As a landscape professional, you’re probably more aware of the value of water than many people outside the industry. Without water, what would we have to mow, rake, prune, or manage? Would there even be a landscape industry? Without water we’d all have to trade in our tractors!
In the US water sustains our lives and our lifestyles and has allowed us great progress as a nation, but we now tend to take it for granted. In developing countries, access to clean water means women can work, children can get an education, economies can grow, communities can thrive, and babies can live. So as you go passionately about the business of saving water and money for your customers, think about the worldwide impact you could have if you could give some of that water to people in need.
Water charities abound these days, so picking one to contribute to can be daunting. I made it easier for you by researching 50 of them and narrowing them down based on the sustainability of their business plan, efficiency of their organization, and high levels of accountability and transparency. Ask yourself what you value most in the landscape industry then find your best charity match below.
You’ve been using environmentally friendly landscape practices since way back when “green” was just a color. You don’t just focus on what works now; you care about the health, longevity, and impact of your work.
Your charity: Water For People
Their slogan is “Everyone | Forever” and they mean it. The goal of WFP is to bring safe water and sanitation to everyone, forever. WFP empowers members of the communities they work in to decide their best water solution, build it, and maintain it. Getting community members involved ensures the water system will fit their needs, use local resources, and stay operable long-term. It also improves their health and economy while empowering them to meet their own needs. The list of corporate supporters is long and full of familiar (respectable) names. Learn more at waterforpeople.org.
You want to work smarter, not harder. You’re always the first to know about new technology, the first to develop more efficient processes, the first to test out a new product. You probably installed central control back in the ‘70’s. You can find a technological solution to any problem.
Your charity: Water Is Life
While most water charities aim to provide long-term solutions to the water crisis, Water Is Life works completely differently: they fill in the gap until a well or filter system is available. How? With the coolest device ever, a filter straw that stops waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery, guinea worm, and diarrhea by removing particles as small as 15 microns. They distribute these inexpensive straws to every person in a village to provide them with daily clean water while a partner organization works to solve their long-term challenges. How cool is that? Learn more at waterislife.com.
Safety is your #1 priority and you have the impeccable record to prove it. You can’t imagine missing a day because of an injury. You’d much rather be on the job than filling out insurance forms, so you set a high safety standard for your employees and coworkers.
Your charity: Blood:Water Mission
Bringing clean water to a village is only a benefit if the villagers are healthy enough to drink the water and maintain the source. With that in mind, the goal of Blood:Water Mission is overcoming the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. The organization provides prevention, treatment, and support for HIV/AIDS as well as safe water access, and hygiene and sanitation training. They rely as much as possible on local infrastructure and resources, empowering Africans to live healthy lives and build healthy communities for the future. Learn more at bloodwatermission.com.
Whether you’re the CEO or the Foreman, clean fingernails just don’t make sense to you. Your dress code is whatever doesn’t show dirt, because you are always up to your elbows (or knees) in the latest project. If you have a desk, it probably misses seeing you.
Your charity: LivingWater International
All charities are happy to take your money, but LWI goes beyond that and takes volunteers to Central America and Haiti to solve the problem themselves. This 6-7 day trip is no vacation; volunteer teams work side-by-side with local residents and LWI staff to drill wells, repair pumps, and teach good hygiene and sanitation practices. When it comes to providing a solution to the world’s water crisis, this is the ultimate hands-on involvement. Learn more at www.water.cc.
Now it’s up to you. What statement do you want to make with your business? What culture would you like to project? Supporting a charity that aligns with your professional values is not just a warm-fuzzy idea, it’s a smart business move. If you have a favorite water-related charity that didn’t make the list, leave us a comment below, tweet it to @h2oBloggers with #L&L or leave a message on Facebook at Water Bloggers.
A print version of this post was published in the March 2013 issue of Lawn & Landscape Magazine. I really like writing about giving water. If you like reading about it, check out my December article in Lawn & Landscape, “The Gift of Water”.