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How An Old-School Nonprofit Is Learning to Tell A More Captivating Story


Jessica Leber

Fast Company Co.Exist

April 2015

The Nature Conservancy, a 65-year-old nonprofit and one of the world’s most well-funded environmental charities, doesn’t necessarily lack for resources to set up a fancy website. But sometimes, even it needs a lesson in how to hold the attention of the capricious Internet generation and tell its story better.

One of the group’s main focus areas is water. A few years ago, after conducting a survey, it realized a huge majority of people—about 70% of respondents—had no clue where their own water comes from. Some simply said "the tap." This was a bad sign.

"If you’re trying to protect the ultimate water source, which is the forests and watersheds that we all depend on, and the vast majority of the public has no idea—you have a problem," says Giulio Boccaletti, The Nature Conservancy’s global managing director for water.

A question from The Nature Conservancy's Watering Hole "Challenge"
A question from The Nature Conservancy's Watering Hole "Challenge"

A Note From Our Global Leader

Giulio Boccaletti


People have the power to shape policy, fight for healthy natural systems, secure their water at its source and challenge companies and governments to make the smartest decisions possible on how to manage water.

But these solutions won’t sell themselves. We must make water security a meaningful and personal part of people’s lives in order to drive communities, industries and governments to act. We have to get creative.

But how do we bring these “underground” issues to the surface when messages about the environment, let alone water, rarely make it above the everyday noise?

We need to harness the access, creativity and speed provided by our technologically driven, media-intensive, ad-heavy world to reconnect people to their water sources. This will require the environmental community breaking away from the data-saturated approach traditionally used to describe the global challenges we face.

The Nature Conservancy's Watering Hole site is the sort of engagement with everyday water consumers that we know we need to do more of. Read this article on Fast Company's Co.Exist blog to learn more about how and why we produced this new online experience.

And read my full piece on Greenbiz taking a look at how nonprofits are beginning to do more creative advertising.

Originally Posted on Fast Company Co.Exist

April 08, 2015