024: Scott Harrison on Building charity: water From The Ground Up, Crafting Compelling Stories, and How Radical Generosity Leads to True Happiness

024: Scott Harrison on Building charity: water From The Ground Up, Crafting Compelling Stories, and How Radical Generosity Leads to True Happiness


In this episode I talk with Scott Harrison, he’s the founder and CEO of charity: water, a charity that is just over a decade old and broke all the rules when it comes to how a charity should operate. This has lead to over a quarter of a billion dollars raised which has provided over 7 million people in less developed countries with clean water. Their goal is that some day every human on earth will have access to clean water.

Today’s conversation is a little different as most episodes we focus on marketing, the client experience and other business building topics. Most of the conversation today relates to how to make an impact on the world around you and do the work that really matters. This is something I believe you all as financial advisors do on a daily basis, using that tool called money to help your clients create life experiences and leave a legacy behind for people or causes they love.

Here are a just a few highlights from our conversation:

  • We get into how radical generosity helped Scott understand true happiness and the secret to helping your clients experience it as well.
  • Next we discuss the 3 things Scott did early on to blow up the traditional charity model that was revolutionary to how charities functioned at the time. This has led to charity water’s backing from the founders of Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify as well as a number of Hollywood’s who’s who.
  • Then we cover the secret behind storytelling to create a movement and why sharing stories of failure leads to greater connection.
  • Lastly, make sure you don’t miss little 9 year old Rachel’s story.


Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!




  • [07:07] Scott shares his transformational story, from promoting top nightclubs in NYC to selling all his possessions and moving to Liberia – a country with no public electricity, running water or sewage.
  • [15:26] Find out what documenting as a photojournalist in West Africa taught him about courage and the single event that turned his charity experience into a $96,000 donation.
  • [23:39] Find out how radical generosity can help you unlock true happiness and fulfillment.
  • [28:00] Why are there 663 million people in the world that don’t have access to clean water? Scott explains the MASSIVE water epidemic that nobody’s talking about!   
  • [34:58] Discover the business model behind charity: water and how Scott’s team had to think differently about creating a sustainable and transparent solution to solve the world’s water crisis.
  • [43:55] Scott explains how he was able to turn 200 bucks into $250 million by  building an inspirational brand that focused on compassion, generosity and empathy, rather than shame and guilt.
  • [44:57] How he kept his promise to donate 100% of proceeds to people in need, despite nearly going bankrupt.
  • [47:19] The million dollar conversation that kept the lights on and the secret to crafting a compelling story that resonates with your audience.
  • [55:01] The incredible story of Rachel, a 9-year-old who’s wish to give, raised over $3 million and helped over 100,000 people get clean drinking water.  
  • [01:02:45] What was it about charity: water that made it such a powerful movement that encouraged people to make a difference?
  • [01:05:41] Find out what Scott would do differently if he had the chance to go back in time and talk to his 25-year-old self.
  • [01:19:06] Who is the first person Scott thinks of when he hears the word successful and why?
  • [01:10:25] Scott shares the one book that has had the biggest impact on his life and why it’s been a pivotal part in helping him serve those in need.
  • [01:12:06] The one piece of advice that has led to his success and his goal to someday return the favor of writing a million dollar cheque to charity.


  • Connect with Scott Harrison

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram



Elite Advisor Blueprint Review - Josh Cooms

Thanks Josh for the review. I do my very best to keep an incredibly high caliber of guests for the show, so LOVE hearing that feedback. For those out there who haven’t given a review yet, I’d love if you’d take a quick second to do so at bradleyjohnson.com/itunes and if you have future guests we need to have on the show, make sure to include them in your comments as we read all of them! Thanks for listening this week and we’ll catch you on the next show!


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