Financial Stewardship

Using resources wisely to serve more people, more effectively

Stewardship matters. We believe good financial stewardship is a cornerstone to bringing lasting change to our world’s most vulnerable. That’s why we’re committed to transparency and providing you with the information you need to make wise choices in your giving.

Lifewater Stewardship Pie Chart

Resource Allocation

80 cents of every dollar in our current budget (FY 2018), a full 80% of your donation, goes directly into our programs. According to Charity Watch, a non-profit organization is considered highly efficient when its program percentage is 75% or higher.*

Investments in fundraising help reach more people, yielding a 10X return on every dollar, and administrative expenses help ensure the organization runs efficiently and effectively every day.

*Ratios based on FY 2018 budget estimates.

Program Costs

Our Vision of a Healthy Village goes beyond building wells. Together, these six areas of program focus transform communities for good with safe water, sanitation, hygiene and the hope of the Gospel.


Lifewater Program Costs



We work with the community to build a sustainable water source to last for generations.


Sanitation (Latrine Illustration)


Lifewater staff shows how open defecation is making people sick and how they can change.


Community Engagement

Community Engagement

We spend time building relationships and activating resources already in the community.


Monitoring & Evaluation

All field activities are tracked in real-time using cloud-based data collection tools.


Illustration of a man and woman looking at a clipboard

HQ Functional Support

Programs are supported and managed by a small team of technical experts at Lifewater.


Gospel Outreach

We partner with church planters to bring the Gospel to unreached people in the 10/40 window.


Results Matter.

Program spending ratios only tell a small part of the story.
The bigger question to ask is, “Does this charity make a demonstrable impact with my gift?”



Lifewater’s approach is the culmination of 38 years experience in water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and exhaustive research of best practices in Christian community development. And it’s working. To date, more than 85,000 people in 185 communities are actively involved in the Vision of a Healthy Village, making changes that will last a lifetime.

See Real-Time Results >

Lives Changed.

You can give with confidence knowing your gift is changing lives. Our data shows that for $40, you can change one life forever with clean water, hygiene training and safe sanitation. That gift opens a proven pathway out of poverty, transforming families and villages.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you can’t find an answer to your question, please contact us.

What percent of my donation amount goes to water projects and programs?

For fiscal year 2018, we are budgeting 80% of our expenditures to be used for program expenses. The remaining 20% will be split between administrative/management expenses and for fundraising expenses.

Administrative/management expenses are used to ensure that we are effective in managing the funds entrusted to us, and include the following types of expenses: accounting personnel, leadership time, professional development of staff, external auditors, legal counsel, government registration expenses (we have to register in every state in the Union), credit card fees for processing donations, bank fees, database maintenance and office expenses.

Fundraising expenses generate the income needed to do the work that we set out to do. These include the cost of direct mail appeals and communication, marketing projects, donor relations personnel, and email communication systems. Last year, every dollar invested into Lifewater fundraising efforts resulted in $10 of donation for the organization. This ratio is best in class.

I want every dime to help those in need.

While we understand that sentiment, this simply is not what Lifewater does. The good news is that there are organizations that give directly to the world’s most economically disadvantaged. Organizations like GiveDirectly and others simply take your donation and pass it to people in need. Some experts believe that this works very well, though the information is early and not wholly conclusive.

Other experts, however, believe that providing safe water to the world’s rural poor is the most cost-effective way to alleviate poverty. That is what we do! We have professional staff that receive fair and reasonable wages for their work. Treating staff at all levels well is critical to reduce burnout and increase retention. Take a moment to meet our team and see who is planning, monitoring, evaluating to ensure that your investment will make a lasting difference.

How much is your Board of Directors compensated?

$0. All members of Lifewater International’s Board of Directors serve voluntarily, and travel to meetings at their own expense, including lodging. They believe in our mission so much that they are willing to invest their own time, talent, and treasure to help serve more people, more effectively.

Your materials are so nice. Why do you spend so much on printing?

We spend less than 1% of our total budget on printing. We are able to do this because of strategic corporate partnerships that we have with printing and paper vendors who donate a significant portion of their goods and services to Lifewater in an effort to keep our costs down.

Furthermore, we believe that we have the tremendous responsibility to represent the vulnerable children and families that we serve in a positive and dignifying manner. This takes intentionality on our part, from the design of materials, the messaging we share, and even the paper that we use to tell their story in a compelling and truthful manner. If your company is interested in helping us decrease our overhead expenses by donating goods or services to Lifewater, please contact us.

Recent Water Projects