Grant Writing 101: charity: water Shares 3 Strategies It Uses to Effectively Fund Its Programs
As a nonprofit organization that brings clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries, charity: water has helped steward hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to local partners in 29 countries around the world since its founding in 2006. To accomplish its mission, charity: water funds local organizations that specialize in water, sanitation and hygiene solutions that have brought clean water to nearly 15 million people. In 2021, the organization will provide more than $80 million in grants for clean water programs.
charity: water’s success in funding international programs is backed by 15 years of grant writing experience and strategy. Throughout that time, the organization has learned that the most successful approach to funding international programs starts with putting its local partners in the driver’s seat, as they can provide the most valuable insights when it comes to finding and implementing sustainable solutions in their communities.
For nonprofits that are looking to expand their international presence, charity: water has shared its three most effective grantmaking strategies to make fundraising efforts more successful.
1. Define Your Objectives Precisely and Stick to Them
In a world in which there is an overwhelming amount of need, it’s easy to experience mission creep. When organizations get outside their area of expertise, they risk wasting precious resources, spreading themselves too thin and drifting away from their initial goals.
In charity: water’s case, the challenge is that there are many, many people around the world who don’t have access to clean water — 785 million, to be exact — so it can be difficult to prioritize where to work. By identifying and prioritizing its target market, charity: water has learned that it would have the greatest impact in the 40 lowest-income countries with large rural populations in need, where the political, social and environmental conditions are stable enough to achieve lasting impact. Within each program country, charity: water then selects a handful of underserved districts where it concentrates its efforts for five to 10 years. This focus and timeline enables charity: water to build expertise, develop lasting relationships, and deliver a meaningful, lasting impact.
Christoph Gorder joined charity: water in 2012 to lead the organization's global water investments in 28 countries. Since its founding in 2006, charity: water has raised more than $500 million and provided clean water to over 13 million people. In his role as Chief Global Water Officer, Christoph also oversees technology innovations that increase transparency and long-term impact of clean water programs.
Prior to joining charity: water, Christoph spent 15 years leading disaster response operations and managing large scale healthcare delivery programs around the world. He grew up in the Central African Republic and Nigeria, where getting clean water is still a dream for millions.