Does founding a non-profit organization require the same skills as founding a traditional start-up company? Are the most successful social entrepreneurs as skilled in personal reinvention as the top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs?
Yes and yes. Take, for example, charity: water, the meteorically successful non-profit organization founded by the charismatic Scott Harrison. Four years ago, Harrison was a nightclub promoter making his living by selling $15 bottles of vodka for $350 at four in the morning. Today, having raised over $40 million, he is running a global non-profit dedicated to solving the world’s water crisis.
So how did he do it? As Harrison told me when he came into the TechCrunchTV studio last week, it required both radical personal reinvention and an understanding of the importance of marketing in building a new brand. Sounds familiar? Yes, the worlds of the non-profit and for-profit entrepreneur are uncannily similar. The only difference being that one is the business of making money and the other in “business” of giving it away.
This is the second part of my interview with Harrison. On Earth Day (last Friday), he explained to me why water changes everything.
The reinvention of Scott Harrison
How to build a non-profit brand
Experiencing radical generosity
Harrison was born an only child in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Charles and Joan Harrison. His family relocated and he was raised in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. When Harrison was four years old, his mother was exposed to carbon monoxide from a cracked furnace installed in their new energy efficient home. His mother’s immune system was destroyed and she became an invalid. As a result, Harrison grew up taking care of his mother and the household. He credits his family’s...