5 lessons from 5 years leading digital at a nonprofit

It’s not easy getting people to part with their money to help strangers half a world away, but inspiring benevolence is a great first step. Here’s how charity: water did just that.

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I’ve spent every waking moment of the past five years working with a brilliant team to inspire people to make a difference for people they’ve never met.

In that time the fundraising website I’ve been responsible for, mycharitywater.org, has raised more than $37 million—with 100 percent of that directly funding clean drinking water for people in need around the world.

As I reflect on my last day in the office, here are the five biggest things I’ve learned:

1. Inspire — activate — experience.

It took me a few years to learn that the strategic link between all of our most effective marketing efforts was a very simple model:


Our best marketing led with content focused on inspiration. We continually asked ourselves what we could create that would leave our supporters inspired. We gave our (extremely strong) creative team freedom to focus on inspiration above all else.


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