At the World Domination Summit (#WDS) conference over the first weekend of July, the conference founder, Chris Guillebeau, rather radically decided to give the $100,000 they made in profits back to the participants.
(Read the full story, and watch a video of Chris’s astonishing presentation here.)
Each of us attendees got an envelope with a $100 bill (cash!), and a note inviting us to put the funds to good use.
“Start a project, surprise someone, or do something entirely different–it’s up to you,” said the note.
My first thought was to donate the money to a good cause. The founder of charity: water, Scott Harrison, gave one of the most moving presentations at the conference, and I knew that my $100 could pay for clean water for FIVE people.
When you grow up with clean, running water, like I did, you just kinda take it for granted, but millions of people around the world don’t have that luxury.
And yet, we have it in our power — right now — to bring clean water to every single person on the planet. That is exactly the goal of Harrison and charity: water.
$5,000 pays for a well for an entire community, which comes out to about $20/person. In other words, a $100 donation to charity: water means FIVE lives dramatically improved, FOREVER.
Lives like Helen’s, whose story was the climax of Harrison’s talk, and which I’m excerpting here from the charity: water website:
Before she had clean water, she would wake up before dawn, take her only two 5-gallon Jerry Cans, and walk almost a mile and a half to the nearest water point, which happened to be at a school. Because there simply wasn’t enough water for the area’s population, she’d wait in line with hundreds of other women who also valued clean water. Helen’s only other option was to skip the wait and collect contaminated water from a pond.
Helen spent most of her day walking and waiting. She told me each day she’d say to herself, “How should I use this water today? Should I water my garden so we can grow food? Should I wash my children’s uniforms? Should I use it to cook a meal? Should we drink this water?” With two children, one husband and 10 gallons, Helen had to make choices.
I saw the shame in her eyes when she described how she would return from her long trek to find her two young children waiting for her. They were often sent home from school because their uniforms were dirty. Helen just never had enough water.
After charity: water dug a freshwater well and taught sanitation and hygiene to Helen’s village, her life was transformed. When then-Water Project Manager Becky Straw visited Helen’s village to assess the work of the well-drilling company, she was greeted by Helen and the other women of her village, singing and dancing in gratitude.
“I am happy now,” Helen beamed. “I have time to eat, my children can go to school. And I can even work in my garden, take a shower and then come back for more water if I want! I am bathing so well.”
A few of the men chuckled to hear a woman talk about bathing. But all I noticed was Helen’s glowing face, the fresh flowers in her hair, and the lovely green dress she wore for special occasions. Touching her forearm, I replied, “Well, you look great.”
“Yes,” she paused. Placing both hands on my shoulders and smiling, she said, “Now, I am beautiful.”
I don’t think I was the only one in the theater reduced to tears by this story
Those tears gave me an idea. What if I could do MORE with my $100 #WDS “investment refund” money than just donate it?
What if I could turn that $100 donation into ten times as much? Or a HUNDRED times as much?
That would give water to 500 people!!!
THAT would definitely be putting the funds to good use!
I’d already pledged to give up my birthday for charity: water. Instead of a party, instead of gifts, I want people to donate money to charity: water, to bring clean water to people who don’t have it.
When I realized that my birthday was just over 100 days away, that sealed the deal.
My Birthday Challenge was born!
My goal: in the 46 days leading up to my birthday on November 5, 2012, I want to turn my $100 refund from #WDS into 46 times 46 — $2,116!
Can I do it? With your help, I believe I can.
Millions of people don’t live to see their fifth birthdays because they don’t have access to clean, safe water. Together, we can change that!
I’m asking for a contribution from everyone I know — click here to match my $100, or give $46 in honor of how many years I’ve been on the planet, or $20 to fund clean water for one person, or $5 in honor of November 5 — any amount helps.
And every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund clean water projects in developing nations.*
Even better, charity: water will show us exactly which projects we funded once they’ve been fully completed (which takes about 18 months). That means we’ll be able to see the communities we’ve helped!
Again, my goal is to raise 46 x $46 ($2,116) by my birthday, November 5.
There are 99 days left to go. Please click here and join me to make this birthday count.
I’m currently scheming up some nifty “premiums” to give to donors at different levels. If you have something you’d like to donate (a download, a consulting session, a piece of art, a song — anything you wish), send me an email!
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
* That’s right — 100% of private donations go to water projects, NOT to administrative costs. The smart, savvy and forward-thinking folks at charity: water have found corporate sponsors to pay admin overhead, so every penny you and I donate goes where it’s most needed.