water this year, so I predict that we will keep on going!