1 out of every 9 people, nearly 800 million people worldwide, live without potable water. charity: water  is devoted to bringing clean, safe drinking water to developing nations and ending the gap in water access.

charity: water proves that nonprofits can make a giant impact with limited resources and the help of Google tools. Starting with a GPS device, a video camera and the Google for Nonprofits tools suite, charity: water has stretched their impact: increasing site traffic over 350%, exceeding fundraising goals, gathering celebrity support from people like Justin Bieber and using this success to complete almost 7,000 clean water projects in impoverished communities around the world. 

Photo from charity:water
How do they do it? charity: water engages their supporters by infusing meaning, demonstrating efficiency and showing rather than telling. When donors make a contribution, whether $5 or $5,000, they’re sent a set of GPS coordinates and photos on Google Maps. Donors can easily click to see the difference they are making (tour of all their current projects here).
Their site explains how the idea got its start: “We walked into an electronics store and bought a handheld GPS device for $100. We took it to Uganda, went to each project and plotted six points on Google Maps™. Then we made the information public on our website along with the photos for everyone to see. We’ve been doing that ever since.”
charity: water also has a creative approach to fundraising, including the introduction of the birthday pledge which has attracted celebrity sponsors like Justin Bieber.
Since they started using Google tools 2 years again, charity: water has been able to raise over $15 million through its fundraising site. The September Campaign alone exceeded its $2.4 million goal by $280,000, covering the purchase and shipment of two large drilling rigs and building multiple water projects. “In one year alone, Google for Nonprofits and our overall digital marketing strategy helped us realize a 350% increase in site traffic, a 300% increase in total number of visitors, and a 333% increase in video views,” says Paull Young, director of digital engagement, charity: water.
charity: water is not done yet; their impact keeps expanding. This month they received a Global Impact Award from Google, which is designed to support organizations using technology and innovative solutions to make the world a better place. They’ll use their $5 million dollar award to develop remote sensors technology that will allow them to know whether water is flowing at any of their projects, at any time, anywhere in the world. This is the next step in transparency and data-driven solutions for the entire water sector.
Want to learn more about charity: water or other groups in Google for Nonprofits? Check out this full case study and others on the Google for Nonprofits site here. If you’re interested in sharing your story, tell us here and, of course, share it with us on our Google+ page using #OurImpact in your post.
Posted by Jes Marquardt, Google for Nonprofits team