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About Us

Our aim is to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet.

Who We Are

charity: water is a nonprofit organization based in New York. We’re devoted to addressing the need for safe drinking water in developing countries. We do this by:

  1. Raising awareness of the lack of safe drinking water worldwide
  2. Raising funds from individuals, families, community groups and companies to increase access to safe drinking water in developing countries
  3. Reporting back to individual donors and fundraisers on exactly how their funds were used

We’re committed to sustainable, impactful programming on the ground. In order to achieve this, we invest in comprehensive water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions with excellent partner organizations.

About Our Partnerships

We do not directly implement WASH programs, so our work would be impossible without great implementing partners. We work with large INGOs with a global presence, as well as with local NGOs based wholly in a single country of operation.

We fund programs that:

  • Focus on long-term development, not emergency response
  • Provide safe water primarily for drinking purposes

We view partners as a direct extension of our organization, which makes them critically important to our work on a daily basis. In order to maximize our shared effort, we work together closely to ensure strategic and operational alignment at all phases of implementation.

Like other donor organizations, charity: water has contractual proposal and reporting requirements. However, outside of these formal requirements, we foster open partnerships in which both charity: water and our partners can check in frequently and informally. No question from a partner is too small for us to respond to, and we seek out partners that share this open approach to working together.

How We Operate

Partnering with charity: water is a bit different from working with institutional donors, traditional foundations, or corporations. We want you to know about us so that you can better understand what drives our operations, how we review proposals, and why we have certain timelines and reporting requirements.

Getting the Word Out

From our beginning in 2006, we’ve embraced creative and innovative ways to tell people about the lack of safe drinking water worldwide. By connecting people to our work and brand, we’ve been able to create a huge network of supporters.

We’ve found that sharing messages and stories online works best. We use social media and a user-friendly website to explain our work and the impact we can have. We were the first nonprofit organization to have over one million followers on Twitter, and our staff frequently shares photos of the water points we’ve funded on widely-used applications such as Instagram.

We believe that simple storytelling can inspire people to support our mission. We generate web content, including videos, that shows how “water changes everything” for people who haven’t previously had safe access. This allows us to target a new demographic of donors, some who haven’t previously been involved with international development or who haven’t been aware of the need for safe drinking water worldwide.

Raising Funds

charity: water takes a “crowdsourcing” approach to funding most programs, meaning that we aggregate contributions from a large group of people. We believe that individual contributions, no matter how small or large, are important, and we know that when many people come together to fund a program, the impact is much greater.

In order to raise funds, we encourage supporters to reach out to their personal networks on our unique fundraising platform called mycharitywater.

People who don’t start fundraising campaigns are also able to donate on our website. Since we fund our operations costs from a unique group of donors called The Well, we guarantee that 100% of money donated for water points can go to the country of implementation.

Every half, we take the donations we’ve raised and use them to fund a pre-determined group of proposals. Aggregating many micro-donations in this way means that there can be thousands of donors and unique donations in every grant we make. Matching projected fundraising to our planned grants is no easy task, so we ensure that our fundraising team is raising funds specifically for all planned water points.

Reporting Back

In keeping with our mission to transparently show our donors their direct impact, we ensure that every single donor knows exactly where their funds were used. We map every water point funded on our website, and we show our donors photos of the communities they have helped. We also report back to online donors on the specific project they funded via a specialized platform called Dollars to Projects, or D2P. We promise our donors that the water points they sponsor will be complete and in use by daily water users 18 months from the end of the quarter in which they donate.

Our Team

Many of charity: water’s staff are devoted to fundraising, generating creative content for the web, and improving donor experience. The rest of the staff are in two departments that are completely focused on our implementing partners and their programs in the field. These teams are “Water Programs” and “Program Finance.”

Our organization is set up to effectively engage with donors. We’re a lot less bureaucratic than most development-focused organizations and have a fairly flat structure.

Who You’ll be Working With

For each of our implementing partners, we assign a single Water Programs Manager, who manages the overall relationship and serves as the key decision maker from charity: water. However, our partners also interact with several members of the Water Programs and Program Finance teams, depending on their specific needs.

The Water Programs team at charity: water is responsible for planning and monitoring our portfolio of partnerships and programs on the ground. Water Programs Managers are part of this team. They work closely with charity: water’s internal fundraising team to invest our donors’ funds in excellent programs and to report back clearly and transparently.

The Program Finance team at charity: water ensures that all funds raised are allocated and spent correctly. This team reviews budgets and expenditures at proposal, first quarter, midterm, third quarter, and completion (13 month) stages. They also conduct fiduciary reviews and internal audits and facilitate external audits.