24 Apr 2012
The Adventure Project is a not for profit which had one chance to get a $25,000 matching grant to help bring clean water and jobs to India. What I love about Becky Straw and Jody Landers’ story are the simple lessons they provide for anyone wanting to be a successful thought leader.
Did they achieve their objective – you’ll have to read on to see…
But what they did provide for me are four telling tips for people wanting to be thought leaders.
Provide your audience with a great solution
Apparently over 30% of the wells in India and Africa are broken. Most wells break within the first two years, and there are no mechanics or spare parts to fix them. It was this problem that drove The Adventure Project to come up with the following solution:
“We created a partnership with Water for People, with a goal of helping them to hire and train 186 well mechanics in rural India. Once those mechanics are trained and working, they can sustainably provide clean water for 930,000 people.”
Thought leadership thrives on simple messages
In order to address this solution, Becky and Jody came up with a simple, singular and powerful message for their fund raising efforts:
“It only takes $550 dollars for you to help one person to become a well mechanic in India. That person will receive the tools and training to maintain 50 wells, ensuring clean, sustainable water for 5,000 people.
“Obviously, there’s a lot more to this business model, but we didn’t want to bog down the reader with everything but the kitchen sink. We wanted individuals to feel empowered by a simple solution and understand the basic facts.”
Thought leaders know their audience
Did Becky and Jody know their audience?
Damn right they did:
With only 1,600 email subscribers and 2,000 donors they had to reach people personally. They knew that their best responses come from emailing people directly and while this is time consuming, it was worth it. The night before World Water Day they enlisted 200 people who agreed to blog or share their message online.
These 200 people were the key drivers behind the campaign’s reach and were responsible for $14,000 in donations through their personal fundraising pages.
What I like about Jody and Becky’s approach with their audience is that they made it personal. No spray and pray here.
Thought leaders provide the tools to share
The goal was to make it easy for their supporters to grab and share the message. On World Water Day they had three interns thank donors via email, while attaching a Facebook cover image. This was to make donors feel appreciated and part of our team.
The end result
So did Becky and Jody get there?
You bet – by 11 p.m. they crossed the $25,000 mark which triggered a matching grant from TPRF. Over 500 individuals contributed.
The $50,000 they raised will create 100 jobs for future well mechanics, bringing sustainable water to nearly half a million people in rural India.
Great work and some wonderful lessons for aspiring thought leaders.
Hi, I’m a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications. Please check out my book: Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership, follow me on twitter @thoughtstrategy or join me on LinkedIn.
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