Success Story: The Bululu Well Project raised over $7k to provide clean, safe drinking water to Uganda

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Success Story: The Bululu Well Project raised over $7k to provide clean, safe drinking water to Uganda

Josh, CEO of Earth2, is on a mission to change the world before bedtime. One of the ways he’s doing this is by partnering with water project nonprofit Call To Care Uganda to provide the clean, safe drinking water the 1,200+ Obur Village residents deserve. Through an interactive and engaging online fundraiser, they were able to surpass their $7k goal using Givebutter. Josh shares his simple yet effective fundraising strategies, as well as:

  • Why they turned to Givebutter for their fundraising efforts
  • What made this campaign so successful (Hint: An interactive Supporter Feed!)
  • Tips, tricks, and lessons learned for building a sense of community among online supporters
“I volunteer for an organization who has used Givebutter, and I was so happy to donate on the platform that I started doing some research. It was so clear and clear-cut that [the Givebutter platform] actually is the thing that made me want to do this new clean water project. If you had not appeared, I'm not sure that Obur Village and the Bululu Secondary School would actually have water today. It was pretty much because you gave me the tool to make it happen in a different way that I just jumped on it... [Givbutter] just made [fundraising] so easy. Especially in a chaotic world, we need to have the tools for this kind of giving back to be easy. [Givebutter] gave us the tools to say, “This is about a community of givers,” and that was exactly what I needed.”

Follow along to learn more about this well-planned fundraiser!

Campaign at a glance

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Full video script

Rachel: Hey everybody! Rachel here with Givebutter. Thanks for joining us for another Success Story from the Givebutter community. Today, we are featuring a well project. They have raised over $7,000 for their fundraiser for a community in Uganda to help over 1,200 people to get the clean, safe water they need and deserve. I have Josh here with me. He's going to share why he turned to Givebutter, as well as tips, tricks, and lessons learned all the way to support the Bululu Community. Josh, thank you so much for joining and for sharing your success with Butter Fam today.

Josh: My pleasure, thank you for having me.

Rachel: So excited to dive in! To start, why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself and what this project is all about.

Josh: Okay! My name is Josh Chalmers. I'm the CEO of Earth2 (the number two). For me, CEO stands for Cheerfully Eager Overachiever. I don't love a formal title and that was given to me by my goddaughter years ago, so I have to treasure it and keep it. Earth2 has a mission statement which is “Change the world before bedtime.” Everything we do, whether it's for profit or nonprofit, is all about benefiting a nonprofit organization. I fell in love years ago with Call to Care Uganda, an organization out of Madison, Connecticut that drills wells. I just started doing initiatives and different kinds of fundraisers where I could see that “change the world before bedtime,” literal impact. We started by doing events that were two-and-a-half-hour cocktail parties and dinners. Then, for the first time, we tried this new way to raise money through Givebutter, and it was such a hit. So fast! We're already wiring the money to Uganda Wednesday. They're going to start drilling shortly thereafter.

Rachel: Amazing!

Josh: The process started on December 19th, and it's already about to happen which is incredible.

Rachel: Yeah, that's amazing. For those that maybe aren't as familiar with this cause, can you tell us a little bit more about why clean water? Why does that matter to you? Why is that an initiative that you're wanting to see that change happen before bedtime.

Josh: Well, part of it was motivated by...I have a lot of young people in my life, and I was starting to get pretty crazy about them not understanding what a gift it is to have hot and cold safe, clean, running water. That just kind of sparked me to think about whether we could make some of this very quick impact by doing these kinds of initiatives where it was a change the world before bedtime. So, by the time you got home from a party, we were already texting you and saying clean water is going to this village and you're changing lives in perpetuity. For me, the water piece of it was that it's not just about the water. What I learned from Call to Care Uganda and other organizations is that when you bring clean, safe water to a village—to a population—it changes the young people’s ability to go and attend school. It changes the ability to do merchant and market trips so that you could sell wears. It changes the health and hygiene of the whole community. It lessens the risk of death. The trickle down, in terms of developing and empowering that community, is absolutely impactful. It's happy—clean water flowing—but it's also a change of lifestyle and potential for wealth.

Rachel: It changes everything.

Josh: Everything, yeah.

Rachel: Going back to what you mentioned about doing something different for this fundraiser with Givebutter—what made you turn to Givebutter to pull off this successful fundraiser?

Josh: Well, I happen to volunteer for an organization called Project 351 who has used Givebutter. That's an organization that does amazing work with young people to teach them all about service and leadership skills. They use Givebutter and I was so happy to donate on the platform that I started doing some research, and it was so clear and clear-cut that it actually is the thing that made me want to do this new clean water project. If you had not appeared, I'm not sure that Obur Village and the Bululu Secondary School would actually have water today. It was pretty much because you gave me the tool to make it happen in a different way that I just jumped on it.

Rachel: That's amazing! So you were inspired by being a donor yourself.

Josh: Yep, exactly.

Rachel: Amazing. I'm going to go ahead and share my screen, so people can see your beautiful campaign here. I just want to point out a few things that stood out to me and then I’d love to hear what stood out to you. So, “change the world before bedtime.” Obviously, that caught my attention. That video was so touching and authentic. And the story, particularly, what I thought was so clever about your story piece was this—let's turn this into this. Are you kidding? That's so effective! I love that and anyone can do that in their own way, so I just thought that was gold. Then, the last thing that really stood out to me on your fundraiser was—Josh, how much you are using the new live Supporter Feed upgrades! You were commenting. You were loving things. You were reacting to people. You were celebrating all along the way, and it was so fun to see that back-and-forth interaction in real time. What stands out to you?

Josh: First of all, thank you so much for saying those things because it was an enjoyable experience to do that kind of interacting. And, so easy to not just press “thank you” or “love” or “like” but to also be able to say something special. A lot of these people... Who do we reach out to when we're raising money for causes? It starts with family and friends, right? Then it trickles down to people who you don't know, but it was such a pleasure to just feel like we were all part of this community of givers. One big, happy, generous, giving group. I appreciate so much that you made that possible as a tool here. Then I also—on the other pieces—first of all, to have the ability to put in a video... This video was made for us in order to do this. They sent this and took it and to not just have still pictures was great. I think that a lot of people responded when I posted this on social media. That video was what got them going right to the link and paying, so thank you for that. That was great. Also, I'm an English-Lit Major. Every chance I get to use that degree to write in a happy way and in a way that maybe inspires people...that was a pleasure to be able to tell a story. So, that was fantastic. These are really real, true pictures of just disheartening, tragic situations about this dirty water which is not just risking their lives...it's changing the community when you bring them the clean water that comes next.

Rachel: Absolutely. I love that you use the word “joy” because that really stood out to me. I could tell that you were enjoying yourself and so were all your supporters. They were having fun too, and I see that on the live Supporter Feed. You have lots of comments and emojis and all that fun stuff, so I love that your supporters were loving that experience too. I'm wondering if you have any tips, tricks, or lessons learned after your first Givebutter campaign?

Josh: Well, I will tell you the first tip is—and it's also a shout out to Rachel, who was a Project Associate Intern who joined the fun which not only widens your circle in terms of who's asking for money but also gives you a whole new kind of energy and perspective. I should also add I'm way older than Rachel. Any time I needed to learn about how to embed a video—thank goodness for Rachel for so many reasons! It was great. She really navigated this site beautifully. I also feel like your voice in it constantly—which was one of the reasons why I was commenting—is something that encourages people to borrow your passion for your organization or for your cause. If you just set it up and disappear, I think it's a message to people that you're not feet on the ground, making it happen. That's part of the, as you said, joy about this is that you're all in it together.

Rachel: I love that so much. I'm curious, what do you think is the future of fundraising for your next well? Do you see yourself using Givebutter again to do this? Or maybe as a hybrid for other events that you might do in the future? What do you think is next?

Josh: Sure! I actually do a lot of fundraising. Some of the things are bigger, some are smaller. I do it on behalf of other organizations on whose boards I sit and who's committees I sit. There are many groups—from New York to Boston, really—where my focus is that I know will be able to use the platform. I will do another clean water one in a heartbeat. After the run of this campaign, I was still getting—when I posted messages, sending people to the link to see that we got 100% plus a little more, I got 12 to 15 messages back saying, “Shoot. I missed this. Where can I give?” I decided why don't I use those people as the first donors for the next one rather than have them give. We had hit our goal, so we were going to have clean water. So why not just do another one? So we’ll have 12 to 15 first donors right out of the gate. Really, you just made it so easy. Especially in a chaotic world, we need to have the tools for this kind of giving back to be easy. I think an important thing to me too was that I was able to tell the story without making myself the hero of the story. It was really important to me that this was about Obur Village, it was about all of the generous donors, and it was not about me celebrating myself as a “Look at what I did.” You gave us all the tools to say, “This is about a community of givers,” and that was really exactly what I needed.

Rachel: I’m so happy to hear that because that is so important to Givebutter: that we're providing a tool that rallies community support because it is so much more powerful to give together than to give alone or to give just as individuals. I love hearing that. Just to close here, I’m wondering if you had one piece of advice for other Givebutter fundraisers, what would be your piece of advice to them?

Josh: Just one? I would say don't do it alone. It was really nice to feel like I had a team member in it. Not only because that extended our reach into our networks, but also it just sets that tone for community right away. Then, I knew some of the people that were coming because of Rachel. Rachel knew some of the ones coming because of me. It was just like this aggregation of donors beyond our family and friends. And, it’s more fun—really! To not be sitting at the computer by myself. To know that we're growing the circle of generous people together. I think don't do it alone. If you can have some help, build it that way.

Rachel: Yes, great piece of advice. Josh, thank you so much for using Givebutter and for sharing your Success Story with us today.

Josh: You're so welcome. Thank you for the tool to make it happen. You'll be hearing from me again!

Rachel: Okay, looking forward to it! To everybody else who's following along, thank you so much for joining us. Please remember to like, share, and subscribe to Givebutter's YouTube channel. We will see you next week for the next Success Story. Bye everybody!

View campaign: The Bululu Well Project - Obur Village, Uganda

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Written By

Written by
Rachel Mills
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.