it’s 4 a.m. and again, it’s a long night between phone calls and jotting down words on a blank white sheet.
managed to go to the charity:water event tonight at the apple store which was a really inspirational story of someone — scott harrison — who managed to apply innovative solutions to an age-old problem: accessibility to clean water.
while i could go on about the great work his npo is doing, i thought it’d be better to share with you some of the key takeaways i think any organization can learn from (i do encourage you to check out charity:water’s website and mission though :))
1. Design is important. I think that a lot of times design is often neglected in an organization’s plans. Yet at the same time, websites are often the key, 20-second-intro any organization gets to an audience. Make it catchy, powerful, lasting.
One of the things I never understood about organizations like the red cross was how they could be one of the largest non-profits in the world, yet have a website that lagged in innovation. Web 1.5 when the world was onto Web 3.0.
Scott talked about how the organization’s second hire was the designer, right after hiring someone who knew how to design effective water systems.
2. Connect with the user. I know … this is a pretty blanket piece of advice that is used virtually everywhere but I loved how Charity:Water used Google Earth and GPS devices to show exactly where wells to clean water were being built.
Which leads to point number 3 (for non-profits and social enterprises)
3. Empower the end-user. Technology is such an amazing tool and one of the quickest ways I think we can really empower people is to share this with others. Charity:Water gave GPS devices to the villagers to use themselves. based on the same principle, all wells were dug by local villagers.
4. Be an effective communicator. One thing that struck me mid-way through Scott’s presentation was “wow, he’s a great speaker.” and then i realized that virtually every talk I’ve gone to with some grassroots organization had a “great speaker.” the ability to really convey your message and create that strong personal relationship is so key … after looking more into charity:water’s website, i saw that each member of the staff had received communications coaching from a firm specializing in giving this training. a worthwhile investment for any organization, unless you’re one of the few blessed with the natural ability to speak and captivate audiences 🙂
anyway, i think those are the main points i remember off the top of my head — good night!