Charity done right (viral fundraising for charity:water)

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WaterForward was a fun project we did pro-bono at the Inferno this year. The challenge was simple - can you make a charitable site grow virally? But the solution of course proved to be a tough s.o.b. We ended up reaching about 5M people (explosive viral growth in India randomly) and raised ~$850k, with all proceeds going to charity:water. I did a writeup of the lessons learned along the way over the holiday break. It's definitely a rough/long read, but I wanted to go under the hood for those who geek out on the details ;) AMA!
I enjoyed reading your essay this morning, @shaanvp. Excited to read more monkey stories. What's the craziest marketing/product idea you didn't end up doing with WaterForward?
@ShaanVP cool project, thanks for sharing! The idea of getting people to click a lot and hear a story is awesome, and reminds me a lot of http://superhuman.io My gripe is this: the two conversion steps of the funnel (sharing and paying) felt unnecessarily clumsy. Why can't I just type in some people's email addresses? Why do I have to connect with gmail? Why do I have to fill in so much information on the credit card form? http://cl.ly/T7G9 Not to be overly critical - overall I think this is an awesome project and definitely worthy of it's success. It's just the product designer in me kinda cringed at the most critical two steps feeling a bit unwieldy
@rrhoover - craziest marketing/product idea... here's a few we had: A celeb-it-forward campaign. Basically, we would make a 1-click way to tweet at a celeb with a huge following who could help us spread the word. That way the twitter stream gets filled with "Hey Ellen, we need YOU to help us solve the water crisis!! + link", and eventually the celebrity tweets it forward to their mass audience. The viral potential was there, but we didn't feel great about the celebrity worship angle - it took attention off the cause.
@nbashaw I hear ya - we trialled a sickening # of versions of that portion of the flow. RE: Sharing with friends In the end, it's a #s game. By putting a harsh wall (connect your address book), you turn away MOST people...but a few people who are really motivated do it anyways - and they have over a thousand contacts, so the net viral gain is larger RE: Payments This form is pretty crappy - we definitely could have done better.