10 key elements for a successful charity campaign

by Ivette Maakaroun

What’s better than quenching your thirst with a cup of fresh clean drinking water? Could you imagine yourself thirsty for hours or even days, or having to go through long walks to for dirty non-potable water? Sadly, that’s what millions of people in developing countries endure due to clean drinking water shortages. Scott Harrison, a former club promoter, decided to tackle the water crisis during his 31st birthday in September 2006. The “September Campaign” and NGO charity:water were born.

Curious to see how it all started? Take a look here.

I have always been passionate about the charity world. In today’s digital era, fundraising is super challenging. We stumble online upon thousands of different brands and NGOs. Yet, very few do it well and succeed in grabbing our attention. Charity:water did grab my attention 3 years ago on a Facebook friend’s wall. On her 27th September birthday, she shared the fundraising campaign asking for donations to charity:water in Rwanda in lieu of gifts. What a great initiative! Every year, the September campaign targets a specific region to get them access to clean water. Since 2006 until today, results were phenomenal as below!


What’s more phenomenal is that charity:water is rarely the ringleader! Hundreds of people around the world initiate their own campaign, charity:water shares success and real life stories and provides guidance into starting a campaign. That’s all it does.

Author and blogger Bernadette Jiva once said:

In our carefully curated, photoshopped and filtered world, we are more drawn to the genuine than ever. It’s important to create content that is worth the time, attention and money of the audience we hope to serve.”

I believe charity:water to be the perfect example of a good storytelling technique. They do it differently than most NGOs across social platforms. Their unique and heartwarming stories succeed in reaching the right target audience. Why would I get my wallet out for your cause or campaign? That’s the question most millenials and audience members ask today. People need to feel somehow connected to the cause and real world impact.


  1. Unique and consistent content across all platforms
  2. Beautifully-written and inspiring copy
  3. Eye-grabbing visuals and heartwarming videos
  4. Positive tone that calls to action without emphasizing the word “DONATE”
  5. Robust archive of stories based on: 80% cause, 20% fundraising
  6. charity:water goal and mission drive content
  7. Fundraisers and storytelling at the core of all campaign communications
  8. Authentic and genuine content: project timeline and proof of results
  9. Fundraisers share their success stories and act as charity ambassadors
  10. Email communications: simple, short, straightforward with powerful headline and active writing tense


Whether it is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat, or even their official website, charity:water shows continuous appreciation and recognition to fundraisers which gets them motivated to spread the message and invite others to make a change.

Their latest 2015 “#nothingiscrazy September Campaign” is a big example of a successful campaign that puts the supporter up front by inviting him to make an impact through daily life activities while surrounded with friends and family. Charity:water turns fundraising into a cool and fun experience. For any charity out there wishing to make a real life impact and wanting to up their communications game, charity:water could be the perfect model to refer to…


If you wish to contribute or start your own campaign, the steps are really easy, click here for more info!



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