The 100% Model

When charity: water began, we made a bold promise: 100% of public donations would go directly to fund clean water projects. We’d even pay back credit card fees, meaning if a donor gave $100 with a credit card and we got only $97, we’d make up the $3 and send the full $100 to provide clean water for people in need. Since we treat the clean water projects and operations sides of our business differently - separate purposes, separate fundraising goals, and separate bank accounts, we can guarantee that every public dollar donated helps bring clean water to people in need. And so far, more than 1 million people from 100+ countries have given in this way. See our 100% Model Statement.

So, how do we pay our operating expenses?

From day one, we’ve relied on a small group of generous private donors to fund all of our operating expenses. It’s not always easy, but it’s an approach we believe in deeply. And year after year, our commitment to transparency inspires support from passionate donors, enthusiastic fundraisers, long-standing brand partners, and loyal volunteers who believe—like we do—that clean water truly changes everything.

The 100% Model is powered by a small and dedicated group of private donors, known as The Well.

These entrepreneurs, artists, musicians and business leaders fund our operating costs - costs that include office rent, staff salaries and benefits, flights, and even the toner for our copy machine. By committing multi-year support for operations funding, Well Members allow us to plan for the future, creating efficiency and stability. And Members of The Well provide more than just financial support—they're also some of our most loyal teammates, our most visionary partners, and our most outspoken champions.

Like any startup, we need visionary investors who believe in and support our business model, so we can stay focused on what matters most: solving the water crisis. Since we can't offer stock options or the promise of a big buyout to our generous investors, our Well Members' ROI is measured in the number of people whose lives are transformed by clean drinking water. That's now 18.6 million people and counting, thanks to their support of our work.

Angel Investors: Michael & Xochi Birch

Angel Investors and entrepreneurs, Michael and Xochi Birch joined our mission in 2008, just two years into charity: water’s existence. They became the first family to donate a one-time gift of $1 million to support operations, at a critical time in the organization’s growth. Their radical generosity allowed us to focus on building an innovative and inspiring brand that would one day reinvent charity for millions. The Birches even invested in charity: water’s technology, helping us build out our first online fundraising platform.

The Birch family has continued to invest in our infrastructure and work in the field year after year, and they remain the largest single contributors to our work. They’ve also traveled as a family with charity: water in more than 10 countries to see the completed work in person.

A first-of-its-kind giving experience

The Pool is a community of business leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs who donate a portion of their private holdings to support our operations and provide a unique employee benefit. This giving community is the first-ever program to incentivize and reward nonprofit employees through equity, and the newest way to power our 100% model so that all public donations can go directly to providing clean water for people in need.

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Brand Partnerships

Beyond The Well, a select group of companies and foundations have chosen to support our staff salaries and operations through corporate gifts, percentage of sales, and campaigns tailored to each business' market and brand.

Investment Earnings

We utilize industry best practices in managing investment assets to bring clean water to the most people. Operating funds and committed donor funds awaiting deployment are invested safely in capital markets with a goal to grow assets. This multiplies the impact charity: water and its donors have on the water crisis over time.

Gifts in Kind

From technologies to office furniture, much of what we have is donated by generous companies. We're deeply grateful to those who provide equipment and services to help us get the job done with quality and style.

Frequently asked questions

Is the 100% Model independently verified? 

What happens if charity: water earns investment income on donations before funds are deployed on a water project?

How does charity water use operating funds?

Where can I get information on charity: water financials?



Contact our Supporter Experience Team.