Our Process

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about partnering with charity: water.

Program Vetting

Identifying Potential Partners: charity: water identifies partnership leads from a variety of sources. However, we do not accept unsolicited requests. Organizations that believe they would be a good partner for charity: water can contact us at info@charitywater.org.

Desk Review and Interviews: charity: water conducts initial vetting through email conversations and/or video calls. These conversations focus on programmatic, financial, and administrative quality, as well as charity: water specific interests.

Field Visit: If an organization meets initial charity: water vetting requirements, a visit of the program will be conducted by one or more charity: water team members. The goal of the vetting visit is to learn more about the potential partner organization and its WASH program. Following the vetting visit, we may request additional information to clarify or follow up on items from the trip before making a decision to pursue a partnership.

Decision: The decision to move forward into the proposal negotiation phase is made by the charity: water team based on the findings of the initial vetting interview and visit. charity: water has two funding cycles per year and availability of funds varies. Because of this, there may be a lag between any stage of the vetting process and a final decision to move forward with a proposal. An organization seeking clarification around their status in the vetting process should reach out to their assigned charity: water point of contact.

At any stage in the vetting process, activities from charity: water may terminate if there is no longer a need for new partnerships.

Proposal Negotiation

Request for Proposal: charity: water follows a closed Request for Proposal (RFP) process, soliciting proposals only from vetted partner organizations. The RFP will specify the funding envelope, program start date, and any additional restrictions or requirements for funding. charity: water grants are 13-months long and typically start in February and August. RFPs are sent to eligible partners 6-10 months prior to these start dates.

Proposal Development: Each proposal to charity: water consists of three documents: 1) a profile of the overall country program, 2) a narrative summary of the programmatic details for the grant being proposed, and 3) a budget, work plan, and detailed list of proposed outputs.

Once a proposal is submitted, the Water Programs and Program Finance teams at charity: water conduct a thorough review. Partners should expect multiple cycles of revision as we refine the proposal. Consistent with our pre-proposal vetting process, we evaluate proposals based on financial, operational and programmatic criteria.

charity: water fundraises for the proposed program during a six-month period prior to the program start date, while proposal development occurs simultaneously with this fundraising. Typically, fundraising and proposal development take place January through June (for grants starting in August) and July through December (for grants starting in February).

Decision: At the close of the fundraising cycle, we sign a Grant Agreement with each partner that includes intended results, disbursement schedule for funds, and reporting requirements. Grant Agreements can only be signed after the fundraising half has closed (typically in January or July). Because of this, there may be a lag between proposal approval and signing the final Grant Agreement. Once a proposal is approved, it moves into the active grant phase.

Reporting Requirements

charity: water grants typically have a maximum length of 13 months, which includes 12 months of program implementation and one month for completion reporting.

charity: water requires quarterly reporting in budget and narrative format to monitor program progress and evaluate any proposed modifications. At completion, we require information for donors who supported the program, including photos and GPS coordinates.

For details on charity: water’s reporting requirements, including templates and guidance, see our Policies & Templates page.

Program and Finance Field Visits

charity: water believes that a strong connection to the field is important for us to manage programs in a responsible way. Sharing information from the field can also help our donors and supporters better understand the work that we do. As a result, we monitor charity: water-funded programs regularly.

Field visits may include visits to charity: water-funded water points to verify the quality of implemented work, discussions on program strategy and plans for future investments, evaluation of financial systems and processes, and onboarding of partners to charity: water requirements.

The purpose of each field visit determines who will attend. Typical trips include members of charity: water’s Water Programs and/or Program Finance team.

The frequency of charity: water field visits varies by partner and program. At minimum, we try to visit programs once every two years. However, many programs will be visited annually, and some programs will receive multiple visits in a year, dependant on the size of charity: water’s investment in the program and other ongoing partnership initiatives.

Technical and Financial Audits

In addition to the programmatic and fiduciary review process conducted by our Water Programs and Program Finance teams, charity: water engages independent audit services to conduct financial and technical assessments of the programs we fund.

  • Financial audits are conducted to ensure our partners meet all financial obligations and are good stewards of charity: water’s funds. The external audit reviews our partner’s compliance to their own operational, financial and reporting policies to ensure they adhere to their contractual obligations with charity: water.

  • Technical audits are conducted to ensure our partners are implementing high quality WASH programs. Technical audits assess project planning, design and construction, software components, water quality and treatment approaches, and overall project and program sustainability.

Partners become eligible for financial and technical assessments after three years of partnership, though the exact timing of these audits will vary by partner. Afterwards, financial audits will be conducted every 3-5 years. Technical audits, however, are initiated on a more ad hoc basis, to answer specific technical questions about the program or in response to programmatic challenges identified during monitoring visits or the MAP framework.

Results of these audits and the partner’s planned response to audit findings will inform future RFPs and multi-year plans.

PPIA and Pipeline

charity: water defines sustainability as when something continues to work over time, and the way we fund sustainability activities within our work is called Pipeline. This funding is a way for our partners to address any issues identified through program monitoring - primarily focusing on maintaining sustainable water access.

Pipeline funding can be utilized in two ways:

  • Provided as PPIA (Pre and Post Implementation Activities) funding within a water grant. PPIA activities can include planning, monitoring and other key investments required before or after the main implementation period. This can include work like government and stakeholder coordination, feasibility studies, and minor corrective infrastructure work.
  • As a stand alone pipeline grant. For larger-scale sustainability programs, charity: water sometimes issues separate Pipeline-only grants. An example is a circuit rider maintenance program that repairs water points in an area.

Pipeline activities are prioritized in the following way:

  • Water Access Comes First: Pipeline can be used to fund activities related to all components of WASH, but sustaining existing water access is charity: water’s top priority.
  • We Value Past Work as Much as Future: Pipeline should address issues from past charity: water funded work, while also supporting initiatives that will improve future program quality.
  • Responsive to Monitoring Data: Pipeline can be used to target programming issues identified by MAP data collection or monitoring visits.

Partners are eligible for PPIA funding starting in the second grant with charity: water. PPIA activities are incorporated into the proposal for review and approval.

Partners are eligible to propose stand alone Pipeline initiatives starting in the third year of partnership. This will require a separate Pipeline grant with it’s own proposal and reporting cycle. For details on charity: water’s Pipeline reporting requirements, including templates and guidance, see our Policies & Templates page.

MAP Framework

charity: water monitors all funded work through our monitoring and evaluation framework – called the MAP Framework. Under MAP, we ask partners to collect data across a wide range of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) indicators in line with sector standards.

There are two distinct data collection types that comprise the charity: water MAP Framework:

  • Annual Check-in: A household survey at the baseline and endline of a charity: water grant. This occurs for most grants.
  • Post-Implementation Monitoring (PIM): A comprehensive assessment of past charity: water funded work. This occurs once every four years, beginning in a partner’s fifth grant. Data is collected from a representative sample of past projects to monitor sustainability.

This is the full MAP data collection schedule:

MAP Schedule

The sequence of PIM every four years, with Annual Check-ins in between, continues on. charity: water aims to conduct PIM data collections on projects up to 10 years after implementation.

charity: water will train the relevant partner staff when they conduct the PIM data collection.

charity: water aims to discuss results with partners and incorporate action plans in subsequent grants. These action plans can also inform future RFPs and multi-year plans.

Multi-Year Planning

charity: water grants annually but will work with partners to develop multi-year plans. The purpose of the multi-year plan is to understand longer term partnership goals for planning and coordination purposes, streamline future proposal reviews, and strengthen programs with a multi-year approach.

Multi-year plans are typically discussed during the first year of partnership, beginning with a high-level partnership forecast at the proposal stage and followed by more detailed planning exercises ahead of the third grant RFP. Once completed, the multi-year planning worksheet will be revisited and updated regularly.

Please note: The multi-year planning worksheet is a planning tool, not a commitment to multi-year funding. Our fundraising model prohibits us from making multi-year grants given that we fundraise each year.

Donor and Creative Visits

In addition to program monitoring visits, charity: water may also request that partners assist with donor and creative trips.

Donor trips are designed to show our biggest supporters the impact of their funding and the work our partners are doing firsthand. We typically reserve donor trips for a small number of major donors each year. Our Creative team also travels to the field to capture stories and content about the programs and projects we fund to inspire support for our major campaigns and events. Both are powerful fundraising tools as charity: water continues to engage our community of supporters. We’ll ask you to host our team during these visits.

Partners become eligible for a visit from charity: water donors or our Creative team after water projects have been completed, usually after one year of partnership. For each country program, charity: water tries to limit donor and creative travel to one trip within a 12-month period, though we may request more frequent visits of high visibility programs, or those we’ve selected to highlight for major campaigns and events.

Eligibility to host charity: water donors or our Creative team does not necessarily mean partners will be asked to host yearly. Additionally, partners may be asked to host both a donor visit as well as our Creative team within a 12-month period.


charity: water has developed remote monitoring sensors for select hand pump types and piped system taps as part of our efforts to guarantee the sustainability of water projects. Although we’ve deployed thousands of sensors around the world, our sensors program is still in the pilot and development phase, and is currently only tested within a few charity: water-funded programs. To learn more about the sensor program, visit our sensor website: https://www.charitywater.org/projects/sensors

5-Year Timeline

This is an example of what to expect from partnership with charity: water over a 5-year timeframe: 2021 - 5-Year Timeline_revised Feb2021