How One Charity Is Using Every Penny They Raise to Increase Access to Clean Water

What are some of the best things charity: water has done in the last ten years? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Scott Harrison, CEO & Founder of charity: water, on Quora.

I'm incredibly proud of our ability to maintain our bold 100% model for more than a decade now. When we started, besides wanting to bring clean and safe drinking water to everyone on the planet, we realized that so many people didn't trust charities. In fact, there's data behind this. 42% of Americans distrust charities, and 70% of Americans think charities badly handle money. The perception of charities is even worse in other parts of the world. The main problem people have is just not knowing how much of their money will actually reach the people in need.

So from Day One, we promised to always use 100% of every public donation to directly fund clean water projects, and then prove every single project with photos and GPS coordinates on Google Maps. To do that, we found one hundred and fifteen generous families around the world who didn't mind their money going to pay for overhead. Things like staff salaries, office rent, flights, insurance, and paper for the copiers. Today, those one hundred and fifteen generous families that make up a giving program called "The Well" have made it possible for more than one million donors to have a pure giving experience, and fund more than twenty one thousand water projects for almost six and a half million people.

Over the years, we've had many opportunities to walk away from this model. But even though it was incredibly challenging at times, we've always stayed true to the original vision, never using a single penny of the public's money for anything other than direct project costs. Today, KPMG specifically audits and comments on our 100% model.

I'm also proud of how deeply charity: water is committed to the sustainability of our projects. Spending millions of dollars through our Pipeline Program post-implementation, and recently, deploying thousands of remote sensors to monitor the daily flow of our projects over time.

We also have a deep commitment to innovation, and have done some really interesting things recently with Virtual Reality to evoke greater compassion and empathy among our supporters.

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