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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

charity: water OneOnOne Experience

Gold Honor in Non-Profit


771 million people in the world live without access to clean water, and our goal is to educate people on the water crisis. At a time when people are inundated with endless scrolling and a limited 2 second social media attention span, our goal was to reinvent the storytelling experience through direct messages. We decided to cut through the noise and create a first-of-its-kind-interactive storytelling experience to increase time spent engaging with our channel, drive qualified traffic to our homepage, and utilize the conversational design to reveal insights from our audience and potential audience and inform our future content strategy.

Strategy and Execution

charity: water partnered with Huxly, a woman-owned tech company, to harness the power of social media in a brand new way. The collaboration brings the water crisis to life in Instagram Direct, delivering an interactive conversation that meets people where they are at.

During the month of December, audiences were able to embark on the powerful digital journey with charity: water to Zimbabwe, via Instagram Direct. The interactive experience, called a OneOnOne, was triggered by sending charity: water a DM with the password “let’s go”. From there, audiences were taken on a virtual trip to Zimbabwe, guided by charity: water’s creative director, Tyler Riewer, who introduces them to real people and real places along the way, including a teacher, a drilling supervisor, and a community leader named Fungai who is helping her community, especially the girls and women, thrive.

The immersive digital experience was designed for the end of the year giving campaign to educate and empower audiences to understand their role in ending the water crisis. Audiences could travel to a community without clean water 🏫, visit an active drill site 🚧, and spend time in a community with clean water 💧 conveniently without leaving their home, right in Instagram Direct.

The experience was customized in real-time in a choose-your-own-adventure format, using options, open-ended questions, and multiple-choice questions throughout to continually personalize the storyline as it unfolds.

Judges: To try the charity: water OneOnOne experience: 

1️⃣ On your phone, open Instagram and search for the account @oneonone_cw

2️⃣ DM them the password, let’s go — that’s your ticket to adventure

3️⃣ Enjoy your trip!


The results of the digital Instagram experience were exceptional, with a 71% engagement rate and people were spending an average of 4 minutes with 1.68 sessions. 46% of the audience were deemed "super users," dedicating an impressive 8 minute average time spent with charity: water and choosing to come back of their own volition on average 2.44 times. At a time when most social posts are viewed for fewer than six seconds, if at all, these numbers are very strong. 

The response rate to the open-ended and multiple choice questions was 90%.

41% of people came from an ad, inviting new people to learn about the water crisis.

The campaign achieved a 26% CTR and an impressive 8% donor conversion rate.

And we received so many glowing comments. Here are just a few:

Clean water can save so many lives! I didn’t know children were so affected by the water crisis

I didn’t realize clean water would impact education as much as it did

Everything stood out…the people, the project, the contractors. This was really cool doing this with you!

First of all, this experience is incredible. Thank you for creating this. I’m thinking of the photo where the woman is bent over trying to pick up the water bucket. She’s attempting to hold it with her chin and legs while her baby is on her back. I’ve held something in place with my chin before, but it’s never been a 44 lb water bucket. The reality of that image stood out to me.

Loving this experience so much!


Video for charity: water OneOnOne Experience

Entrant Company / Organization Name

charity: water


Entry Credits