The Power of Connectedness

Best global brands 2011

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Simon Mainwaring, the author of “We First,” at Social Good Summit. If in the past, brands controlled the conversation. With social tools at people’s disposal, that is no longer the case.

Game changing: We First

The use of social tools changed how consumers view their relationships with brands. (even for those that do not fall under the category of big brands, i.e. business or people – like you and I) Because consumers now have the power to drive ‘the’ conversation.

So we talked about how connected citizens – those who are actively sharing their values via various social networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc. – choose to communicate with brands.

Some of the things that we discussed:

– The power of connected citizens.

We saw what’s happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain how people are reaching out despite the state of oppression in communicating the value of what they care. In the business world, for example, citizens’ participation in Pepsi Refresh Project. This is a project, where anyone with an idea can get their initiative funded.

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How Being Transparent Actually Help This Nonprofit Empowered Its Supporters

Charity Water is a non-profit founded in September 2006, with mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in the developing nations.

In 2012 alone, Charity: Water raised $33 million with 100% of proceeds to fund water projects. By then, the total fund raised reach $93 million, funded 8,208 projects, and giving 3,223,000 people access to clean water. This kind of track record is very impressive, considering that they get to this milestone in less than 10 years!

When you think that there is more than 1.4 million nonprofits out there competing for resources, how could Charity Water created a league of its own in a very short time?

For one, Charity Water runs the organization like a startup: innovative, efficient, and continue to reinvent along the way. They embrace the power of technology and social media and use it to inspire and empower its supporters – from the get go.

Transparency breaks down barriers between an organization and its supporters to create openness that never before exist.

How Openness Empowered Its Supporters

#1. Business model: 100% donations go to projects

Any donors would love to see how their donations made a difference. So for a young organization that decided early on to embrace a business model where 100% of public donations goes directly to fund its water projects, transparency has to be at the core of their operational DNA.

By showing impact of supporters’ donations and sharing this information online, they gained the trust from people, especially those who may not be familiar with the organization and its mission at first.

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