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64: Scott Harrison - You Have The Ability To Become Something Beautiful


In this week's episode I'm chatting with Scott Harrison, the owner and founder of Charity Water. Their mission is to make sure that every person on earth has clean water to drink. Scott shares his story of redemption and why he chose to create something beautiful by serving others and not letting his past define him. Check out Charity Water Here - https://www.charitywater.org/ Give the gift of clean water - https://www.charitywater.org/spring Grab Scott’s book here - https://www.charitywater.org/thirst

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey guys, it's reach our houses, and I'm here is my friend, Trent Shelton was origin, I live in the dream. Man you tell listeners why we're hanging out together right now we're going because we're launching my new podcast straight up and I'm supermax seller, add if you guys you're, not already familiar attract. He as millions and millions of fans all around the globe who come to him for a very you meek style of coaching yeah. Really rights are. The point is really I can put it from the heart and break it. Do those native mindsets breakin. Through of withholding you back in Mostar, we have People's lives for love that so you guys want here more you're, already listening on a podcast platform, go subscribe to straight up with Trent Shelton Short, let's go. Let's go.
One of the cruellest things that I get to see as part of my job is the manifestation of the product or products that I dreamed up and created and figured out how to do like. So many of you as a business owner, you get these ideas in your head and it is incredible to get to watch them come to fruition, and I started dreaming about one of our most popular products thus start today journal. I start dreaming about this. A couple of years ago I had been doing this daily practice based on several different people. I had heard about several different things and I'm gonna put them together into one daily practice, which was every single day. I wrote down the dreams I had for my life, but I wrote them as if they had already happened. There's something really powerful about claiming a goal as if it's already done, and I wrote down every day- and it was how I set my intentions and then I would post about it on social, and so many people are like what are you doing? What is that? Where do I get that journal? And I was like guys: it's not a journal, it's just a notebook, I'm just riding down the same thing every single day, but what I think is interesting, as business owners or creators is often times. In fact, most of the time your audience will tell you what it wants from you and I kept pushing it off because I was like you guys. This is not a big deal, but it was, and people kept asking for- and I finally just thought what if I turn this into a product- and I started to dream and plan- and I literally taped pictures to the wall of my office, of what I dreamed that my journey,
would look like in the intention behind it and I wanted the covers to be really pretty, and I wanted it to be something that you could do once a quarter and then, as you completed, each journal you'd have a stack of this evidence of how intentional you were about your life and we figured it out, and I mean you know some times we messed up on the shipping and sometimes we rest up on the interior, but we failed our way to where we are today, which is the start today journal in the hands of hundreds of thousands of people. So incredible such a blessing for me to be able to go on Instagram and see hashtag start today journal and see people all over the world using this practice as a way to aim in the direction of their dreams. So if you are not familiar- and you want to check it out, you can go over to the Hollis code, dot com forward, slash shop and find out all about my favorite practice turned my favorite product and, if you're not in the market, to buy remember that episode. Seventy two of this podcast gives you the exact step by step so that you can do it in whatever no
look. You have laying around for free you not to buy a product, but you should be doing this daily practice. It will literally literally change your life Welcome to the rise podcast, I'm Rachel Hollis and I felt a multi million dollar media company with a high school diploma and a Google search bar each week will be sharing tangible direct advice or inspiring interviews with the same intention, these The tools to change your life. Today on the rise podcast I'm joined by the founder of charity, water, Scott Harrison Scott has one of the most admired non profit in the world's Annie it out as a club promoter during King, everyday, doing drugs, smoking three packs every single day of his life. If you
ever wanted to hear a story about redemption about the abyss, to change who you are and become something new and beautiful, this is the episode for you. he's gonna. Think scott- thank you so much for joining us on the rise podcast today. He thinks we're have means when the Czech Yeah so I'm I've already told Scott. I will tell you as soon as I am. I am losing my voice. I know I sound a little crazy right now, so Scott is going to be a champion and totally carry this for us, which is awesome because stories so compelling and interesting. There are listeners who are not familiar with you. Will you tell us who you are and a little bit about how you got to the place you right now. I'm so. I am recording this from New York City. I live with my wife and two kids have a two year old and a four year olds that older boy, younger girl
get to walk about seven minutes every morning from our apartment. The office, which helps them on the road Latin led, an organization called charity, water and twelve years we have been fighting to make sure every single person on earth has clean water to drink and currently there about six hundred and sixty million people, the don't so one out of every ten people alive is drinking dirty water right now, as we as we talk, and I agree with that number to be zero, I guess I got into this through a pretty, not traditional path. I was actually a nightclub promoter in New York City for ten years and go I even farther I guess there there three acts of my life than the first act. Was growing up in a very conservative christian family Passport in Philadelphia raised in New Jersey, when I was four years old, there was a terrible
freak accident. There was a carbon monoxide gas leak in the home that we just moved into it, it made my dad my little sick and it completely destroyed. My mom New Year's day nineteen eighty she walked across the bedroom and should crumpled to the floor, and conscious and the blood tests review This massive exposure to carbon monoxide that it just happened over time as we were breathing in these invisible fumes and this new house- and that was really a moment where everything changed. My life mom went from a healthy, vibrant. wife and mother to an invalid wearing weird charcoal mass connected the oxygen tanks, living and containment rooms that were covered in aluminum foil in her clothes were being washed and baking said, twenty times, just really weird. I come from It means system as a result of messing up there the Scots as a kid was just the good christian kid
play by the rules. I played piano every Sunday in church in the worship band yeah. spoke. I didn't sleep around. I didn't drink at an cuss united. It did all the right things and then eighteen habits. And then act, two of life app and an end, you know it's it's. It sounds so cliche now, but I literally lived out the protocol sign experience by flip the bird to my parents. I slipped the birth of the church and like now it's my turn. K play by the rules. Did that thing now, I'm in a try, the other sex drugs and rock and roll thing I moved to New York. City actually did join a band of playing rock and roll, the band grew my hair down to my shoulders- start smoking drinking so Being around gambling drugs and that the ban ex up pretty quickly. We just disappear. Each other worlds.
drugs in its yet another cliche of that the Grunge banned the breaks up. Oh my gosh mathematics, but I had already moved to New York City at this point, and I and I came across this profession in New York. at nineteen years old, where I realized you could get paid to profession, we drink There is actually a job in New York City where you can drink for a living and make hundreds of thousands of dollars was called a nightclub promoter. And all you have to do is get a beautiful people, an immensely rich people inside the right clubs the right times and you could charge them. You could tax them astronomically for alcohol, that people would actually paid twenty dollars for a vodka so that it makes twenty cents to make where they pay a thousand. as for bottle of champagne, that cost fifty so I determined that I am going to read my in my active rebellion of rebellion style and I'm into become mere cities. King of nightlife sit at the top of all nightlife and I
I, that. I pursued that for about ten years, and I worked at forty different night clubs and you know I got. I got pretty close to the top. There were probably aid of us. They were. There were running nightlife in the city at that time, and I am you know, and on the outside my life great. I looked successful. I was dating girls who were on the cover of fashion magazines. I drove a Bmw, had a rolex watch, I had a laboratory retriever had a grand piano in my New York apartment. Like all these things that I collected, it felt like the markers of success, but on the inside I was writing It was so dark and depraved and degenerate and you know, I'm in massive user of cocaine, ecstasy, emptier may Ambien I've, a gambling, problem either pornography and strict club addiction. I smoked two to three pacts for ten years: coughing problem print
any vice that you might imagine, would come with a life in nightlife. I've. I've assume that are taken on at this point and I come to this realization on it occasion in South America, twenty eight years old and almost ten years in the business that I slowly, but then suddenly it seems. and the worst person that I did. I know as there is no one more emotionally decrepit and bankrupt theirs, When were spiritually bankrupts than I am, and I The trade every single foundational virtue Stay that I was brought up to believe it. Cs. I played my life forward, I mean I wasn't even travelled lived to be forty. If I kept this up and I might just die of a drug overdose- I just die of a drug overdose. But but if I asked we did continued on it my legacy, I might prefer absolutely leave one most meaningless legacies of any person on earth. I mean my tombstone could read here,
the guy who's gotten, a million people wasted yeah, I'm, who once that other tubes, gentlemen, anything there is there an amount of shame in that realisation. Like does that, I feel like that's. It is such a massive place of understanding to get you, like, ok, I've. I've hit the bottom but What is the emotion that comes with it because Miss often whatever you're feeling after Realisation actually feels like another way on your chest. Instead of something that's gonna propel, you shame such an interesting work. Might my parents you? to address depression over the years. That said, you might you know my car since was being seared, I used to hate dislike. the church language right. I'm, like my conscience, is not a piece of tuna here, I'm not throwing it on a skill. It ok, but in some ways that actually happen, I mean the voice did said. Hey this stuff is wrong: just got smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. Yet That little voice was in the corner of the room, and I threw myself on top of that interest. I didn't hear anymore.
I think it was less shame and I think it is more of a longing to come home. It was. It was this wild things were better back then, and to my own devices. Tonight I didn't do this well, it's almost that how you imagine that the in that parable in the Bible, the prodigal son like he's like my servant here, the servants at my dad's house like our living better than than the man. I made my own life and- and I want to come home- I miss that. So I think I may the spirituality, I missed faith. I missed virtual living as a kid. I used it, to help take here. My mom. I wanted to be a doctor. Second help other people and I'd gone so far from all that so I have this this realization and come back to New York City and, and I just tried to fix the problems because I'm still
parting for living in that was my job and I needed to do that to support my lifestyle. But I try to smoke less and sleep around lesson do less drugs, and I was cut it flailing and feeling and all that I read about this. A lot more in depth, the book, but there was a moment in nightlife, I'm dead dead. Cause me to leave the city for a couple weeks and get some even more perspective and in remember just just gimme a break from nightlife. I rent a car from the Newark Airport, on a one way one month, rental. I have no idea where I'm going and I just start heading north with a bow, our doers in a carton of Marlborough, Reds, read the Bible and I wind up in move him lake and made at this dial up internet CAFE with a bunch of like, Dell, computers, and I ask myself what would the opposite of my life? Look like not not
ten degrees shifter at twenty five degrees, shifter you're, not pivot. What with the extreme hundred and eighty degree opposite picture of Scots? look like, and I thought well, it would look like I quitted. Could all this stuff always crap that I'm doing and would go serve others for one year, almost as a tie, their penance for the ten years that I'd selfishly Wasted so, unlike ok, I'm apply to achieve and a terrorist organisation. I want to volunteer, I want to go to a poor country and see if I have anything to offer- and I never forget from this dial up internet cafe. I just start filling out these long applications to the humanitarian organizations I've heard of over the years to save the children's and world visions and samaritans person. Unicef and the peace Corps and I never go back to my life in your city. I liquidate almost every material possession than I have My dvd collection remember putting up two thousand dvds. The tyrant
in a single lot trying to just purge trying to start over and yeah dismay over the next couple weeks. I'm denied by off the organizations lighter, which kind of make sense rights deep unless they are like would know yeah. Of course, he did like he's drunk drug attic. Nightclub promoter like these are serious organization that serious people, but but I had actually gotten a degree it and why you in journalism and and I had been a pretty good writer, pretty good photographers one of these organizations, the one that hadn't yet denied me. Actually I later found out Rachel. They had denied me and then they had to go through the rejected applications because it couldn't filled the position. So so they call me up, and they say we have. This mission is a medical mission on a humanitarian ship and we're gonna Elsa, Liberia, the poorest country in the world and if you are willing to pay us five hundred dollars a month, and
you go live in in this country than than well, I wait we will meet. You want me to consider your volunteer. Isn't it vat is insane ok with a brilliant. so so this is. This is really the opposite of my life. Not only am I going to the actual single port, country in the world at that time, Liberia, had just come out of a fourteen year. Civil war led by trusting or in his child soldiers- and this was a country with no extra city, no running water, no sewage system, no mail system and why doctor for every fifty thousand citizens how my car. In Amerika we ve a doctor for every three hundred of us cloud for comparison. so not only going to the poorest country in what I have to pay to do it. This is perfect like having to go broke off doing it. So I'm like? Yes, I'm in here my credit card details and it happens so quickly. A couple weeks later, I'm on a ship five hundred twenty two foot hospital ship with three hundred fifty.
other doctors and surgeons and volunteered medical crew and support staff going into West out, to see how many people were going to be able to offer free For me and the minute I and everything changed for me and the minute I set foot in Africa. Oh my gosh. So so tell us a lot nine hundred questions based on just that story, but what I love and, and what I think is a really great piece of knowledge here is like I read something recently that sad, the price of your new life is your old one and I feel like that? Like me, I write like you want to make change in you, you didn't you just wanna make a little change. You wanted to make drastic change, and that means that you needed to do something totally drastic. When you decide Then too, oh by the way, I'm gonna go go to a sharp and we're gonna go to live like what
oh- by the way I'm gonna go, go to a ship and we're gonna go to live like what did you have? Support from people are where people are you're crazy. There was a lot of curiosity, but what what think surprised me, there were some people, they thought I was doing this just get girls, come on Scots, a humanitarian now like I just did below with this guy, like at four in the morning, in some shady after hours and like now he's off saving the world alleys right. There is definitely there is definitely a fridge element of. Pure cynicism, but I was right because I wrote a really heartfelt email about what I was hoping to achieve and how I wanted to change my life and turn around and most people sounded jealous Rachel like Well, I wish I could go do that. I wish I could be with a group of doctors who are giving up, Their time is volunteers. To you know in a hospital ships sailing into a country that needs help like tell me how it goes like tell me how I can join. Tell me how I can give money
so I was really surprising, and that was that the beauty, but what one of the reasons I wanted to write thirst for the reasons I wanted to come and get my story Davis. I really believe that, No one is passed, No one is unredeemed and an end. I have picture after pick all of these things in my life than had been redeemed almost in a moment and then So, for example, I rolled in to Africa with ten thousand influence people on my night club list same people that I've been getting wasted for ten years, like Mick Jagger was on our email. You know and back then email open rates were like a hundred percent, yet somebody got it so you know they went from getting invitations to the product mega store. Benny and so her or empty bees, party or Cosmopolitan magazines party. They were getting images of people with leprosy people. with cleft lips and clap poets children with with giant faced
tumor, suffocating that kid drinking dirty water, so I was able in a moment to kind of redeem the people here that the tribe that I had collected over ten years and tell them a completely new story, a redemptive important story about compassion and sacrifice and and giving and and to my surprise, most of them were really receptive. You guys, after months of waiting and a year of writing. My new book girl wash your face, is finally out the world's I want to thank you so I urge every single one of you who has bought the book on E book or a physical b or on audio. Your support means the world to me and if you are list- to my podcast, and you haven't yet brought the book you're dead. To me now. I'm totally kidding
but I am serious about how important this book is, I keep talking about it because by some we believe there are tools in it that can help change your life so you have the sixteen dollars. I want you to go, buy it right now, because you love your power rage and if you don't heads the library or borrowing from a friend care enough to listen here. You're gonna love the wisdom inside of this book girl wash your face. I promise you will not be sorry. You did. I love that to it such a great example of the idea that when we change ourselves we are when we change ourselves for the better. We inevitably start like the ripple effects of that start to change our community and the people around us, and even those first people who saw the email who thought and I'd love to what. If I
You know what a what is my thing look like what, if I change my life, what if I did something different? I think the peace that you didn't mention that I love to bring up saving is really relevant. Is you are having some pretty bad health problems too With a number of senior at we will talk about tax. I am also someone who has worked themselves. Until they got physically ill and nobody, it was like the medical mystery nobody could solve so that Lay resonated with me. Yeah so right before I went on this trip to South America. Pathway body just goes numb and I start going to Neuro surgeons and getting him our eyes and connecting. answers to my arms and legs, and no one can figure out what's wrong here. My mind partners like do want to lay off the cuff here, how an end not three packs a day of cigarettes down to like one and a half ahead and
yet. I said so that that just started happening in a member, I would run my hand under burning hot water, and I couldn't feeling you like. It called my hand without any sensation ass. I could just smashed a hammer and adjust. It was none There was bizarre hen, the I remember settled David Lee was in the middle of the night, and I was I woke up I walked over to my computer and I started just try to sell Agnes knight, TAT, typed into Google, the time you're numbness and I instead of getting a medical expertise and I got like some sermon about how he know you could be completely spiritually debt and you remember that that would like us all a wake up call for me. I salt, lake, I felt mortal for the first time I mean I've been living like I was gonna live forever. Running around recklessly, and in I begin to us
some tough questions. Do I still believe in Heaven and hell like here, because I know what to do I been knocking on dried. if it was all still true? And so that kind of lead to you know that the reawakening of of faith and spirituality of morality- and I will say that before were. I walked up the gangway of that hospital ship before surrendered my passport in kind of became one of the crew. I quit it all. When I went out with a bang, I smoked packs of cigarette the night before at eight beers, money, doing interviews for the buck, people. The volunteers. Remember me turning up wreaking of alcohol like I just come from a bar, but that was that was it I never smoked again. I never touch coke again and never gambled again. I never looked at a pornographic image again I quit ever the immense drink wine and beer now, but I just walked away from others vices, and I believe that it had to be this radical, almost active obedience to to
into a new life need to turn the page to start over with a clean slate. And there was something almost prophetic or symbolic about walking up the gangway of a ship and imagining the gangway being returned. and then sealing off to a new continent to a new life in leaving all that crap. All that detritus, pint LAO so you get to Liberia and you're using these connections that you ve made two to help the cause along, tell me how you get from that place to one of the most notable charities that exist,
In the world today they are next. Women's conference is only a few weeks away and if you have never attended before this is the events that will change your life rise is a three day: women's personal development conference, where we laugh until we pay our pans, and we talk about things that we cry and we find community and we create the road map to changing our lives or our businesses or whatever it is that you're working on. If you want to find out more your curious, what it's all about, I highly recommend you go check out the instruments and see what our community says. You can hear it straight from them, it's at, let's rise, dot, co and, if you're looking for the next one, it's happening in Toronto. On March this through the seventh that's Toronto March. This, through the seventh check out all the details at the Hollis code, dot com. If you have been looking for a nudge, if you have been looking for something to kick start change, I promise this is the thing well.
tonight I was with doctors and surgeons who were maxilla facial surgeons and The first year was really spent documentaries. This unbelievable before and after photos. by unbelievable, I mean you know, imagine a fourteen year old child living in a country with no access to medical care, with no surgeon in it in a broken country and placed it to operate actually were to surgeons in a country of millions, but had no place to operate. To effect, There are no surgeons, so imagine a fourteen year old child suffocating to death with a four pounds, tumor that that is fair. his entire mouth and pushed out his tea via an end. terrified that he sees. joking to death. Effectively on his face. and then these amazing surgeons come in and they remove the tumor and they they sell em back up and they, given that a new John titanium Plate and he's restored back
so I'm taking these photos of kind of extreme radical, horrific suffering and then the joy that comes with with joy, in the hope that comes with them, with these healing so that's kind the first year non blasting, my club lesson, of course, or someone subscribes. Hooper like this is gross like leprous, you don't send me that I and I wanna go- hang out the Shell party, but most privacy, ninety percent. It like this is amazing. How do I do I give money. to pay for a surgery like that we're? How would I join you on the ship? So The first year goes by and in the second year I get off the ship, and I spend more and more time in the rural areas out in the villages out in the bush, and I see the water before Drink Rachel and it's disgusting People are drinking from brown discus swaps from ponds, dirty rivers that look like they're they're flowing with chocolate, milk,
kids are awaiting through algae physically. Contaminated water. You were dead, Half of the sickness through and the drinking world might call the third world half of the sickness is. Throughout the developing world, but some people might call the third one half of the sickness is actually caused by dirty water in Alaska, sanitation and hygiene, and I learned that half the country two percent of the people in Liberia drinking dirty contaminated water, so I just put this is very bad- such things together. People are really second his country to such stent that our doctors were turning away, thousands of patients four would come so many people would come for help that the waste never have doctors. We didn't have enough operating theatre, speeding up enough bets on the ships hospital. we would turn away. Thousands of people, many of them who had worked for a month,
That actually walked for from a neighbouring country. Often with their children in the hope of seeing a doctor that could save the child's life and were saying we don't have enough doktor sorry come back next year if the kids do life, so I'm I'm just putting these two things together will maybe the root cause of so much of the sickness that were seen is The disgusting water, the people are forced to drink, as there is no clean water in these villages. and I think it was it was. Specially a contrast for me because in my club, life I was selling bottled water for ten hours, a bottle like its vast. You want sparkling- are still kite. And people would buy five or ten bottles in the club. They wouldn't even open the water there. Just let it sit there cuz, they were drinking champagne, a bike instead. so I just couldn't believe that not only have this country we're living in was drinking bad water, I then learned at the time it was a billion people. Worldwide
One billion people, one out of every six people alive on the planet, was drinking water This just became the problem that I wanted to soften I'd. I see a lot of things but This was not okay on my watch, not if I could do something about it and what I left you- and I just want to point this out for it. Cuz that we do have a lot of listeners to have dreams of working with nonprofits are building their own, and I think that the really important here is that you were not treating the sims. It was a I mean you were. You were in a space where you are doing this medical care, but you went back to the cause, and so often I think, in the nonprofit space and in the charity space we are trying to treat the thing that happens instead of backing up and fairer What causes it in the first place, so I just love. I was one of the reasons I love. What you do is that you're, not you're, not you not
just doing the medical work after the fact you're actually trying to get it before it causes health problems. yeah so that that was. That was how I found my way to water. Now I had my mission, but then I needed to figure out how to actually make an impact and The problem was so I'm thirty, I just and two years, twenty eight to thirty with the mercy ships and now I'm I'm living cleans. I come back to New York City unrecognised, about to so many, my friends and because I'm not parting with them, But I am also broke, and I find out that my my best partner in the clubs never paid our taxes normally dissolve our small escort so I also find that I'm thirty thousand hours in debt well I'm sorry. Now these eggs are Ebro, although all the unopened mail is in the bathrooms, like you, wanna go the over that, like more power to you right,
is it, but you can you can crash in my apartments, I was crashing spare room and then the closet floor of actually living on a closet floor in laughter. Your city, thirty thousand dollars and tax debt and just decide. I'm gonna start this thing in faith in the I get in a play patiently. Immediately with the arrest and I'm file, those back taxes, I'm running around everybody I'm showing them some of the photos that I'd taken over the last couple years, with his laptop to saying help everybody on earth, get clean water to drink because of the press, TAT. I was born into into a middle class family. You fill it out I never had to drink, dirty water, I'm the five out of six. But I want the one on ethics and what I learned guess what is a budding entrepreneur in this moment this wasn't gonna be easy because but didn't trust chairs and as I type
to everyday people write these were not institutional philanthropists. I talked to just the public. People like man, I don't give the charities, I don't trust charities, they waste money. The chair a black holes. You never know how much actually gets to the people in the end, he's charity seers. They pay themselves millions and millions of dollars, and some of them higher their cousins and their family members, and- You know everybody seemed to have a scandal. a story, they could pull out of their back pocket and say this is why we dont trust. This is why we don't give- and I learned It was real data behind this USA today I think it was had pulled Americans and forty. Two percent of Americans said that they actually dont trust checks and where you had done, another study found. Seventy percent of Americans thought charities wasted money or at best or badly wasted money. So this shocks, people rikers, because no one more generous than Americans. We have this cultural heritage of philanthropic support. and generosity
Seventy percent of the people in the country that reports, charities wasted money, Well, that's what charities are the business doing is turning money into impact. So I thought: okay, the system. I can't just jump into the traditional system, which seems broken but I wonder if I could start with a clean piece of paper and do something very different. Do something very knew? How would I win the cynical How would I win the seventy percent? and say hey what we ve got a different business model here, combat to the table, give it a try. Take another look at in some ways you know I was at- and maybe this will help people unpaid. Where I was uniquely unqualified, to do any of us I would be the last person that you would expect. Twelve later would have raised a third of a billion dollars. You know for charity and helped eight and a half million people get clean water on the what I was living on a closet floor, thirty thousand hours in debt with no charitable exe
and set off the chest. There was like this this holy discontent like I felt there was responsibility to do something about what I'd seen and and to make, impact in this issue, so having the clean slate and like ok, well, It seems that the biggest problem people have is with money. So what? If we just promise that a hundred per cent of every donation we ever took? would always go to help. People get clean, we're gonna build projects to get people clean, and people like well, that's a stupid thing. We ve ever heard. How would you actually pay yourselves someday or your staff Sunday S office and, like I don't know, but I'm an open up to bank accounts and we'll figure that out separately. So every donation, whether somebody gives a dollar a hundred hours or a million dollars. It all goes crazy. You can't use excuse with us how much money will go to. The answer will always be one hundred percent
now is pillar number. One though an amber too was ok. What if we ve actually separated out the overhead than money is no longer fungible. It doesn't just go in one big pots, so we can actually use technology to track what we do, With these doors we can show people where the money goes and we started by putting every water point up on Google Earth and Google maps. So we could show people the satellite images of the actual water projects as they were built. So proof became this pillar and then the third thing was. I just wanted to build an amazing looking in feeling brand, as as I did, the charitable sector, I saw anemic brands. I saw lame websites, bad email, marketing. I saw the shaman guilt left over you, you may members commercials worth with there, The flies right, leaning on the african kids as they looked up with sad eyes in slow motion and the aid on a number comes right is just with its its.
it's not you build a brand. First of all, you don't wash the commercial go, tell your friends about it, but you certainly don't wear a t shirt of the charity, its. It's almost as if your night, what a market thereby and by telling Americans Hau fat and lazy. They were oh by the way you're pretty stupid. When you turn off the tv and go for a run right, please by our clothes? Why you go your way? Go Jack? If you don't wanna be talked like that in an that's, not would like he's done, they ve centres greatness inside you You can run farther and faster than you ever thought possible. If you just give it a try and they tell stories, are people overcoming adversity and Climbing mountains, you have lost legs are playing basketball, you ve lost arms, and something is like. I want to tell my friends about that. I want aware that logo, yet I won a line with a company who might believe that there's something greater inside makes. So I had that vision from day one. Kind of wind, simply calling people too radical. compassion and generosity and say you
you care more than you think you do. You have a higher capacity to care. You have a higher capacity to to help you labour and need to give generously and- and this should be fun- in fundraising what are the first three letters not knock down raising its. It's not shame raising is guilt raising time raising. You know should be a joy. It should be a blessing the language states that so common our culture now run giving back. This makes it sound like we have pillaged in plundered to such an extent, tat, we. Finally, she probably throat you scraps back to the poor right give a little back. what are we to so good? I haven't thought about that before, but you're so dropped back just dropped back. Let's talk about giving frame it in the positive. Our company are family. Our fate community has a culture of giving giving because we can giving out of because we ve been blessed more time and talent nor money, because its edge
not out of debt or obligation. we're just gonna- put all these things and then for the fourth pillar was not to send anyone that looks relevant and sustainable. It must goals in each of these countries. Public works on our role can be getting. May I just I do believe that for the work to be culturally relevant and sustainable. It must be led by the locals. In each of these countries. Public works on our role can be getting people with resources to care about their neighbors suffering around the world without clean water, to raise money as efficiently and transparently as possible, but then the actual work that way carried out, by Ethiopians in Ethiopia? Right? Yes, and it can? We do we dig into that for just one quick second, because there are some people listening? Who don't have your experience with nonprofits and this work in other countries? Can you explain why it's important
If you are giving money, if you are supporting charities that you will look for, can you will look for people who are doing work with local community leaders, not us going too other country and telling them what we think they need. I think you just said it right and that no one, no one listening to that disagrees with that. I think you know, you can. You can make a mess of things. If you come in with your own set of ideas, there was it. There was a book once Conway, and burden the professor outer, then, why you wrote guy a Billy's Julie, any talks about planners and the searchers, and the planters like came. We got this all figured out right, we're just gonna come and drop. Our ten point plan of action developments, am you in, and he gives an example of a charity dead What, like I don't know a hundred thousand solar ovens, they re killing
you shouldn't be using fjords expensive. Its dirty, causing upper respiratory, accusing charcoal and burning down. Trees is not good, for the environment is not good for your lungs, so I'm gonna give you sorra ovens. Well. Nobody use them because gets cold at night in people keep themselves warm by the fire and the fire is a social issues second, the social fabric of the community, and that's it stories we talk, so you had, they actually gone in searching right. Anne and gone in humbly asking you know. Maybe they would a pilot a hundred of them, so Look, I didn't gum locals? Probably would have told you may notice Geneva so revenue around here and gave this isn't a good idea and in other contexts it's a great solution. Writer me with the right training, the right discussion or the community involvement. It could have worked. So yeah so that that was the last poor so give away a hundred per cent per
two people what we ve done with their money, build an epoch, native, inspiring hopeful brand and then work with local partners end They want to get this thing started. I just through a party in a night club, the only good idea I had at the time, as my thirty first birthday you now I love, but even that felt kind of redemptive, because you know how I got the club donated and I got the booze donated. We give everybody open bar for an hour and came to the club. I said please put twenty bucks in this Black Sea box and organ A hundred per cent of whatever's in this at the end of the night, tat too you can't be northern Uganda and we're gonna builder. these projects, and I ll never forget Rachel that night marijuana dealer walked in. put five hundred dollars in their backs, and he said this is the first charitable gift ever made in my life.
And like ok, we're onto something right, because there's no one more cynical than this guy now, obviously, that's it hot could be our donor markets. We raced fifteen thousand dollars that night and we took all the money immediately to northern Uganda. We did our first few projects, and we send the photos and the chief escort. It's in the satellite images back to the same, hundred people and said you did this. He came to a party, you put twenty bucks in a box and here is the clean water that you may have in a world away, and I was people were blown away simple feedback, loop and again people listening is to this essential basic like that's what we would expect us, what you did Blair money, but they have were expected to hear from a charity again in twenty dollars in a box, and we said this is can it be that differentiate her? This is good. What makes us unique and- and we would hope
to create a virtuous cycle of giving and generosity. If we can just show people that we that they made an impact. People want to help Rachel. They want to help these, don't trust the system We give them a system to trust we could show them that the sacrifice may be for some of those people. Twenty dollars was a lot of money. If we could show them that it actually meant something something good would happen not just for clean water, but maybe even for four other causes circle and that that was your birthday party. And then that became a part of your fundraising ray is that people would like for lack of a better description, negative donate their birthday to raise funds yet and that we just stumbled into a year later. I was thirty thirty two and when I guess I should do something for my birthday again, but the club I'm not a single doing another party, the night club that was a nice kind of four day one, but it doesn't scale. You know what
We get a thousand people, a clever charge from twenty five or thirty bucks. Thought. Why certainly don't need a party and I certainly don't need any gifts and only that he knows parasite sir attire, a wallet or no gift card. so what if I don't get my birthday- and I thought sticky marketing message would be that if I everybody. I knew to donate my age and ours and I love the thirty two hours was a mess in our, everybody. Even if they come to a party, they would spend thirty two dollars just on taxis, round trip and tips from the martyrs. So. Everybody, I knew you know, I thought had thirty two dollars and they could give to charity, especially they knew that a hundred percent was gonna, get there Now, to my surprise, after this emailing everyone, I knew this idea start spreading inhalers sky, given up thirty, given up his birthday and asking for thirty two dollars erased fifty nine grass, So then there was a oh wow, okay! Well, let's get other people to do this, because I am certainly not the only person on the planet with a birthday
who doesn't need more crap. with care. About human beings having clean water to drink, so I start telling the story and that September ninety two people join and there was a seven year old kid in Austin Texas MAX Mid Hauser and he starts knocking on doors asking for seven dollar donations he lived in a nice neighborhood, I'm not gonna lie but raises twenty two thousand I saw so bad and then an eighty nine year old, donates Herbert then she writes on our website. She said I'm donated I'm turning. Eighty nine and I'd like to make that possible from working Some anyhow, she gets it. She's lived double the later. Balancing of the people in so many these countries because of the privileged she was born into because of the the clean water system in the health care system that she was born in tune. Sheeting get to choose that any more than you and I got to choose where we were born or no six of the planet.
chose to report in a place where the water was dirty. So this idea just start to grow like crazy in a taxi used, are turning their birth. They will Smith J Smith, they donate their birthdays, It spreads your Hollywood and through silicon Valley- and you know, other people sitting I can't even wait until my birthday, the society, something else and peoples are climbing mountains or walking across Amerika in solidarity with the women walking my every day for dirty water in this way yeah, you wanta, raising over sixty million dollars in and helping our two million. people get clean water, gas. That's amazing, amazing and it you You guys have forget for not knowing the exact statistics here, but just in case you gotta understand this is not normal. This is not normal for especially for a new chair.
This is not a normal thing and you had seen every year you are seeing incredible growth in your fundraising. Is that right? yeah. We week we grew lights out. I mean eight eight years in a row we already raising millions out of the gate and you know the hundred percent model, I'm not gonna lie was harder. It is as we grew. We had to go and find donors who could get excited about paying for the overhang get excited about paying for the office and in I write about moments in the book where we almost went bankrupt and we were almost insolvent and we had all these opportunities to compromise that model or a compromise, our integrity and in a week We never wavered, I'm even to the point of of defeat, yet there would always be a mere. you know something would always happened. There was there was a moment where we almost shut charity watered down because we'd raised millions for water projects, but we couldn't make payroll and at TAT moment a stranger walks in Indonesia million dollars. Oh my god,
Is there so many stories and an end to this day in a three and three million hours later, we have never touched a penny of the public's money for anything except directly funding a water project and we ve funded the overhead separately in Now it's it's a hundred and thirty families who have come together in Seville One of our our staff are office. Are flights, your insurance, the the the total regarding Russia is for by a hundred and thirty families in it, entrepreneurs that people heard up. It's been the Facebook founders and spot, I found, earn twitter founder bunch of tea executives at apple and through Silicon Valley in and they have they actually had excited about helping us pay. Our staff and pay for the team and that's allowed a million people now to give in the most pure way and so, as you said, eight years of growth, and then we had our first down here so little talk about you know cause the first down here. Like do
yeah. We had two huge donors take a hidden or portfolio when company one company laid off ten thousand employees and the other donors stock take forty percent land. They said here, we love you, like you, get into the world's gotta, take a break this year repulse. So we couldn't PETE, some big donation to the previous year, and this felt terrible. We went from getting a million human beings, a million new people, clean water for the first time in their life. This is fit. Stadium for people. de Madison Square Gardens full of people in a single year to aid. thousand the next, and I felt like we ve. Let two thousand people, though and I had an existential leadership crisis, I tried to quit and higher professional, see YO and say: look I've tapped out I've taken this thing as far as I can, but I'm I'm not the person to lead this anymore. We didn't grow worse that we shrank and You know that. Does I write about all this in the book? There's a lot more to that, but
happen. Was I want I'm taking a month off because I was we burn down and I realized it so much of my identity was in the organization and that was really unhealthy. that when charity, what I was doing well, I was doing well, and it is always that, where anyone charity water, when my baby started, you know performing poorly. I was depressed and you know my dad actually conversation me said: workers Eden grow scattered. If no one study this before, like not all things, go up into the right forever. A guy like I've been in business. Thirty years, you have good ears yeah bad years. You have tough years he's like what did you compromise your values anyway? No compromise your integrity is no facts outside of pure donation revenue. It was the best year, the history, the organisation across all these other metrics. But we less people raise a boss. Ok, one should try again next year
I wound up coming back to work not quitting and the realisation was that we actually built the business model that I'm not talking about a hundred percent, but the birthdays that we're fuelling so much this growth for only donated one birthday: the charity, what s interesting. So while I worked rape, you would do in an inability people that are listing. We still. It is a great way to get involved that greatly for kids to get involved, but you'll do one yeah Rachel S birthday annual, raised money. You might build a well and you like cool. I did that now you I take the idea and go build a school the next year. expert, they or a health clinic you two three years now don't come back to us as a non repeatable idea and you took the box. You got your well for your piece of a well, so We keep finding new people every year and I was working as hard as I could. I was before us are having kids
did ninety flights in a single year and about a hundred fifty speeches, and I'm like I just I can't go- get anymore birthdays on the road like I just get. I can't like any harder. So what we, could he realizes what if we could create now flax or Spotify, the clean water? What if we could create a community that didn't give once but would actually show up for US month? and and month out, giving what they could threaten the birthday, the one undone, Netflix starts off every January, one knowing it's got a hundred and some millions subscribers right. Its growing from that base, but its keeping people here delivering content and deliver value system? Will what value could we delivered a people? How could we show them the impact of their gifts or they would sacrificial be able to give month after month? We cannot wait. We Kobza came back and built that at the end of year nine we called it the spring as you can tell from the title of thirst, I'm a big fan of double Antandrus
in the spring meeting this place of new beginning this time of hope and rebirth, and also the literal water. Her, the inner much of the water we drink, a springboard water from the rings, so we begin this community we anchored around thirty dollars a month. Which is exactly what it costs us on average across the portfolio to keep one perfectly water, and we started inviting people too thirty bucks him out there if they could give ten bucks a month. Here we will it's turning in their allowance money to their parents who then donated in and if they could, maybe they can give a hundred a month or a small business could give a couple hundred. It was really almost less about the amount, but the act of showing up ITALY and loyally kind of fighting for extended change, and this thing just started taking off again in the same way that the birthdays had it started growing. We recently added our hundredth country to the spring and its a call to look at a map and see people in Africa region
giving ten bucks. That's so rad, so this outbreak. So that's that's now that then lead so we coming offered down here. We go. the spring that lead Forty percent growth- that is incredible, so I want to point this out for those who are listening and your inspired by the work Scott is doing and super fired up about the idea of helping to make change like this and knowing that a hundred per cent of you donate we'll go too far clean water tell them. They can go to find out more to join this Britain Charity wondered at Org slashed spring so that we may that one simple charity. What about our slashed spring enough? That? Yes, it's a great way to help a really is in, and in some people don't know this, but we actually pay back the credit card fees some has given you know a hundred bucks, a man on their American Express. We get ninety seven. We actually make up the difference. Those hundred thirty families pay the three bucks
every month and we send the four hundred to the field that so called man I love I loved getting this answer. your story today and for everybody listening who wants to hear more this? This episode comes out on the day that your book comes out of school. Tell us tell us about the book, tell us about where they can get it and how your donating the proceeds, well yeah, so thirsty. Just damn it was two years in the writing. It's not short advocates. Ninety nine thousand words like guy down from one fifty, but it was look. I really wanted to to share my story and hopes that it would encourage other people I believe no one is beyond redemption. It's never too late to start over and you can use all of the dark or the mistakes, or maybe even the evil. In your past, in my case, and you can turn that for good, that actually can almost become you're you're superpower you're. It could become up a weapon for good
yeah. It's funny. As people have pre read the copy. Pre read the book. I get a lot of. Oh my gosh. You are a bad guy I mean oh, my guy, like I had no idea you put that in there, but I wanted to be transparent, so I think it a. Hopefully you read it and if anybody feels stock or feels like there defines. If I guarantee you are not as bad as me, I mean it unless you ve killed somebody. You know you you'd be hard pressed to find a more degenerates low life than than I was at the time, and you know now: I'm I've been blessed with this unbelievable. relax mission, I have a wife and two beautiful children, and I to travel around the world and preach generosity and compassion and help in a tree what has now happened? Four thousand new people every single day get clean water. Every single day of the year. When I come to work
we're getting another. Four thousand people clean water- it's not because a mere or our statutory, because of our community because of every day people out there, who said hey, we could do something about this. Let's actually not embrace the apathy you're, there could be so kind realising with a global issue, but let's donate a birthday was donate monthly. What's They are so I wanted the book to also be another way the people could donates. I turned away. I turned over my book advanced a cherry water in all the future proceeds. I will make a penny from the book even gave the money that I got to read the book in the audio lab and, like I want this to be clean, it's all gotta go. so in in buying about they are helping, and then I would hope that the people are gonna, be learning a lot more about water and K were already starting to talk about it, droughts in color, when you flip Michigan Cape Town and I think some of the stories about the literal thirst facing now attend to the world, and I think that that hope
would find them compelling and you are there so many stories of of women. You didn't. We didn't really talk about water, but one thing I've learned now over twelve years at Essen, I've travelled. sixty nine countries I have been to Ethiopia, thirty, six at times it, exclusively a women's issue, the men, the men, never get water, therefore, in Bangladesh, Pakistan or Danner South Africa, Honduras is culturally the job of the women and girls to fetch the water have you been clean, and yet this position the burden on the women who are often the had at their house, its women top reasons why girls don't get educated white girls actually drop out of school because they have to go for the water and you you they fall behind in their studies. It's it's also a reason. Why were not only bringing clean water to schools but also toilets discourse, so many girls?
puberty and they stay home. How yeah one wake every month Anders already pressure against them to be educated because you're so useful at home. So yeah they're, so many stories of both. You know that the south ring of women, but really the triumph when women get this time back yeah! That's the thing. That's always surprised me. as I travel around and I'm asking women girls and how you like different you down for walk for water here, you don't talk to that swamp. I would always expect them. Talk about the quality change your. We would look at water like this and its water. So dirty we wouldn't let our animals drink it we wouldn't let a hamster a dog drink it. Thank you, there actually not talking about dirty to clean as much there saying. Let me tell you what I'm doing with six hours every single day MA. To walk for water arms. I've got a new business, I'm selling rice the mark, and I was in Zambia and Zimbabwe recently with women who were selling rugs, that they were making earning an your income for their family and
it's just that in it. That's it amazes me all the stories are in the Balkans and I would hope that the distance our people, and it would also help people get clean water and Scott Harrison. Thank you. So, Thank you so much for taking the time with us today and inspiring all of us. The thing that I kept thinking, as you were speaking, was that old line said: God doesn't called the equipped. He equips the called and I just love sizzle of faith based podcast- will I just love seeing that manifest in real time. It's so inspiring to me listening, and I know too are listeners as well, so really appreciate your or in your wisdom and the awesome work. They are doing this, you point out, charity water is not a religious organisations and never has been an I I've been. You know that this is certainly birth. Out of out of my faith experience and it's cool that I get to live my theology out at work in
being watered people who actually needed. This is actually a lot of that in it. In the book tat I like to read and but but you know I never thought that people should have to do what I do on a Sunday to either work at the organization or contribute to the organization and, an amazing to see Muslims and choose, and Mormons and in our biggest donors an atheist. He thinks that I prayed to a figment of my imagination Given eighteen million dollars- and you come with me to eleven contracts with his shoulders and that's like it's a big tent. The there were really trying to build and were trying to invite everybody introduced to solve a problem. This big, you need everybody right now, people who, who might believe the same thing that you believe, but what's beautiful about both reinventing charity and about clean water is that everyone can agree to a great yeah. It's it's it's
like Republicans and Democrats, you might fight about every other possible. Make can say. Will you know why we dont think kids should be dying from swung, were ok and we don't think, did the kids need to believe anything special too to actually have clean and safe water drinks has been awesome. To bring people together from from different walks of life, actually unify them and say We can we can solve this. We could do this thing, this one thing together: Circa Haven, Thank you so much for your time. Congratulations on the new book is called thirst. It is today and everyone to go a copy right now to help support this incredible work. They are doing. These were happy on Rachel Car. We we'll be back with another episode next week in the meantime, do you have a moment and you can
right of review or subscribed to the podcast. That is a life to those of us who worked so hard to produce every single episode for more information. You can check out Deus podcast up com or stock me on every form of social media. I amiss Rachel Hollis on every single platform, thanks to our producer, Alison Cohen, are sound engineer, Jack, noble and are sound editor Andrew Weller. Most importantly, I hope you heard something today that in fires, you I'll see you next week. Ladies and gentlemen, did I mentioned. I have a book coming out. Here's the thing. It's called get out of your own way, sceptics guide to growth and fulfilment and we're the priest cell window of windows. I am super excited about having written a book for both men and women about twenty lies that I once believed that were keeping me in my own way. I have written from the perspective of someone that is totally different from Rachel Hollis, even if the format is somewhat similar to grow wash your face, I wrote it from the
respect for someone, who's been skeptical of tools like this book or even podcast you listening to for ever and ever its through that lands that I'm talking about the ways that I was getting in my own way and I laying in uncovering the truth behind those lies. Not only Help me get out of my own way: it I'll help you get out of Europe's. There are two ways I want to say. Thank you for preparing this book. I've created in the course of course, yes and iii course, a sixty minutes each course called finding your. Why it's a phantom stick resource, it's available absolutely for right now for having pure the book and- if you go to get out of your own way. The book that calm right now and Father not only we get a course. You can hear the first thirty minutes of the book again get out of
Conway comes out March. Tenth, I'm super super excited about it, get out of your own way. The book dot com hit that link follow the problems and I appreciate your support.