charity: water

Charity: water provides clean drinking water to residents of the developing world by partnering with on-the-ground organizations to build wells and to train the local population to maintain them.

NPI Rating: BUY

Currently in its sixth year, charity: water has posted an impressive track record in terms of transparency, effectiveness, and financial strength. The organization has been growing steadily with consistently demonstrated impact.

STRENGTHS

  • Demonstrated Impact. Since 2006, Charity: water has funded the construction of nearly 7,000 wells worldwide, providing clean water to an estimated 2.4 million people.
  • Rigorous Accountability. Charity: water's “dollars to projects” program provides GPS coordinates and photos of all completed wells, allow donors to better see the impact they’ve generated.
  • Consistent Growth. Charity: water is well funded with consistent revenue growth since inception, and the rate of growth is increasing.
  • Transparency. Charity: water exhibits a high level of transparency in tracking donor dollars and in demonstrating return on investment. The organization publishes regular annual reports, and presents its Form 990s and executive salaries clearly on its website.
  • Separate Administrative Budget. All administrative activities of charity: water are funded by a small group of private donors, allowing all other donations to go directly to program activities. This provides for increased transparency for donors.

CAUTIONS

  • Increasing Cost of Wells. The cost to construct a well has increased over the last three years from $4,500 to $7,600. This could be due to recent capacity building initiatives, but may also reflect a change in geographic mix or a recent decrease in efficiency.
  • Lack of Impact Studies. Charity: water cites a UNESCO study indicating that every $1 invested in the water supply yields up to $12 for the local economy. However, more targeted impact studies based on CW activities would be useful in order to maximize ROI.

Download the full research report in PDF format here: NPI Evaluation of charity: water.

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