Mashable Social Good Summit Panel: Crowd Powered Philanthropy

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Events, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 27-09-2012

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This week I represented charity: water on a panel at the Mashable Social Good Summit alongside Meetup founder Scott Heiferman, Indiegogo co-founder Danae Ringelmann and Mashable’s Matt Silverman.

Here is the full 15 minute panel:

In particular awesome to sit next to Scott Heiferman, one of the smartest internet entrepreneurs out there and one of the only people in the world who has built a web platform to unite people in the real world.

The Tweet That Changed My Life

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Internet, Life | Posted on 15-09-2012

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September 2, 2008, 5.30pm I read a tweet that changed my life — here it is:

Beth Kanter tweeted about ‘giving up’ September birthdays for clean water. I remember clicking through to the borninseptember.org website, watching a great video, and setting up a fundraising page to help build a well for a village in Ethiopia.

To my surprise, lots of people gave! A popular new blogger by the name of Pete Cashmore started fundraising for his September 18th birthday too, and we raised enough to fund ‘the well that Twitter built‘.

charity: water became my favorite charity. Two years later I started working there. Two and a half years further on, and I’m giving up yet another September birthday for clean water — and I’d love your donation.

September Campaign for Rwanda

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Current Affairs, Life | Posted on 30-08-2012

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The September Campaign was how I first heard of charity: water. Back in 2008 Beth Kanter sent a tweet about ‘giving up’ your September birthday for clean water. Being a September baby, I clicked through to the charity: water site, started a campaign… and the rest is history.

Every September Campaign is special, and this year I’m excited to share an epic story of redemption from Rwanda. Rwanda’s a country I’ve always thought deeply about as I’ve tried to make any sort of understanding of the 1994 genocide that saw 1 million people killed with machetes.

It’s been amazing to me to learn how much Rwanda’s moved forward, and it’s an honor to be able to try to help the people there get the most important leg up: access to clean and safe drinking water.

Check out our video trailer to learn about the campaign, and if you’d like to help I’d love you to donate for my birthday!

And here’s the second video we posted on the history of Rwanda: “The Spirit of Rwanda”

I hope you’ll check out the September Campaign, and I’d be honored if you’d donate to my birthday campaign — just $65 can bring one person clean water in Rwanda!

Video chat with Philanthropy News

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 07-08-2012

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The good folk at Philanthropy News recently grabbed me for a quick flip-cam video interview for some insight on how we approach online community and fundraising at charity: water.

Short 8 minute video here:

 

PR News Presentation on Social Media Measurement

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 25-06-2012

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I had a great time today speaking on a panel at the PR News Social Media Summit in NYC on the topic of measurement.

Here’s my presentation and a clip of me discussing it:

 

Video:

The 3 conversations I’ll be having at SXSW

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Events, Marketing | Posted on 07-03-2012

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I’m heading to Austin, Texas, this weekend for my third consecutive SXSW. It’s a huge few days, and while tiring, an event I always look forward to for a chance to connect with many friends and build new relationships.

If you’ll be there please leave a comment or tweet me; if you’re reading this I’d love to see you.

Without further ado, here are the three main conversations I’ll be having in Texas:

1. What are you up to that’s cool?

You’ll never find as many smart digital people in one place as these few days in Austin. I’m looking forward to learning new things and getting inspired by other peoples work.

Big new ideas often pop at SXSW: Twitter got a huge boost there early on, Foursquare launched there, and this year I’m tipping Highlight will get people chatting – it’s the most interesting app I’ve found for some time.

2. charity: water is hiring – know anyone?

charity: water is hiring across the board this year and we need great people to help us change the world. We’re looking for a range of tech people, project managers, fundraisers and more.

In particular, I’m personally hiring two roles and it’s likely the right people for them will be at SXSW:

  • Director of Corporate Partnerships: an authentic, strategic, digitally-savvy biz dev person who can raise $5 million from corporates this year while building a plan to do $30 million in 2015.
  • Marketing Analyst: a data person who will be responsible for building a personal automated email program for us and will work on defining and measuring our marketing efforts.

3. Can you or your brand help charity: water this year?

We’re aiming to raise $25 million this year, 100% will directly fund clean water projects. We’ve got a bunch of exciting campaigns launching throughout the year and many ways individuals or brands can get involved. I’ll be looking to recruit more great partners to help them make our story their story and bring the water crisis to more people.

In particular, I’ll be trying to marshall support for a huge online campaign we’re launching for World Water Day on March 22. If you’re interested in learning more about it – ping me!

Will you be at SXSW? If so I’d love to see you!

A picture tells a thousand likes

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 28-02-2012

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There’s a strong trend towards visuals on the web, led in part by the rise of the iPhone and iPad so you can enjoy high res images on the move.

We’ve taken advantage of this at charity: water by extending our ‘Photos of the Day’ (that we’ve shared on Twitter and our blog for years) into Instagram and Facebook.

Instagram is a favorite of mine, I’ve blogged about it here and elsewhere. We’ve seen a huge rise in followers there as people flock to the platform, and today this photo was our first to recieve 1000 likes.

Similarly, recent changes to the Facebook newsfeed mean that photos get more exposure and compelling images are easier to share. The same photo recieved over 300 likes on Facebook and was shared over 50 times.

Great visuals are a huge marketing asset on the social web.

5 things I’ve learned from 2 years at charity: water

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Marketing, Uncategorized | Posted on 15-02-2012

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I’m approaching my two year anniversary at charity: water. In those 2 years we’ve raised over $27 million, 100% of which has directly funded clean water projects. And we’ve raised over 75% of those funds through digital channels.

Here are my top 5 things I’ve learned from my first two years at charity: water.

You can also rewind one year to read my top 5 learnings from my first 365 days here.

  • Be Positive

Inspiration is the most important part of our digital strategy. We inspire people through stories that help them see how they can change the world.

We think about building long-term relationships with every supporter, and in order to build strong relationships we want to give them regular positive feelings by inspiring them, thanking them, educating them and recognizing them. We don’t make people feel sad or guilty.

To bring this to life I juxtaposed the ASPCA’s tear-jerking overwraught commercials, with Helen’s Story, a beautiful piece written by Becky Straw telling the story of Helen Apio in Uganda and how access to clean water, for the first time in her life, made her feel beautiful.

The ASPCA ads have reportedly raised over $30 million. I wouldn’t take $30 million this year if I had to make all of America feel terrible in order to get there.

  • Don’t ask for money

This learning could also be phrased as ‘tell stories’. In my two years at charity: water we’ve never asked for money on Facebook or Twitter, nor in our email marketing.

People know we’re a charity. They know the biggest assistance they can give is financial support. We don’t need to ask them for money every time we connect with them, because we’re focused on relationships with people, not their wallets.

Our year end email (when every American non-profit makes a very direct fundraising appeal) simply shared an upbeat two minute video.

  • Do It Wrong Quickly

This is a catchphrase I’ve adopted from my friend and mentor Mike Moran. Do it wrong quickly doesn’t mean go out there and break everything. It means experiment, measure deeply, trial real use cases as quickly as you can and do more of what works.

Don’t come up with a beautiful strategy in 400 Powerpoint slides and roll it out a year later after dozens of meetings, presentations and approvals. Find the smallest test case you can use, ship it, measure it, and if it works in the market expand it.

We’re taking this approach with the new product WaterForward. An experiment in giving, we’re trying a lot of things to see if we can make WaterForward explode virally, but even if it doesn’t the experience from trying will boost us.

  • Be personal

Seth Godin said it well: familiarity (like using my first name in a mass email) isn’t personal – personal is one-to-one and MUST be authentic.

Authentic personal interaction always takes time. The payoff though, can be huge.

Think about the last brand that really took the time to personally interact with you. I’m willing to bet you have a very positive memory.

An example of how we do this is the 250 thank you videos we prepared and sent to individual donors on our 5th birthday in September last year. This took weeks of effort, time from all our staff and even more from a small army of vounteers. The goal was to make 250 people feel special — in the end we look at these videos as one of our biggest successes of 2011.

  • Help them see their impact

Informed by Simon Sinek’s ‘golden circle’ we’ve realized that the most important thing we can do at charity: water is bring people closer to the impact they can make by supporting us.

People are essentially good, and if they see how they can make a change in the world, they’ll do amazing things. We are focusing a great deal of time, energy and effort on helping this happen for all our supporters, the key example being the most exciting project we’ve launched, Dollars to Projects.

If you’d like to hear me chat about this stuff, here is a recording of a webinar I did recently with Artez Online touching on general charity: water info and the five learnings.

How charity: water raises millions through digital channels from artezmedia on Vimeo.

(Note: My slides didn’t convert to Powerpoint properly so sorry for some in the video being ugly! The better slides are embedded as Slideshare above).

Smart CMO Virtual Forum

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Events, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 17-01-2012

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Last year I was honored to be invited to record a session for the Smart CMO Virtual Forum, an innovative online event providing top-notch content to a remote audience.

The Smart CMO team just shared a video of my session to share with all of you, check it out to hear about all the work we’re doing in marketing at charity: water:

The next Smart CMO virtual forum is scheduled for March 1 2012 – sign up to see more content like the above, from even better speakers than yours truly, such as the CMOs for both the NFL and SAP.

Thank You for 2011

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Life | Posted on 31-12-2011

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As many of us do I’m reflecting on 2011 as the last few hours of the year wind down. And the strongest feeling I have is one of gratitude to all of you who’ve helped me personally and professionally through the year.

The greatest thing about working for a non-profit is seeing how people come out to help. Many of you have donated money, time and your brains to helping charity: water along this year. I appreciate it greatly.

Here’s a quick video we made to say thanks that I think you’ll enjoy:

2011 — charity: water’s year in review. from charity: water on Vimeo.

 

Finally, I wanted to share the opening lines of the latest book I’m reading, Street Sweeper by Aussie Elliot Perlman, they seem particularly apt for reflecting on the last day of the year:

Memory is a wilful dog. It won’t be summoned or dismissed but it cannot survive without you. It can sustain you or feed on you. It visits when it is hungry, not when you are. It has a schedule all its own that you never know. It can capture you, corner you or liberate you. It can leave you howling and it can make you smile.

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