Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of charity: water, shares his transformational personal story to inspire others to join his cause
When Scott Harrison tells the story of charity: water, the organization he founded to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, he often begins at an unexpected point: “I’m going to start by telling you about my mother,” he says. Harrison then describes caring for his invalid mom, rebelling at age 18 and moving to New York City, where he worked as a nightclub promoter “chasing after models and bottles.”
He beings with a personal story when his goal is helping audiences understand that "water is everything" to the people and economies of developing nationas “because his personal experience is at the core of his advocacy story,” said John Capecci and Tim Cage, the authors of “Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference.”
One of seven advocates featured in "Living Proof," Harrison uses his story of transformation from self-interested promoter to compassionate entrepreneur to inspire others to join charity: water in bringing clean and safe drinking water to the developing world.
“While writing our manual for advocates, we saw a video of the speech Scott gave at the 2010 Big Omaha tech conference,” Cage said. “It’s a great example of how one person can use his or her personal story to inspire thousands to embrace an organization and its cause.”
Since its inception in 2006, charity: water has brought safe, clean drinking water to more than two million people, and Harrison—once frustrated by the lack of marketing savvy applied to the promotion of life-saving work—is now applauded for bringing entrepreneurial freshness and creativity to the nonprofit sector.
“At the heart of the organization's message are stories like Harrison's. Like all effective advocates, he tells his story naturally, memorably and generously for a greater good. By the time he asks the audience, ‘Do you think you could make this your story?’ many already have,” Capecci said.