Need To Know

We're different from most funders. Here are 8 things to know about our work.


charity: water’s monitoring and evaluation framework – called the MAP Framework – is used to collect data across a range of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) indicators.

This data collection will help us and our partners understand the impact of funded projects, maximize effectiveness by understanding strengths and weaknesses, and guide priorities for future funding.

The MAP Framework consists of two types of data collection:

  • Annual Check-in: a household survey at the baseline and endline of a charity: water grant. This occurs for most grants.
  • Post-Implementation Monitoring: a comprehensive assessment of past charity: water funded work, done every few years.

Daily Water Users

We measure our achievement based on the number of daily users at the water points we’ve funded, and we measure this in a specific way.

We measure our total impact each year by the total number of people we’re serving across all of our programs. As soon as we send donors’ funds to a program, we set an expectation with them for how many estimated people their donation will help serve. Once all water points are implemented, we share information on the total number of daily water users at each water point. In order to set realistic expectations for how many people will be served, we require accurate information on the number of daily water users at the beginning and end of a grant.

To us, the term “daily water users” means the average number of people using water from a specific water point on a daily basis. This includes all people who draw water on a daily basis, as well as anyone for whom they draw water (such as other members of the household).

Daily water users does not mean:

  • The total number of people who might use the water point on a daily basis but may not, such as the total number of people in a single community or a health clinic catchment area
  • The total number of unique visitors to a single water point in a year
  • The national or international standard for number of users per water point, unless this is an accurate reflection of actual daily users

We ask for information on daily water users at the following stages:

  • Proposal, at which point we ask for realistic estimates for the number of daily water users to be served by each water point
  • Six months, at which point we ask whether you expect a significant change in the number of proposed daily water users
  • 13 months, at which point we require actual daily water user totals for each water point

Since we ask our partners to estimate the total number of daily water users at proposal stage, we know that figures will not be exactly correct from the beginning. We also know that actual daily water users will change on a regular basis due to weather, migration, births, deaths, or other reasons. However, we ask that you provide the most accurate information available at each stage. This will enable us to manage expectations for our donors and measure ourselves correctly.

In-Country Activities Only

We do not fund any activities outside the country of implementation.

When we started charity: water, we promised that 100% of donations would directly fund water programs. We call this our 100% Model. To ensure that our supporter donations go directly to the country of implementation, we depend on private donors, foundations, and sponsors to cover overhead costs.

Our 100% model means that our partners cannot budget for and we cannot fund any partner expenses that are incurred outside the country of program implementation. This includes any costs for activities conducted by a partner’s out-of-country headquarters, such as international flights to the field or costs related to oversight by headquarters located outside the country of implementation.

However, within the partner’s country of implementation, we can fund indirect or program support costs incurred at regional and national offices. Sanitation and hygiene activities that support the impact of water points funded are also allowable, as are costs such as water quality monitoring and mobilization.

No Religious Activities

We cannot fund religious activities or promote any religion in our work.

We are glad to work with both religious and non-religious organizations that do great work in WASH. However, we cannot support any religious activities on the ground. We can only support work that specifically provides water, sanitation, or hygiene to communities in need.

Targeted Fundraising

We fundraise specifically for our partners’ programs.

charity: water works with our partners to develop project proposals, and we fundraise for those specific projects throughout the year. This means that the information our partners provide in their proposals should be detailed and thorough enough to allow us to explain their programs to prospective donors. It also means that the number of water point outputs our partners propose must be realistic so that they can all be completed and reported on within the 13 month grant period.

Our Grant Timelines

Grants have a maximum length of 13 months, from when the grant agreement is signed to when the completion report is submitted to charity: water.

We promise our donors that they will receive a completion report no later than 18 months after the closure of the fiscal quarter in which they donated. This helps our donors understand the specific impact that they made, and it helps us fundraise more effectively. Here’s an overview of the timing:

grant timeline

This timeline means that our partners have only 13 months to implement and report on programs. We cannot stress this enough. Because of this, we plan very carefully with our partners to make sure that charity: water’s funding can be utilized immediately and according to approved timelines. All of this means that partners must start program implementation on the approved start date and complete water points on time. No-Cost Extension requests are strongly discouraged, as they impair our ability to fulfill our promises to our donors and report back to them in a timely manner.

Our Definition of Complete

“Complete” means that:

  • All grant funds are spent
  • The proposed water points have been implemented, are functional, and are providing safe water
  • A final report on the above has been submitted to charity: water by the end of the 13 month grant period, as well as reviewed and officially approved thereafter

If, during the implementation of the program, the program is under-spending against budget, notify us as soon as possible, and we will work together to adjust the plan. Generally, we do not want the money back, but if there are any unspent grant funds that cannot be allocated to additional water points within 12 months, we ask that they be returned to charity: water. See the grant refund section of Budget and Expenditures Guidance and Policies for more information.

Proving It to Our Supporters

With our partners’ help, we map all water points on our website. We use that information to report back to individual donors. Our partners provide us with photos of beneficiaries gathering water from the new water points. We share these publicly on our website and with individual donors.

charity: water publishes photos and information about each completed water point on our website via Google Maps. We also provide project information and photos to all donors who have sponsored each project.

This means that we ask our partners to submit photos and GPS data on each water point completed under each grant. The photos they submit must be of good quality, showing beneficiaries using each water point. Each photo must be clearly labeled so that we can easily identify each water point completed.