It used to be that to do your bit for charity, you’d file through some old clothes, throw them into a bin bag and lug them to the nearest charity shop, hoping that someone would see them in a new light, pay a few pennies for them, and in return you’d get to clear up some space in your wardrobe.

Not anymore.

Those of us on Twitter and Facebook can’t escape the “tweets” and “invites” from the charities looking for our cash and our attention. The savviest ones, like charity:water, are using social media to offer a level of transparency and accountability like never before, and throwing in a fun time to boot.

A few months ago I went to along to Twestival – an event organized via Twitter by charity:water and held in over 200 cities worldwide. For a $20 ticket, I made a donation to clean water projects in Africa, mixed with other social media geeks, and danced to super-cool DJ’s Eclectic Method.


Twestival was a perfect example of a movement/cause starting online, generating a load of buzz and then culminating in a gathering of like-minded individuals offline.  Everyone I spoke to at Twestival was a self-confessed“social media addict”, many of them working in advertising/media/marketing and wanting to “do their bit” whilst still having a fun night out. As would be expected, people were tweeting here, there and everywhere with tweets displayed on a big screen.

As the Twestival motto so aptly puts it “”

Twestival re-entered my consciousness recently when I received an invite via Twitter to “watch us drill the first Twestival drill in Ethiopia” where from the comfort of my laptop screen I could see where my money went to, right down to the drill bit spiraling it’s way into the dusty Ethiopian soil. I was even invited to email questions for the community that was being helped by charity:water.  Wow: talk about seeing where your money goes. See more footage here.

Only downside? I’m going to have to find another way of clearing space in my tiny Manhattan-sized wardrobe. Hmm.

one of the charity:water projects in Kenya


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