The business model of Charity:Water is also exemplary. They call it the 100% model; 100% of what they raise from public donations goes directly to water well projects. There are few non-profits with the kind of charismatic leader who can raise all the funds necessary to run the charity. The Clinton Global Initiative is one other that I know of and it makes the point about a well-placed leader. In recent years Charity:Water has been using GPS to locate projects on Google maps and to provide proof of successful completion to donors. Overall, it is a model of how to run a charitable organization in the Internet age. One thing you quickly notice is that they encourage supporters to raise money for them and that’s where a lot of social media comes in.
This is why we featured them as an Internet marketing “best practices” case study in the first chapter of the Internet marketing text. The organization has lessons, not just for other non-profits, but also for commercial organizations that wish to remain close to their customers.
charitable grants program to fund organizations that are using technology in innovative ways. It’s first 7 grants are fascinating—from DNA barcoding of endangered species to educational programs for under-represented students and for math and science education. All have a major technology component.
Matt Bannick, managing partner of the (Pierre) Omidyar Network says this represents a new approach to philanthropy. He describes the new approach:
“Seeking out ideas to fund, rather than existing projects, turns traditional notions of philanthropy on its head,” Bannick said.
“Rather than looking for organizations that could do this specific work that we’re hoping to get accomplished, let’s look for fabulous entrepreneurs … that have a new and innovative idea that we can get behind,” he said.
These are two developments to follow with interest. Charity:Water continues to innovate in ways that bond with its donors. Entrepreneurial high tech firms like Google are looking for ways to use technology for social good. The approach of taking a risk by funding innovative uses of technology by leading-edge non-profits is the idea behind “venture technology.” Will we see more—and even more effective—ways to use technology in the future? Hopefully we will!