Corporate Philanthropy

CSRClick here to read our NEW report, Navigating the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector: A Guide for Corporate Grantmakers

The opportunities for the corporate sector to demonstrate leadership in WASH are widespread and allow for great returns on investment. This guide, developed by WASH Advocates, presents an overview of opportunities for corporations to leverage resources and meet goals effectively.

Focus Area

  • Private Sector Engagement/Market-Based Approaches; Sustainable development; WASH (general)

Key Findings

  • WASH programs offer a return of $4 in increased economic productivity and reduced healthcare costs for every $1 invested.
  • Tangible benefits for corporations looking to invest in WASH solutions include access to new marketplaces, mitigation of risk, increased brand recognition, and improved employee morale.
  • Strategic philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, cause-related marketing, and employee motivation campaigns are among the variety of channels available to corporations for supporting WASH.
  • Eleven case studies featured in the guide profile the winning strategies employed by recognized corporate leaders in the sector, including Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and General Electric.
  • A number of organizations bring together the public and private sectors to address the WASH challenge, including:, WASH Grantmakers Network, CEO Water Mandate, Global Water Challenge, and several water-related trade associations.

The global corporate sector has consistently and generously supported sustainable development work throughout the developing world.  This has taken place via many channels, including strategic philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, cause-related marketing, and employee motivation campaigns.

Corporations have a tremendous and timely opportunity to increase their support for safe, affordable drinking water, hygiene, and sanitation.  The water challenge is pervasive, so implementing organizations also have the uncommon opportunity to be very flexible in responding to corporate sponsors’ needs.

Many corporations are active in the area already.  The guidelines below represent a typical successful approach to the issue:

  • Learn more about the global water, sanitation, and hygiene problem and the opportunities to have a positive impact.
  • Define the business rationale for your company becoming active and supportive of this issue.
  • Research case studies about how other companies have engaged. See a list of case studies below.
  • Decide to engage. Identify specific countries/regions of interest and specific project opportunities in those areas.
  • Identify implementing partners working with on-the-ground projects who are able to scale up their operations in your chosen country(ies).
  • Agree on operational plan and begin work with a pilot project.
  • Monitor, evaluate, and scale up as appropriate.

WASH Advocates is a resource for your company when you decide to learn more and actively support this issue.  We will also work with you to identify implementation partners. Throughout this process, WASH Advocates will be very responsive to the sponsor’s needs and identify projects and partners which address those needs as closely as possible.

Examples of what large corporations are currently supporting in the sector include:

For additional information:

WASH Advocates | 1506 21st Street NW, Suite 200 Washington DC 20036 | 202-293-4002 |