The Solvatten Foundation is a social enterprise with headquarters in Sweden. It has one mission:
To provide people in developing countries with safe and hot water in a portable, environmentally-friendly way.
With a successful growth strategy underway in Sweden, Solvatten was ready to expand their presence in the USA. They were looking for:
- New marketing strategies to increase brand recognition in the US
- A list of potential US partners, and through this…
- Donors who would support their cause
Erica Krishnamurthy is Chair of the Solvatten Foundation. She came on board as the foundation was about to relaunch in the US.
“I desperately needed the help of interns and volunteers so that we could hit the ground running over here - because I had my head buried in paperwork, filing taxes and the operational side of things.”
To help the US Solvatten team, Cosaris reached out to our partners at the American University. A study program was organised.
Graduate students would come into Solvatten as research consultants. They would review the foundation’s social media strategy, identify speaking opportunities, create a list of suitable influencers to approach regarding partnerships and identify potential donors.
Cosaris managed the entire project as part of a larger study program with the American University.
“We held a few virtual kick-off calls with the students. I gave them the background on our objectives in the US, explained how they could help - and then they just went off and began work on the project. It was seamless“
At the end of the program, the student researchers would deliver a presentation with their findings. As it turned out, Erica didn’t have to wait long to reap the benefits of the students’ contribution.
“There was an immediate benefit early on, prior to the presentation, because they provided a list of suitable foundations that I could dive into straight away. They pivoted really well. If I had a request, they were very responsive.”
At the research stage, one of the greatest benefits to Solvatten was getting the insight and perspective of a younger generation - particularly when it came to social media.
“Where they had a direct impact right away was the social media aspect. I liked the generational factor. I had questions about Tik Tok… and the latest thing for younger generations. They quickly educated me on that!
They really dove deep getting solid statistics about our donors, the age group, the type of social media each generation focused on. I could use literally all of that information as a foundation. It was critical for us.”
The insights the students produced for Solvatten were detailed and immediately actionable.
Their presentation provided comprehensive analysis of the foundation’s target donor demographics and how they choose causes to support. It outlined strategies for social media marketing and engaging with volunteers. They created strategies for outreach, subscription, fundraising and corporate sponsorship - and they presented a list of individual influencers and organisations to approach as potential partners.
“I would work with this team again in a heartbeat. All that great information they pulled together in the presentation… We took all of that and applied it, and we’ve seen the numbers increase.”
The student’s data was valuable not just for the US team, but also for the core team in Sweden. David Wadstrom is Head of Public Relations and Communication at Solvatten HQ in Stockholm.
“We really appreciate the work of the students - and the American University. It allows more people to experience, from a practical side, how business and social entrepreneurs can take their mission and do something real and tangible with it.”
Erica admits that she was surprised at the detail and quality of the work the students produced.
“I thought it would be students trying to learn from us, and we would be training them. In reality, I ended up learning from them.
At every turn, I was impressed. I never could have imagined that they’d produce as much as they did. They superseded my expectations, and those of the Solvatten Foundation.”
What could your organisation gain from taking part in a study program? Get in touch with Cosaris here.