I have great admiration for and a great mancrush on charity: water (if one can “crush” on a charity… and I submit that you can). Their latest September Campaign is yet another example of their awesomeness in doing a lot of things right. In my work now with Charity Express, a digital agency helping small and medium sized nonprofits tell stories and raise funds online, I’m always wanting to learn from others and charity: water continues to be a great resource for me and us. The following is from an internal email I sent to our team describing 6 things we can learn from their September Campaign and they are 6 things I think you can learn from it too (I’ve added a few notes to the email in italics for the purposes of this blog).

6 Things We Can Learn From The September Campaign From charity: water

  1. 4 “Start a Campaign”. They have the “long page” style which is neat but you can’t go very far on the page without having the ability to start a campaign.
    • Key Point: if you know what the main thing is that you want people to do, make it clear, make it easy and make it available over and over
  2. Quantifying Fundraising Goal Numbers. Not rocket science and really up to our client to get the information for us but saying what the $1,000 raised can/will do is huge in keeping things clean and simple.
    • Key Point: having anchored fundraising goals helps the user from a user experience and having those anchors be tied to the impact helps the user from an emotional experience stand point.
  3. Social Display. Peer Giving sites (most of our clients us the Peer Giving Solutions platform) do this (not quite as visually as charity: water does) but showing things like the collective goal, others who are doing it and how far along they are helps people feel like they are part of something bigger and not just the only ones doing this in a vacuum.
    • Key Point: connecting fundraisers to the organization is great but drawing the lines to other fundraisers helps give confidence, inspiration and a sense of community
  4. Incentives. The anchored fundraising goals also provide additional investment to the fundraiser as the amount raised goes up (get named on the community map, get a video of your project from the field). These incentives tie into motivation and sales principles like ego, publicity and scarcity but not in a cheesy way (stamps, coffee mugs, etc.).
    • Key Point: they aren’t getting people to take action with incentives, they are getting people to take more action with incentives which is a key distinction but also something we need to keep thinking about, “how can we provide more incentive for people to take this action”
  5. Static/Dynamic. Their campaign page is relatively static in that they have the case for support in videos and some stories there but the majority of the dynamic content gets delivered through email, blog posts, social media, etc. and the page only changes in simple ways.
    • Key Point: use the tools that are most agile (email, social media) to provide the most agile content (stories that evolve, new updates, etc.) and leave the less agile channels to take care of the less agile content
  6. Tools for Fundraisers. Some great pictures, fact sheet and 3 page summary in addition to some Facebook timeline covers are relatively easy to develop and get in the hands of fundraisers so they know what the campaign is all about and feel more connected.
    • Key Point: I (we) need to work with clients to flush out why the campaign is needed and what they want people to do and then we can determine what tools those getting involved might need.

Those were just a few things. Obviously they don’t have some of the limitations that we do (financial, it is their work whereas we are just an agency for our clients, their skill/talent in web design to name a few) but the principles they employ we can definitely learn from. I want Charity Express to be unique and have our own way of doing things but learning from charity: water is huge as we look to do more campaigns and mini-campaigns in the future.

Interested in any other thoughts (I am interested in any other thoughts).