Charity marketing

The 2011 September Campaign. Our 5-year-anniversary video from charity: water on Vimeo.

Last year, before I left for Peace Corps Round 2, I had the opportunity to hear Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity Water, at Big Omaha. I actually didn’t really want to go to the event because I found out earlier that week that I was going to Niger and wanted to focus more on that, but, eventually, I was talked into it. I am glad that I did go because I ended up writing a great piece about the Midwest’s voice in the evolving tech world and I heard Scott speak. Actually, you can see his presentation here.

Today, Charity Water launched the above video for its new campaign. Charity Water is becoming more of a recognized charity and has some pretty incredible donor stories. But, Charity Water is not better than any other charity out there. Having seen this problem first hand, clean water is a devastating issue, but so is hunger and the treatment of women. The difference, though, between Charity Water and most non-profits is look. Charity Water’s look IS better than almost all other do-good organizations.

Take for example Unicef. That organization does amazing things in the third world and it impact so many people each day. But take a look at its outward design. Now Charity Water’s. Who are you going to give your money to?

This is relevant to me in a couple of ways. I used to work in marketing for a non-profit and I see that as a viable option for a career post-Peace Corps. Also, with my Peace Corps work. A volunteer friend in Niger told me that often times our projects in the Peace Corps are overlooked because we don’t spend enough time marketing them. We don’t market them to our villages or our communities back in the U.S. If we did more of that, they could potentially be more successful. If every Peace Corps’ volunteer had an artistically pleasing videos and clean websites with helvetica font, you’ld think the world was saved.

As I gear up for Round 2, I am thinking about projects that I would like to do in Lesotho that I didn’t get the chance to launch in Niger: a girl’s empowerment camp or a journalism club. I am already planning ways to better document my service, create a brand for my service. This blog is a good start, also the bit of foresight my second service will have that my first didn’t.

My Peace Corps goal is to help people, but I am also a story teller. I want people to understand my experiences. Charity Water does a great job of that, although their work is no more important than any other group. You just think it is.

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