This paper will analyze the persuasive and rhetoric appeals used throughout the website of the organization Water.org. It will include a complete analysis of the website’s text and context to determine if the organization is effective or ineffective at convincing its audience of the main purpose.
Upon entering the website Water.org, the audience is greeted with a photograph of a young girl smiling with what appears to be a water jug. From her wardrobe one can infer that she is from a third world country and assume that the site is involved with benefitting this area. The words ‘SAFE WATER’ are placed over the picture and are strategically centered in the middle of the page to immediately draw the audiences’ attention to it. These two words serve to represent Water.org’s main purpose.
Two blue boxes labeled ‘Donate’ and ‘Get Involved’ sit underneath the short description of Water.org with the idea to get visitors to donate and get involved in the cause after learning about the benefits of safe water.
Above the main photo are six tabs that offer more in-depth information about the organization, media accounts, what the organization is doing to support the cause, etc. The site seeks to stay in connection with its audience and placing the email update request at the top of the page where it can be easily found supports this fact. This email update request uses key words such as ‘life-changing” to encourage participation.
Scrolling further down the page, one is immediately met with another photograph, but this time of a woman washing a dish with text that reads: Water gives strength. Beside the photo on the left sidebar quick facts are listed to support the urgent need to act. The middle portion contains visuals, such as videos, to gain credibility.
The word ‘water’ is used frequently throughout the homepage to enforce its main purpose. The color scheme of blues and greens gives a cool and tranquil effect that encourages the audience to slow down and take their time navigating through the website.
Water.org is founded by Gary White and Matt Damon. Gary White, co-founder of WaterPartners in 1990, has years of creditable work and educational training. Famous actor Matt Damon witnessed the writer crisis firsthand when filming a movie and founded H20 Africa in 2006. In July 2009, H2O Africa and WaterPartners merged to create Water.org.
The organization is ran by board and staff members based in the US, India, Kenya, Indonesia, and Peru. The site gives short biographies about each person and their credentials, most coming from years of experience within their professions.
The main goal of this organization is to make clean water more accessible for women and children, and to improve sanitation in underdeveloped countries. Villages designate women and children to fetching water so this crisis affects them the most. Water.org wants to make people believe that those in crisis will live healthier and more efficient lives through their donations and involvement.
The targeted audience for this organization appears to be people within developed countries, mostly women and the youth. This is made apparent in the photos, as they are mostly of women and children, and the information provided throughout the site. Parents are more prone to feel obligated to making a donation to better the lives of the children, as well as the women who work for their families.
The organization identifies the problem of limited access to water, especially sanitary water. It highlights diseases caused by unsanitary conditions, and the effects that the lack of water and sanitization have on its victim’s lives.
The site presents facts about the time and distance involved in traveling for water and finding a place to use the bathroom. The amount of time needed to fetch water and the lack of resources available to those in need keep the problems in effect.
Water.org incorporates statistics, such as how many are affected by water-related diseases, and includes stories and videos of real life people who benefit from the water provided by the organization.
The evidence is credible as it is of real people and their stories. The stories all pertain to the main issue—water. Resource links and references under the Crisis tab allow the audience to check the information provided for authenticity. Under the Solutions tab, quotes from local partners verifying the work and effectiveness of Water.org are also displayed.
Water.org offers a lot of solutions to the water crisis. After good hygiene practices and the importance of sanitation is taught to the village via seminars and training, wells are dug and a water pump system is involved.Water.org monitors and measures success and provides links to third-party evaluations of their programs.
WaterCredit is also offered by the organization, which provides small loans to individuals in need of water connections and toilets. Once the loan is repaid it can then go towards another family in need.
It is stated that as of June 2015, WaterCredit has given more than 2.6 million people in nine countries access to safe water and sanitation. Short stories of two women whose lives have been changed by WaterCredit are posted along with their photographs to better establish credibility. The audience is also presented a chart showing the steady rise of people with WaterCredit throughout the fiscal year. Out of the 2.6 million people, the statistics are broken down to show how many loans were dispersed, the amount of money disbursed, the main gender of borrowers, the average loan size, etc.
The creator seeks to evoke pity, a sense of shame, and trust from the audience. The images and videos of women and children both cause the audience to feel pity and encourages the need to donate and/or find ways to get involved. Facts about the types of illnesses caused by water issues and the manual labor involved in fetching it both evoke a sense of shame as we take our good fortunes for granted. This shame also encourages the site’s visitors to take action. Statistics, graphics, and the detailed breakdown of how the organization is going about making a change all help to build trust. To make the pathos more effective the site could use more heart-wrenching facts.
The creator is successful at appealing to the audience’s pathos and proves their success by showing the amount of donors through the Start a Fundraiser tab. To make the pathos even more effective the creator can include more quotes from those who have received help, maybe more from the children.
Many of the questions that run through the audience’s minds are answered through the Frequent Questions tab. Water.org explains where and how the donations are used, which are two of the main questions that donors will have. They also share information such as the address and tax ID and what makes them different from the other non-profits fighting the same cause.
Water.org includes an immense amount of information, however, I do believe that the audience must weed though a lot in order to find exactly how many people have been helped altogether. This is something that the audience would like to know upfront so that information should be made more accessible. Other than that, the website is extremely effective at convincing their targeted audience that fighting the water crisis is a great cause that should be funded.