The Largest Donation in Who Gives A Crap’s history!

5 min read
WGAC donation announcement

We're so excited to announce that WaterAid is the recipient of our biggest donation to date from our incredible partners Who Gives A Crap! Not only is this their biggest donation to date, but it is our second biggest corporate donation globally in the last 2 years. With the increase in toilet paper sales, Who Gives A Crap has been able to donate $5.85 million dollars to charity, including WaterAid. ⁠

Who Gives A Crap have been our amazing partners since 2013, supporting our global sanitation projects and changing lives. This latest donation will ensure we continue reaching the most vulnerable and marginalised in society during these challenging times, and that we can continue our life-changing and life-saving work.

To celebrate the donation, we sat down (virtually of course) with Co-Founder Danny to discuss all things toilets!

Firstly, what led you to a passion for sanitation?

I’m a lifelong toilet user, but never really thought about them until about 10 years ago. I was working at, a non-profit innovation consultancy, and partnering with organisations around the world to design products and services to help alleviate poverty. One of my projects was designing toilets for the urban poor in Ghana. That’s where my love of toilets began! Now, I’m a total fanatic. 

There's so much that goes into toilets – there’s chemistry, there's physics, there’s design. And then there’s the cultural aspect. I just got back from India, and the way they use toilets is radically different from how we use them in the US, where I’m based, or how someone might use them in Kenya or in Cambodia or in Germany or in Japan. A community’s cultural relationship with waste is so unique. There is no universal toilet. For a designer, that's fascinating.

And then, of course, there’s the fact that toilets save lives. Toilets have saved over a billion lives since they were invented. Toilets are just incredible. 

Can you tell us what it’s been like with people stocking up on toilet paper and the demand for your product reaching an unprecedented level?

It’s been exhausting and exciting! In the middle of March, we had an 1100% increase in our daily sales and sold out globally. As we moved our website to sold out, we turned on an email sign up so that people could be notified when we were back in stock. Immediately, we rolled up our sleeves to figure out how we could get TP to as many people as possible on our huge waitlist – over 600,000 people! By the end of May, we’d moved through the whole list. 

It was a whirlwind, but the best part was seeing how generous our customers truly are – both with us and their communities. So many people shared their spare rolls, it was amazing!

How are you managing with such amazing growth during a pandemic?

When we first started Who Gives A Crap, we all worked remotely. In fact, it wasn’t until about two years ago that we had any office space. In some ways, we’re really lucky because we’re used to this way of working. Even without a pandemic, we hold most of our meetings over Zoom because we have teammates across four continents. While these uncertain times have certainly had an impact on our working lives (especially those of us with kids!), we’re pretty well suited to roll with the punches.

You’ve visited several of our country programs. Can you share a memorable experience from one of these trips?

I love seeing your work in the field! It can be hard not to be shocked by the challenges – there are a lot of basic things that communities don’t have and it's visible.  But I think there’s another way to look at it. Music is blasting, people are out in the street having a good time. They’re spending a lot of time with their families outdoors and eating delicious food. I'm struck by both the need for things like toilets, but also by the optimism and the grit. My colleague Cat and I were visiting your team in India, as I mentioned, and we accidentally crashed a wedding and started an amazing dance party in Delhi. That doesn’t happen in Melbourne...

What are you most proud of from WGAC’s partnership with WaterAid?

We are all so proud of the relationship we’ve developed with WaterAid. You are our first partner! You believed in us and our donation model back when our annual donation was only $2,500 (which was incredibly exciting for us at the time). And, of course, we’ve always believed in the amazing work that you do to bring clean water and sanitation to communities all around the world. I’m most proud that we’ve proven to our earliest believers, like WaterAid, that it really is possible to make a difference in new ways.

You’re one of the real success stories and well-known companies in the consumer-driven philanthropy sector. Do you see consumer-driven philanthropy growing in the next few years?  

We hope so! One of our goals as a company is to show that people can make a real difference with their everyday purchases. At the end of the day, we want to inspire other companies to prioritise giving back as a part of their business model too. We’re here to prove that doing good and having a successful business aren’t mutually exclusive. 

You provide most of your support as unrestricted funding when many other donors prefer to restrict their gifts to certain projects. Can you share why you have chosen to take this approach?

Our support is unrestricted because we know that we’re not the experts when it comes to serving the needs of rural Cambodian villagers or farmers in Kenya. We look for partners that have proven their ability to have an impact, and lean on them to know where money is most urgently needed and where it will have the most impact. That way we can focus on what we do best – making products that do good and feel good.