If you shy away from publicizing the less-than-perfect result, the flops that might make you look bad or those awful outright failures, take a refresher on why you might want a different strategy from none other than charity:water. Known for its innovation in raising money through crowdsourcing and Twitter, the nonprofit raises funds to dig wells and bring drinking water to communities lacking it.
The flop--documented in the video above--came at a high-stakes, high visibility moment in the middle of a special campaign, on the organization's "birthday," which features a "live drill" captured on video every year. Drilling projects in this country, the Central African Republic, have a 95 percent success rate. So why bother sharing the flop?
- It's transparent to donors: charity:water's keeping a pledge to make its operations transparent, something that helps donors feel more confident and willing.
- It's dramatic, good viewing: Face it: Failure's gripping, and we can all relate to it. This video does a great job moving us through the actual timeline of the failure, including the choice to work through the night to find a solution.
- It's educational: We learn a lot in a short amount of time about why some wells can't be dug, how much the people here need one, and what folks are willing to do to get one.
- It puts the goal into perspective: Failure's a foil for your ultimate goals, answering the question, "what would happen if we couldn't be here to do this?" Showing failure, especially repeated failure, can make a reached goal seem all the sweeter.
By the way, broadcasting your failures means it's even more exciting when you can come back and report a success--and that's what charity:water did, in a different village, with the second day of its "live drill." Note that they use the occasion to explain the conditions that make a good drill site, so you get to learn as well as celebrate.
(A hat tip to Tqctical Philanthropy Advisors, whose post alerted me to the charity:water video.)
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