Cecile Poignant » Charity is the new black

Charity is the new black

charity: water

courtesy of charity: water

Last week at leWeb – the biggest european event on internet and tech – a lot of smart people, post nerds, young geeks and successful entrepreneurs announced on stage new products, new services, new apps … One of the things that caught my ears in that future oriented event was an “old fashioned” word : charity.

Loic Le Meur leWeb ‘s founder, invited Scott Harisson the charismatic young man behind charity: water for a sensitive talk that moved the whole room. During the first part of his life, Harrison spent 10 years working in the nightclub industry in New York. He was successful but totally unhappy. In 2006 he started charity: water when travelling to Africa he saw the terrible plight of so many without the most basic of human needs – water. Charity: water is not an average nonprofit, it has very successfully found new ways of fundraising and got it story out to millions of people globally through the clever use of technology and social media. In fact, Harrison didn’t just want to provide clean water; he wanted to reinvent charity. For that he runs his “business” as a tech start up and found partnership with the biggest .

courtesy charity : water - scott harrison

courtesy of charity : water – Scott Harrison

Harisson opted for the 100 percent model (100% of donations from the general public go directly to water projects). For the the other expenses, he found a group of people who fund staff and operations.This group of investors includes the greatest names of the Silicon Valley: Sean Parker, Matt Mullenweg (the founder of WordPress), Jack Dorsey ( creator of Twitter), Jason Fried of 37signals … Harisson recently launched a $5 million pilot project with Google to develop remote sensor technology that will tell whether water is flowing at any of their projects, at any given time.70 % $17+ million of charity: water total donations has been raised online and 110,000 people have joined mycharity: water Harisson reinvented charity with brilliant idea such as the “Give up your birthday for clean water” campaign. People raise money on their birthday and ask friends and family to make a donation instead of buying them a gift.

His example has been a clicking sound for many. At leWeb Mike North also shared his experience with ReAllocate . ReAllocate is a global network of world class engineers, designers and entrepreneurs empowering under served communities through technology and innovation to improve quality of life. ReAllocators engage in digital storytelling to inspire participation, promote collaboration, and raise awareness about humanitarian causes. “By ReAllocating just a little bit of our expertise and time we are able to have a huge impact on the lives of those that need it most,” said North

There are many more examples of this new charity ready to use the tools of today: HopeMob , the ‘Kickstarter for causes’, just relaunches as a no-fee fundraising platform open to all. HopeMob is exactly what it sounds like – a mob of people bringing hope. Just as Flash Mobs dance and bring spontaneous joy and laughter, HopeMob will bring caring strangers together to create sudden, yet organized relief and hope all over the world!


courtesy hopemob

The use of social media obvious now to all of us, the daily exchange with complete stranger living on the other side of the world combine with the deep need for a meaningful life is the perfect formula to finally understand that together…we are powerful !



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