by Ali Berman
Categories: Causes, People
Tags: .
Photo: jenny downing

Scott Harrison, the founder of charity: water, has inspired a new sort of model for giving. One that doesn’t involve a direct appeal to donors, but instead, is driven by one person inspiring their network to get involved with the cause.

Charity: water is working the common angles like asking people to forgo gifts and instead ask friends to donate cash for their birthday, a method of fundraising everyone from actors to politicians have been using to bulk up the war chests of their favorite organizations. They are also leading the way with innovative ideas like their new campaign Water Forward.

How does it work? Instead of donating $10 of your money to an organization and stopping there, Water Forward asks you to donate in someone else’s name. That name is then added to a public book. Since a name can only appear one time, those who want to thank their friend by donating to the cause have to pay it forward to someone brand new, thus unleashing a chain reaction of pure philanthropic perfection. One domino falls and potentially tens, hundreds or thousands follow.

Currently, 8,282 names are in the book which means $82,820 has been donated. Harrison said about the campaign, “It doesn’t start with an ask, it starts with a give. We don’t use our social media to ever ask for money.”

Already, a person’s sense of altruism is switched on when they receive notification that a friend has donated in their name. It makes sense that this feeling would inspire them to name one of their friends. One thing is for sure. In this time of economic troubles when non profits are hurting, every penny counts.

We’ll leave you with a thought from the Water Forward website: “Soon, there will be a billion people in the world using social media. What if the billion with clean water could help the billion without?”

Via Fast Company

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at aliberman.com. In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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