Here at Startacus we hardly need to tell you that charities are good. It’s really a given. However we feel it is also fair to say that some charities, entrepreneurially, are better than others. This doesn’t mean that they fund a more worthy source, or are better because the managers earn more money. Rather, how they go about raising and using their money is notable to us as it is, obviously, a variant in normal business practice.
Charity Water is a particularly interesting specimen. They’re a charity that are working towards bringing safe and clean water to people in developing countries. Their goal, according to their website, is to attempt to expand until they reach every single person in the world that is without proper drinkable water.
There are a few things which set them aside from other charities though, and it is these – as well as their fantastic work – that interest us. The team behind Charity Water (a group of Australians, Kenyans and Californians, as well as others) pride themselves on giving demonstrable results from every single pound or dollar donated. 100% of it is sent to ‘The Field’ as it’s known, where their local contractors decide which communities are in the most need.
From there, their partners collect GPS information and take photographs of the progress, as well as record data of what they have done with which money. When the data has all been sent back to Charity Water and been checked, a custom-built algorithm matches the money which donators have sent to the projects they funded. A report of this project is then sent out, detailing the region that benefitted, the money raised for it, field notes on the implementation and other information.
The whole system has a lot of benefits. It gives people a feel-good factor from seeing actual results of where their money has gone; in turn possibly making it more likely they’ll continue to donate. Furthermore outside observers aren’t left wondering if money they’ll potentially donate will just end up in an administrator’s back pocket.
The way in which the team do fund themselves is a final shrewd piece of enterprising. They call it ‘The Well’, and it is intended to support their 100% model of giving every penny raised to projects. The Well is basically a bringing together of like minded businesses people and philanthropists who will donate a set amount a year exclusively to fund operating costs.