16 Ounces of Hope
For Valentine’s Day, more than $10,000 was raised; Easter, more than $10,000 was raised.
FS: What is your relationship like with those who buy water?
SH: Well, in order to buy a $20 bottle of water you’ve got to be pretty educated about what we’re doing, pretty comfortable as far as the projects that we’re funding. We train our volunteers pretty well to talk about the need for water and sanitation, and then we basically tell people how much wells cost in different countries. So the [donor] understands exactly where his $20 is going and what it looks like.
Charity: proves all of the work that we do in the field. So each well comes with a GPS coordinate, a photo and a video. So we’re working on this whole sort of back-end system on our Web site. We’re going to integrate this into Google Earth, and people will be able to see the GPS coordinates. That’s in the planning stages.
FS: How do you plan on building on the organization’s success?
SH: It really is just trying to be constantly creative. I mean, an executive at MySpace just threw a birthday party and decided that she wanted to build a well, so she asked all of her friends to buy a bottle of water at her birthday party, and [she] built a well.
A tax accountant said, “Hey, I’d like to build a well in a community in Africa, and what if I sold a bottle of your water to everyone that came in for a tax return. Could I build a well?” We said sure and we got him water to his office in Midtown, and he sold $64,000 of water in two months, which was enough for about 12 communities.