Spredfast + charity: water:

How two brands decided to share one effort

As I wrote in my recent post Doing Well While Doing Good: The Four Tenets of a Community-Minded Brand, there are several ways to successfully capitalize on an organization’s interest in non-profits. Built from Dr. David Aaker’s philosophy, I advised our readers to build initiatives that have a focus, are consistent over time, link the program to the brand, and are branded.

How Spredfast found charity: water

When Spredfast decided to infuse a social good component into our brand and specifically, around our Summit, we reviewed each of these tenets. We knew that—like with our brand marketing efforts—it was vital to have focus, be consistent, and be branded, and we started with those tenets in our back pocket as we began researching what “doing good” meant to us.

Our first step in the process however, was Dr. Aaker’s third tenet—to ensure that the program or nonprofit was aligned with and linked to our brand. That was the first filter that we considered when evaluating the hundreds of worthy causes that we could have invested in.

When we came across charity: water, we knew we had found our fit. Beyond their tremendous mission, we had found a cause and a brand that was meaningful, while authentic to us. charity:water’s mission is to bring clean drinking water to every person in need. They do that through technology—flag #1—that provides transparency, data, and visibility—flag #2—into their effort’s effectiveness and success. They’ve reinvented the way that people think about philanthropic giving, ensuring that 100% of donations go straight to the water projects and then they connect their donors—flag #3—with their impact through social media—flag #4—and regular updates. They focus on their community—flag #5—by putting the spotlight on others, rather than themselves.

When we came across charity: water, we knew we had found our fit.


By giving their donors access to the wells that they’re building around the world, through VR experiences for instance, they use technology as a driver of social impact and change. They build community, trust, and loyalty through innovation, transparency, and storytelling. We also admired their social media channels, as they’ve built one of the first and largest social presences of any non-profit in the world. That mission and those efforts sounded very familiar to us.

How did we identify, choose, and engage with a cause that was so meaningful but authentic to our brand? I’ve outlined below the steps that we took as we built our partnership with charity: water—an ongoing campaign we’ve named #SpredWater.

First, we started by asking ourselves a few questions. We jumped into brand soul-searching and pondered: “What does our brand stand for?”, “What’s important to our organization?”, “What’s important to our employees?”, “How do we live our brand everyday, and what would it take for another brand to align with ours?”. As we answered these questions, reflected on our North Star to connect every business in the world with the people they care about, and dove into our Smart Social brand framework of leading, connecting, delivering insights, showing value, and building trust, we had a clear vision of what we were looking for.

We absorbed our answers to those tough questions and were confident that charity: water was our fit. Our next step was determining how to make the most impact within it. We decided on the #SpredWater campaign, which launched at Spredfast Summit in October with a keynote from charity: water’s Social Media Strategist Cubby Graham and the announcement that on behalf of our Summit community, we had donated a well to a community in Ethiopia.

Our final step was to share our partnership. At Summit and beyond, we’ve shown our community through social channels, email, and mailers how proud we are that Spredfast has aligned with charity: water. Most of all, we hope that by spreading our partnership, we’ve empowered a ripple effect of encouragement to other brands who will think about the ways that they can make an impact too.

The next step for #Spredwater

Today, we’ve made our next step in the #SpredWater partnership by announcing our effort to fund a second well. This time, however, we need your help. The more our community of partners, friends, customers, and networks share with #SpredWater on social, the closer we’ll get to building the water project. One share equals $1, and we need $10,000 to start digging.

Check out the progress of our efforts here, and add your voice on social with #Spredwater to help bring clean water to those in need. Can you think of a better reason to share?

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Rachel Jamail leads the brand marketing team at Spredfast. Find her on Twitter for a random assortment of thoughts on marketing, yoga, books, and her two favorite (yet very different) football teams - the Texas Longhorns and the Harvard Crimson.