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Social Marketing Strategies from Nonprofit Charity: Water

March 21, 2012
at 9:00 pm PST

March 22nd is World Water Day, and water focused nonprofits around the world will bring to your attention that nearly one billion people on our planet still live without access to life’s most basic need: clean, safe drinking water.

These organizations need to capture your attention, access your network, and earn your dollars. Cisco supports many nonprofits with the shared mission of clean water (learn more here), but one specific organization caught my eye today, charity: water.

charity: water has been transforming the world of nonprofit marketing through their dedicated focus to digital and social media marketing. Whether that’s through MyCharityWater.org where you create a profile, start and manage a fundraising campaign and activate your network through Facebook, Twitter, and email. Or through WaterForward.org where individuals activate their social networks by paying it forward. WaterForward takes the individual’s control and puts it in the hands of their friends and their network, incentivizing the social sharing many marketers dream of. Watch this video to learn more about WaterForward, and check out Cisco CTO, Padmasree Warrior’s book.

As you can see by these two examples, charity: water’s unique strategies focus on the activating individuals and asking them to engage their network, because they know, like many marketers do, that the whole of a person’s network is greater than the sum of it’s parts. More digital and social marketers should take notice of the work charity: water is doing to activate more than just the individual, but rather their entire network.

Today, charity: water launches its birthday campaign.

Why birthdays? Because charity: water was started in 2006 with a birthday party. Since then, they’ve moved thousands of people to ‘give up’ their birthdays and ask for donations of their age in dollars instead of gifts. (28-year-olds ask for $28, 12-year-olds, for $12.) charity: water uses 100% of this money to directly fund water projects, proving every completed project with photos and GPS coordinates in Google Maps.

Just $20 can give one person access to clean drinking water. $5000 can fund an entire water solution for a village in need. If you can raise $5,000 or more, charity: water will attach a plaque with your name on it to the water project.

In honor of World Water Day, visit www.mycharitywater.org/birthdays today and learn how the power of birthdays can change the world.

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