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Girl Getting Water Girl Getting Water
Wheels4Water

Water, Passion, and a Heart for Doing Good

Since 2014, Wheels4Water has raised more than $950,000 and helped more than 18,500 people receive safe water, sanitation, and hygiene training. How did we do it? We combined our passion for making an impact with storytelling and networking and began fighting the global water crisis in tangible, lasting ways.

Capabilities

  • Research and Strategy
  • Brand, Logo, and Identity
  • Website Development
  • Video and Animation
  • Digital and Social Media
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Infographics and Illustration
  • Print and Annual Reports
  • Events and Promotion
  • Environments and Signage
  • Design for Social Impact

The Challenge

During one of our discovery trips to Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa, we saw firsthand the devastating effects of unsafe drinking water on individuals, families, and communities. We were shocked to see how entire generations were affected by waterborne diseases and infection, with little support from the local government. The faces and stories stuck with us, we knew we had to do something. Upon returning home, we began brainstorming how we—a branding and creative agency—could make a difference.

Boy Washing His Hands at a Well

2.5 billion people lack adequate water sanitation

2.5 billion people lack adequate water sanitation

Handwashing at a Well

1 in 3 people globally do not have access to safe drinking water

1 in 3 people globally do not have access to safe drinking water

Research

We spent months looking at the variety of ways nonprofits raise awareness, activate people, create engagement, and increase donations through events. In this research, and with our experience of working with nonprofits over the last 20 years, we knew a true and authentic story that people can get behind and participate in some way would be key. Along the way, our research showed us the advantage a bicycle could be for those in these developing communities when it comes to fetching water. We wanted to combine the best of these ideas, our ability to tell stories, our passion to make a difference, and partnering with a great nonprofit as our path.

Boy Riding a Bike with Jerry Cans
Image of Jerry Cans
Woman Pouring Water

The Solution

Our research gave us the idea of creating a fundraising bike ride where supporters could sponsor each mile we rode and participate by following us in person, virtually or socially. Our initial goal was to provide 1,000 Africans with safe water and sanitation resources. Along the way we created opportunities to filter our own drinking water from natural sources and spread the word about the need for safe water and sanitation. We hoped the ride would spark a movement for ordinary people to do what they could to raise awareness and funding for those in dire need of clean water—and it did . . . year after year!

Wheels4Water Logos

We created an overall Wheels4Water logo and brand, making sure that each year this could be adapted to that year’s theme and the specific country it was supporting. This flexibility gives each new ride’s promotion and story a freshness and unique identity, which was vital as we traveled all over the country sharing the story and encouraging people to join the cause!

Behind the scenes shoot
Justin speaking at fundraising event
Video shoot

This flexible system applied to so many items, such as their website that could be customized and adjusted to reflect each year’s branding yet still maintain a visually aligned look from year to year. Other examples include our fundraising posters and jerseys.

Digital media has been integral to Wheel4Water’s storytelling strategy from the beginning. We use videos to show potential donors and advocates the reality of the world water crisis and solicit their support. We also created hundreds of social media assets to educate and inspire audiences to get involved.

Wheels4Water Social Media Post
Giving Tuesday Social Media Post
Shot of W4W Mobile Post

Proven Impact

Countries Served (Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda)

Africans received safe water, sanitation, and hygiene training

$ K

Raised

Jerry Can Carrying Shot
Wheels4Water Tshirt Design
Wheels4Water Print Collateral
Wheels4Water
9 Days for 9,000 Kids Group Shot Design
Donation Thank You Post
W4W Icons
Wheels4Water Social Media

Each yearly ride also featured a fundraising custom jersey that promotes the cause, the supporters, and is designed to help keep riders safe on the road.

Wheels4Water Activations

Over the six years of Wheels4Water, we created gallery shows that highlighted a sampling of the work and messaging created for the cause. Viewers would walk away with an understanding of how they could make an impact and gain a new perspective on the need for clean water. For several years, Wheels was the official cause of the event at various conferences and helped share with thousands the need to combat the world water crisis. That also gave us the chance to host an immersive look at one girl’s journey to find water through pop-up banners and a 360º video experience.

Recognition

Our work for Wheels4Water has been recognized by a number of publications and design organizations including the Webby Awards, Communication Arts, HOW Design, The White House—and Fast Company chose Wheels4Water as a World-Changing Idea.

This project has been recognized by: