Wednesday, October 05, 2016

SparkBizLive - Scott Harrison from Charity: Water

The Shengs have been huge fans of charity: water for a number of years now so when I saw a event here in DC to hear founder Scott Harrison speak, I signed up immediately. The event was hosted by Inc. Magazine and Capital One as part of their SparkBizLive series and was last Monday night. Held at the great Capital View at 400, which overlooks Union Station, it was a perfect DC October evening.

When I got there, I was able to try out the new charity: water virtual reality headset which was cool. Free food and drinks and then Scott was interviewed by Jon Fine, the executive editor for Inc Magazine. Some of my notes:
CW was a digital charity from the start - no mass mailing or paper marketing.
The numbers can't humanize people - need to tell your stories instead. The water problem is too big in numbers for people to get. 'You numb out.'
Never paid for marketing officially.
Stories that share.
The 'giving back' language is not quite the right message.
Giving of your time is not enough. Bad excuse. You must also give money sacrificially. His family of 4 live in a 900 square foot apartment in NYC to live below their means on purpose.
The Well - their fund/account for paying for overhead. Distinct and totally separate from public well projects. 115 currently families fund The Well.
3 year commitment with 6 levels high touch donors treating them like investors, return on their money, get to see people get their children involved with generosity.
What is next if you fix the water problem: Grow the community of generosity for what is next.
Current trend is to have your nonprofit finish a task and put itself out of business. Scott doesn't necessarily buy into that idea.
'Do not be afraid of work that has no end.'
Favorite charities right now: Invisible children although they now have a skeleton crew.
'You offer people the opportunity to make their money greater than who they are'
Institutional givers - 'I have heard it is hell.'
Invited himself to speak to Twitter's staff when they were only 20 people. Getting speaking engagements can help your org at the beginning but you have to tell the stories.
I also hung out with Erika, wife of long time friend Joshua and some of her friends in the social entrepreneurship world. Erika runs Pulchritude, Sarah runs Kicheko Goods and Meagan runs Ethic Goods.

Most profound moment of the night: During the Q&A, a lady spoke about her starting a nonprofit for the water crisis in a country in Africa and her coming to the end of funding and having to raise more money or shut it down. Scott said, "Email me tonight and I'll make a donation." Jon Fine then added, "Yes email me and I'll donate too."

Thanks charity: water for continuing to always inspire all of us.

No comments:

Post a Comment