2016 Survey Results

We Asked, and 201 of You Answered

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2016 Supporter Survey! We’d like to share a summary of the responses. This survey will help direct the Water for Good communications, programs, and fundraising for the next two years! And FYI, this survey was open to anyone… not just current donors, so the responses reflect a diversity of opinions and levels of background knowledge about Water for Good.   

We asked:

“Does Water for Good inspire you to want to make future donations?”

You answered:

86% yes
1% no
4% needs improvement
9% not enough insight


We asked:

“Do you believe Water for Good has a clear long-term vision?”

You answered:

86% yes
1% no
3% needs improvement
10% not enough insight


We’re making slow progress on this (it was 80% “yes” for the 2012 survey, and 84% “yes” for the 2014 survey). We’re going to keep prioritizing communicating a clear message of our long-term vision to you our supporters in the coming year.

Water for Good and Faith

We asked:

“Do you believe Water for Good, as a faith-based organization, does a good job of demonstrating Christ’s love in the Central African Republic?”

You answered:

81% yes
0% no
4% needs improvement
15% not enough insight


This type of question always generates interesting comments, and we thought we’d share a few of them:

One of you said: “Water for Good’s mission is concerned with aiding others, not themselves. This is a picture of Christ.” Another said “Absolutely, I honestly think that the way to show Christ’s love is through actively helping others.”

But not all of our supporters are faith-based in their support.

Not all of our donors are motivated by faith. What is important to them is that we show love and respect for humanity.

And some of you feel like we have room for improvement in being more direct in demonstrating our faith.


So we’d like to take this opportunity to share again why it is we say that we are faith-based. We’re Christian—as in we follow Jesus’ example to show unconditional love to the poor and oppressed…of any faith or none. Were committed to improving lives and demonstrating God’s love to people through reliable clean water access in one of the world’s most neglected countries, the Central African Republic. We believe that the wealth, knowledge and resources we have are not meant to be kept to ourselves, but meant to be used for good. And in the Central African Republic, where the vast majority of the population still lacks access to clean water, we’ve found a place to share those resources and imitate Christ’s love for the world.

We acknowledge that honest faith can be expressed in various ways—within Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions—a vision of belief and behavior that is common to all who confess Jesus as Lord. We take up our work in the Central African Republic with that in mind, seeking to reflect the love that Christ has shown us.

We asked:

“When you donate, does Water for Good say thank you in ways that you find genuine and meaningful?”

You answered:

76% yes
2% no
3% needs improvement
19% not enough insight


We try our best but we don’t always hit our mark! Some of you noted that it’s “…nice to receive a personal email to say “thanks” even for small donations” while others of you think we go a little “overboard” and would prefer we dial back the thank you’s a bit for small donations. We try to strike a balance!

We asked:

“Would you consider starting a fundraising campaign that would benefit Water for Good?”

You answered:

25% yes (50 people), 75% no (151 people)


We’ll continue to offer up opportunities for you to fundraise for clean water. Want to give up your birthday presents this year, and ask people to donate to a custom campaign for clean water? We can help you with that! Want to use our 5 Gallon Challenge initiative to raise awareness for the water crisis in your community? Just let us know. We’ll help you customize a campaign for your school/church/workplace/gym.

Charity Rating

One of you noted that: “It concerns me that Water for Good does not have a particularly high rating on the websites that provide information on charitable organizations” We in fact only have 2 out of 4 stars on www.charitynavigator.com, so calling that “Not particularly high” is rather generous (and quite diplomatic) of you. We don’t have the space to go into all the details, but there are three reasons we think you shouldn’t be TOO particularly concerned about this, although it is an issue we’re working on.

First off, the main points counting against us are that we haven’t had an independent audit of our financials in the Central African Republic for several years. Why? There was a civil war in CAR from Dec 2012- Dec 2015 and during this conflict our main offices were looted…twice. We lost significant amounts of documentation both times, making it nearly impossible to successfully complete an audit. We’ve since taken steps to begin to separate our US and CAR financial situation, so that in the future we’ll be able to at least pass US audits for our finances in the US, even if can’t in the CAR.

Second, sites like Charity Navigator can only measure the inputs, not the actual impact the charities make. So for instance, they might rank a charity higher if they only spend 10% of their donations on overhead, as opposed to a charity with a similar mission that spends 30%. But what if the charity that spends 30% has a MUCH more effective program, and delivers more results, despite the fact that they’re spending more on overhead? In the race to report low percentages spent on overhead, charities will often cut themselves short, delivering poorly coordinated programs with ineffective results.

Check out Charity Navigator’s own “The Overhead Myth” article for more information.
And finally, sites like Charity Navigator aren’t always accurate. For instance, in June Charity Navigator listed us as having a satisfactory “Donor Privacy Policy” on our website. Four months later, in October we were penalized in our rating for not having one, when in fact nothing has changed on our website, and our policy is still the same, still in the same location on our website, penalizing us 4 percentage points on our rating. We’ve submitted an appeal, but this can take months to get fixed.

Thanks to everyone who took our survey! We appreciate so much your thoughtful feedback and great questions, which help to guide this organization!

3 Responses to “2016 Survey Results”

  1. Terry A Howie:

    Thank you for the feedback. We appreciate knowing how the survey “came out”. Thank you, also for the explanation about audits – we kind of knew that since the CAR is in such an upheaval, but good to confirm.

    Terry & Lynn

  2. Nancy Erisman:

    Appreciate your transparency and all you are doing for the people of CAR and the Kingdom of God!

  3. Rebecca Gurnish:

    Thanks for the details explanation of the survey. I appreciate your openness.