Video: Cause and Brand Partnerships with Simon Mainwaring

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 24-06-2011


Last week a good friend of charity: water Simon Mainwaring stopped by the office during his NYC trip for the launch of his new book We First.

Not only is Simon a fellow Aussie (so you know he’s a good bloke), he’s also one of the smartest people thinking forward about how capitalism will change as the consumer conscious starts to guide purchase decisions (enabled in large part by the Internet).

I’m a big fan of Simon’s work so I took the chance to film a quick flip cam video with him in our office. Here’s the result – a quick conversation between the two of us focused on the future of cause marketing and brand partnerships with non-profits:

Brand & Cause Partnerships with Simon Mainwaring from Paull Young on Vimeo.

If you enjoyed that (I hope you did!) then you’ll love Simon’s book. I’m biased because he’s a mate, but I strongly recommend a read of We First to any marketer – it will help us not only lift the brands we represent, but also show how we can play a role in making the globe a better place for brands and consumers alike!

Online Fundraising Platforms

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 20-06-2011


There is a plethora of online fundraising platforms out there, and more emerging every month.

I recently asked one of my awesome interns at charity: water, Alicia Kim, take on as a project a quick review of the many players out there with some assessment of what differentiates them.

She did such a good job with this interactive presentation I thought it would be a crime not to share it with the world – so enjoy!

One thing to remember if you’re thinking about online fundraising – the various sites and options are ONLY tools – this is a point I’ve made in an answer regarding mycharity: water on Quora. It’s what you do with those tools that will make an impact!

5 Learnings from Year 1 at charity: water

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Life, Marketing | Posted on 09-06-2011


This time last year I took a plunge and joined my favorite non-profit, charity: water, as Director of Digital.

The first year has been amazing. The most fulfilling, exciting and extending year of my professional career. So I thought I’d take some time to share the 5 biggest learnings from my first year on the job.

  1. Team is everything
  2. The power of brand and creative
  3. Relationships drive return
  4. Prioritize and be decisive
  5. People are good
  • Team is Everything

I’ve learned a huge amount about teamwork alongside my executive team at charity: water. ‘Teamwork’ was always a value I appreciated, but I didn’t quite understand just how important it is, and just how much hard work it is, until the past year.

We work at it every day – we’ve brought on executive coaches, we’ve read books together, we’ve spent a lot of time intentionally learning how to work better together. A real turning point for us has been the past 6 months, we’ve begun meeting as an executive team every morning at 9am and the additional time together has made a big impact.

Teamwork requires deep trust (that only comes with time), constant communication (listening as much as talking), and, importantly, vulnerability (not easy for a rugby player). It’s also essential that everyone on the team has deep committment to shared goals and to each other.

The biggest learning for me has been that you don’t really realize what good teamwork is until you start working as a high performing team.

  • The power of brand and creative

Few things can boost your brand in an online world more than great creative. And for truly inspiring creative you need talented people given the freedom, time and resources to produce amazing work.

We’re very lucky to have a stroyteller and huge creative brain in our Founder Scott, and also the strongest creative team I’ve ever worked with led by Vik’s genius and supported by a great team.

So many times I’ve worked with big brands who would focus rigidly on budgets, ‘eyeballs’ and numbers driven strategies. Content and creative is just a means to an end in this dynamic. But now I’ve seen how an investment of time and effort in inspiring, powerful content can lead to huge gains and ROI.

At charity: water we spend about $0.08 for every $1 we raise – and our powerful brand and creative is a huge element in making that happen.

  • Relationships drive return

One of the first things I did at charity: water was put together a digital strategy hinging around relationships. This comes naturally to the brand – and most importantly it involves thinking of people as people, not wallets.

One of our strategic priorities as an organization is to ‘inspire a movement of passionate, informed and active supporters’. We can only do this by focusing in on our customer experience, thinking about long-term relationships with every donor, and continually thinking ‘how can we make our fundraisers heros?’.

We do this in many ways, such as by focusing on entertaining content and saying thank you instead of asking for money (we’ve never sent direct mail). We’re also working on proving to our donors where every cent of their money goes, and hopefully delighting them by showing the impact they have made.

Think about this for a second: what’s the last thing you’ve done for your customers?

Customer experience matters. Relationships and giving to your audience is so valid. Our thank you emails, water changes everything, dollars to projects.

  • Prioritize and be decisive

charity: water is a brand on an explosive growth curve. We perpetually have more opportunity than we can deal with. This has taught me that prioritizing and decisiveness are essential skills for a leader.

One of our coaches, Carol Morley, shared a thought on this that has stuck with me:

Someone who makes 10 decisions a day, and gets seven right and 3 wrong, will be much more successful in the long run than someone who makes just 3 decisions… but ensures all 3 are perfect.

In the words of another mentor Mike Moran: Do It Wrong Quickly.

  • People are good

Everyday I’m inspired by things people do to help the cause. Michael Birch not only plays a big role in keeping our lights on, but is investing energy in a new web project. Bill Nussey’s Silverpop via Joohae and Erinne have revitalized our approach to email. The good people at Razorfish have done huge things for us digitally pro-bono (shout out: Andrea, Rupa, Raashi, Shawn, Emily). Michael Lazerow and the Buddy Media team have even helped us help Will Smith spread the word!

And then there’s the kids, like little Tariku who built a well with his 5th birthday, and 11 year old Nathan Hidjat and his Google Doodle.

People are good. And people are also kinda lazy. Inspire them and empower them and they’ll change the world for you.

That’s the big 5 insights… there are thousands more of course! If there is anything else you’d like me to share just leave a comment or ask me on Quora.

Delivering Happiness at SXSW

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 12-05-2011


A few months ago at SXSW I jumped on the Delivering Happiness Bus to shoot an interview with Tech Cocktail’s Frank Gruber on charity: water’s digital approach.

Readers of this blog will know I’m a follower and a believer in the Delivering Happiness movement, and I’m quite stoked with how this video turned out.

Take a look to see a quick snapshot of the world of charity: water from my perspective:

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Water Changes Everything

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Internet | Posted on 24-04-2011


One billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us. But working in the water sector, it sometimes feels like less than one in eight people even realize the world is living a water crisis right now.

To address this, my team at charity: water enlisted the awesome animator Jonathan Jarvis to produce alongside us a brief, entertaining video that can explain the breadth of the water issue in a few short minutes. We were also lucky to have the support of a great friend of charity: water, actress Kristen Bell as narrator.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video on how Water Changes Everything – and if you love it, share it anywhere you can!

We launched this a few days ago and are nearing 100,000 views thanks to great support on Twitter from the likes of Jamie Oliver, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and Twitter itself. Will Smith shared it with his 16 million Facebook fans, and some of the top tech blogs like TechCrunch and Mashable also posted the video.

And if I can make one ask of YOU – I would love nothing more for you to share this video on Facebook, Twitter, your own blog or even via email! Every view counts as we battle to tell the world about the one billion people living without life’s most essential need.

We First Interview

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet | Posted on 23-03-2011


Last week I was in Austin, Texas for the SXSW mega-conference – think Woodstock, for nerds.

While there I had the good pleasure to meet a great charity: water supporter and one of the smarter guys in the cause-marketing space, Simon Mainwaring, who shot this video with yours truly for his blog (apologies for the croaky voice… SXSW will do that!).

Simon is a must-follow if you’re interested in social media for social good, cause marketing or corporate social responsibility. And I’m not just saying that because he’s a fellow Aussie!

Right now he’s promoting his new book We First, one of the first books I’ve heard of that will laser in on the intersection between social media, social good and corporate strategy.

I’ve had the good fortune to be able to thumb through a pre-release copy of the book and can enthusiastically recommend you pre-order it here.

World Water Day

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water | Posted on 22-03-2011


Today is World Water Day.

Water Changes Everything. Learn more.

Sending Kbell Down the Well

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Humour, Internet | Posted on 17-03-2011


My boss Scott just took a handful of big charity: water donors to Africa.

There’s nothing like being able to say thank you to our supporters – so check out the video we made for Chris Sacca, featuring the hilarious Kristen Bell.

Update for Chris Sacca from northern Ethiopia. from charity: water (special donors) on Vimeo.

PdF Audio: Using Social Media for Non-Profit Fundraising

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 09-03-2011


Last week I was the guest of the Personal Democracy Forum as they hosted one of their series of PdF Network conference calls, this one looking at charity: water’s success in online fundraising.

The PdF team were good enough to share audio of the event, and Micah Sifry put together a quick outline of the call I’ll share here:

  • Money is a by-product of great connections and great content. Again and again, Paull explained how charity: water focuses on serving its supporters with content that is worth paying attention to, and on insuring that their experience working with the organization is “filled with delight.”
  • There’s no “donate” button anywhere on charity: water’s Twitter or Facebook presences. Instead, those channels are used for what they do best, to help spread messages and build connections. Don’t view “donors as wallets,” he said. They’re people with whom to build rewarding relationships.
  • Pay attention to (and share) all the great stories that your members may have to share. Paull talked about Riley Goodfellow, an 8-year-old supporter of charity: water who convinced her friends to eat rice and beans for a month, and then got their parents to donate the money saved on food, and who carried a water can to school each day to understand what it felt like to have to walk to a well each day to get clean water. (Her whole story is here.)
  •, the group’s distributed fundraising platform, has enabled thousands of people to build their own personal fundraising campaigns, many of them around donating their birthdays.
  • This approach has to be embraced from the top of an organization or it won’t work. Hands-on training for leadership can help a lot, otherwise people tend to reject methods they don’t personally understand. Also, charity: water is very much a “digital start-up,” Paull noted, with something like a third of its core staff devoted to online organizing, web design, coding, etc.

Podcast for: Using Social Media for Non-Profit Fundraising- charity: water’s Success

-download podcast here or visit the PdF site to stream the audio.

President Obama and charity: water

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water | Posted on 04-02-2011


Nice surprise yesterday when President Obama gave charity: water a shout out during his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC.

President Obama speaks about charity: water at the National Prayer Breakfast. from charity: water on Vimeo.

RSS readers please click through for video.

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