“What else could we do to help make the world a better place this holiday season?” – Bret Love, co-founder of Green Global Travel
Thus began “Travel Bloggers Give Back—Use Your Blog to Make a Difference”. This unified movement of bloggers is giving back by sharing stories and creating awareness about their favorite charity organizations.
Upon learning of this initiative, I knew I wanted to participate. I believe that our world is filled with citizens with an inherent desire to give back to their local and global communities—whether by volunteering their time or skills, or donating goods or money.
Since most folks have hectic lives, donating funds may be the easiest option. However, I think many time-starved people believe that their money is merely a tiny drop in the bucket. How could $20 actually help when so many people need assistance? Thus, would-be donors put their pens down and close their checkbooks. Or in this age of technology, they simply choose not to hit “submit” and click away.
At one point, this concerned me, too. After all, when you take into account the operating costs to run a fundraising event, or the organization’s efforts to carry out its specified mission—whether it’s to distribute food in disaster-stricken countries, or to build wells for clean water—what’s left of their $20 donation? The enormity of global needs can be pretty mind boggling to say the least—leaving those who want to contribute, conflicted and confused.
charity: ball 2009 – charity: water
On December 14, 2009, something changed for me. With the two event tickets gifted to us tucked safely in my purse, my husband and I entered the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. We were attending charity: ball 2009 hosted by charity: water, a nonprofit organization.
Mingling with other folks in suits, heels and dresses that sparkled under the lights, the two of us weaved around the crowd, stopping to look at huge color photographs taken in various African nations. Those pictured were beaming as they held bottles of clean water, or were shown pumping the precious liquid into their containers.
Water. These folks appreciated and valued something so basic in developed countries that we often take it for granted—not thinking twice about the water that flows from our faucets. Through the work of charity: water, these wonderful people would have water—safe for consumption. Instead of walking barefoot hundreds of miles to retrieve water from a disease-laden river, and hundreds again on their return trip—they would head to freshwater wells built from the funds raised by charity: water.
How It All Started
After witnessing the dire effects of contaminated water during his stint as a photojournalist for Mercy Ships, Scott Harrison founded charity: water in 2006. With a mission of providing access to clean and safe drinking water to developing countries, its efforts currently benefit 19 nations—expanding to Guatemala and Bolivia in 2011.
Where Does Your Money Go?
A differentiating quality that I love about charity: water is that 100% of the funds donated by the public go directly towards costs associated with water projects—such as wages for local staff, plus materials including cement and pump heads.
Operating costs to run charity: water are absorbed by the Living Well—a group of private donors, sponsors and foundations. Office supplies and equipment, salaries and fees from credit card donations are also paid for via the Living Well.That evening, among other activities designed to raise money at varying levels, my husband and I were drawn to a wall of 250+ cards—each bearing a color photo of a smiling face. After donating $20 per card, we flipped them over and wrote personal messages to the individuals pictured. The funds raised would benefit a water project.
The Proof’s in the Completed Project
True to his word, Harrison and his staff handed those cards to the villagers of Merngua, Ethiopia—the site of our completed well. It was quite meaningful to see the results of our donations. While you won’t know which project your funds will go towards beforehand—once the site is completed, you’ll receive the GPS coordinates and photos of the finished product.
In our case, we got the link to the video below:
For more information about charity: water and how you can help, please visit charitywater.org.
And remember, there are creative ways to raise funds—such as foregoing presents for your next birthday or the holidays—asking instead that your friends and family donate to charity: water.
Believe it or not, each donation—each tiny drop in the bucket, truly goes a long way. Collectively, they help build wells that will hopefully, one day, reach each of the one billion people in the world (one in eight) who wouldn’t otherwise have access to clean drinking water.
Editorial Creatives invites you to share your thoughts. What organizations are tugging at your heartstrings?
If you have a blog and want to get involved, please check here for details. Join us on Facebook, and please help spread the word by sharing this post on your Facebook wall or your Twitter feed #TBGB. Thank you for your support.
Please peruse the other great posts from participating Travel Bloggers. You’ll find an array of charity work going on all around this beautiful world.