W I N E   T O   W A T E R   R E S E A R C H

Wine to Water Research

Kirstie Fleger

Meghan Hockaday

Jessie Metty




Wine to Water is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to raise money to help provide clean water to people in underdeveloped nations. They are headquartered in Boone, N.C., and work in over 16 countries.


Wine to Water was officially founded as a 501c(3) non-profit organization in 2007, but founder and current president Doc Hendley birthed the idea in late 2003. Hendley was bartending in Raleigh, N.C., when he decided to host wine tastings at other events at bars in order to raise money to give people clean water in other countries. Hendley travelled to Darfur, Sudan in August 2004-2005 and helped with clean water projects there. Hendley even travelled to war-torn areas of Sudan that were deemed unsafe by many in order to supply water to orphanages and rehabilitating many old wells that had stopped functioning. Two years after his return, he founded Wine to Water as a result of his passion and what he had seen in his travels (Wine to Water, Wikipedia, 2014).


Doc Hendley found success with the organization in 2009, when he was chosen as “Top 10 Finalist for CNN’s Hero of the Year”. Wine to Water received attention in the US and abroad for providing clean drinking water to “25,000 people in five different countries” (CNN, 2009).


Currently, the organization has partners in 16 countries, including Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Guatemala, Vietnam, Uganda, Syria, Haiti, India, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Peru, South Africa, Ethiopia, Columbia, and Cambodia. There are eight current board members, including Doc Hendley himself, and 10 staff. Hendley serves as the International President and Founder of the organization. David Cuthbert serves as CEO and President, and Annie Marion serves as Vice President. Wine to Water has “provided clean water and sanitation for over 250,000 people in 17 countries to date.” (Wine to Water, 2014).


The name Wine to Water comes from the Bible, in the book of John 2:1-11. It says:


“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.  When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’ They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’ What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” (Tyndale House Publishers, 2014).


Religion played an essential part in the founding of the organization and in Hendley’s life. On their website, there is a section for churches to go to with guidebooks and kits for them to hold wine tastings and fundraising events. It is apparent through this page of the website that they are motivated by the Christian religion, as it states, “At Wine to Water, we believe that the Gospel calls us to provide a cup of cold water to everyone in need (Matthew 10:42)” (Wine to Water, 2014).


The 2010 census for Boone, N.C., states that there are a total of 17,122 residents of the city (Boone NC Population Census, 2010). 91.96% of the population is white (Boone NC Population Cenesus, 2010) and the median age of residents is 21.5 years of age (City-Data, 2012). The estimated median household income is about $15,000 a year (Homefacts, 2012).


Wine to Water is not only headquartered in Boone, but they also have a club at Appalachian that seeks to raise awareness about the world water crisis among college students. It is vital to understand the environment that the organization is in to help them achieve their goals and go further as an organization.




The demographic climate of Boone differs vastly from the rest of the state of North Carolina. The average household income for the state is $46,450  and the median age is 45.5 years (US Census, 2013). 71.1% of the population is white (US Census 2013).


51.7% of Boone registered residents identify as Democrat, and 47.4% identify as Republican. Only 0.8% identify as Independent. In the 2012 presidential election, 50.1% of registered voters in Boone voted Republican, while 47.5% voted Democrat. This changed slightly from the 2008 presidential election, in which Democrats had the upper hand with 51.7% of the votes and Republicans with 47.4% (City-Data, 2012).  


In Watauga County, 28.8% of people are below the poverty level. In 2009, the percentage of people whose income was below the poverty level was 60.9%  (City-Data, 2012).

In the heart of Boone lies Appalachian State University. The total number of graduate and undergraduate students at Appalachian is 17,838. 55% of the students are female while 45% are male. 12% of students represent minorities, while the number of Caucasian students in the Fall of 2012 was 15,303 of the total enrolled students (Diversity at App State, 2014).


Considering the number of people below the poverty line residing in Watauga County and the number of people in Boone who are university students, fundraising could be a challenge in the environment for the Wine to Water organization. However, through the Wine to Water chapter at Appalachian, the organization has found plenty of “time and service” volunteer opportunities for students to take part in (Wine to Water, 2014).




Financially, Wine to Water spends 15% of their money on fundraising and raising awareness, 15% on G&A, and 70% on their projects.  As released in their 2012 Financial Statement, they raised a total of $638,886 for that financial year[5]. Much of the support that they raise every year goes straight into funding water projects across the world (Wine to Water, 2014).




Wine to Water contributes 100% of its profits to the building of water filtration systems in foreign and under-developed countries. To put the national water crisis in perspective, here are some quick facts from water.org:

o   Every minute at least one child dies from a water-related illness.

o   Women spend 200 million hours a day collecting water.

o   More than 2.5 times more people lack water than live in the United States.

o   Fecal matter causes the majority of illness.

o   More people have a mobile (cell phone) than a toilet.

o   Lack of community involvement causes 50% of other projects to fail.

o   More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99%, occur in the developing world.

o   Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jump jet crashing every four hours.

o   Of the 60 million people added to the world’s towns and cities every year, most move to informal settlements with no sanitation facilities.

o   780 million people lack access to an improved water source; approximately one in nine people.

o   The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.

o   An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day,” (Water.org, 2014).


With this information, it is easy to realize that this epidemic is taking a toll on populations around the world. This is where organizations like Wine to Water come into play and are critical in solving the national water epidemic.

Our agency, “The Agency,” will be assisting Wine to Water with an event, “Just One Shift,” in November, by organizing and creating a one-night kick-off. That week will consist of bartenders across the nation donating their tips from one shift to Wine to Water. Last year, this weeklong event raised over $40,000. Nearly 230 bartenders participated representing 30 different countries. This year, Wine to Water hopes to raise $100,000 through the “Just One Shift” event (Wine to Water, 2012). Our drive is to help the organization meet this goal. The Agency will be responsible for finding and reserving a venue, lining up entertainment and spreading word about the event.


The external environment for Wine to Water consists mostly of Appalachian State students and local community members. Wine to Water has a student chapter on campus at Appalachian State which raises money and awareness for the organization. The organization’s external environment consists of the donations made in order to keep the organization afloat. Just like in any business or organization, the donations tend to fluctuate when the economy fluctuates. Donating to Wine to Water is not a requirement for anyone, therefore when money is tight in a household, often time families must prioritize monetary allocations differently.


The Agency will offer Wine to Water a unique perspective on planning this event. The three members of the team, Kirstie Fleger, Meghan Hockaday and Jessie Metty, each bring different perspectives that work together to create and implement an unforgettable event. The purpose of this kick-off event is to raise final awareness about the event and get as many bartenders in the community pumped and involved as possible. In addition, we hope to bring more consciousness to the community about the national water crisis. Action can only follow awareness, and our ultimate goal is for individuals to take action.



Being a non-profit organization, Wine to Water is very transparent with the finances of the organization. Since the conception of the organization, all tax returns, annual reports and financial statements are recorded and posted on the website (winetowater.org/financials, 2013).


Most of the money that comes into the organization comes from third-party events. According to the Events & Church Coordinator, Whitney Hendley, wine tastings and events that incorporate some kind of silent auction/raffle are the most successful in terms of fundraising (W. Hendley, personal communication, September 24, 2014).


Other organizations use tactics similar to those used by Wine to Water to draw publics in. On the homepage of Charity Water’s website, there is an option to start a campaign. The organization keeps their publics updated on fundraising activities by advertising them and their corresponding figures on the homepage as well. This makes it easy for publics to quickly glance at the website and immediately be informed about the organizations most current projects.


Wine to Water runs very prevalent social media pages in order to promote the organization and keep their publics up-to-date on projects happening globally. On Twitter, Wine to Water has nearly 12,500 followers, on Facebook, they have nearly 18,000 thousand followers and on Instagram they have just over 1,300 followers. They also keep an updated blog on their website as well as “The Cana” which is a digital monthly publication people can subscribe to. When asked how the organization goes about using social media to promote the organization, Hendley shared this, “We share stories! We want to tell people what our Wine to Water community is doing here in the states and in the field to make a difference. Our message is that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. We're a testament to that. Our wine and our story set us apart from other water charities. We try to bridge the gap between the bar crowd and the church through creating community around the water crisis,” (W. Hendley, personal communication, September 24, 2014).


The organization also has been featured in local and national news since 2009 that has been “allowing us to grow and continue the fight to bring clean water to those in need” (winetowater.org/press, 2013). Such media outlets include CNN, Fox News, LinkedIn, The Huffington Post, Bloomberg and Wine Enthusiast Magazine to name a few.





There are many other organizations that raise funds for water filtration systems. Since the epidemic is so large and on a national scale, each organization plays a vital role in their attempts at solving the crisis. Here is a list of other clean water organizations and the locations they serve:


o   “Charity Water: http://www.charitywater.org

·    20 Developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

o   MIYA: http://www.miya-water.com

·    Philippines, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and the Bahamas

o   Colombia Water Center (CWC): http://water.columbia.edu

·    Brazil, Ethiopia, Mali, USA and India

o   Three Avocados: http://www.threeavocados.org

·    Uganda and Nicaragua

o   Waterslife: http://www.waterislife.com

·    Haiti, Africa, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and South America

o   Puremadi: http://www.puremadi.org/PureMadi/Welcome.html

·    South Africa,” (7 Water, 2014).


There are not many differences in these organizations. The main difference is that not all of them are based and run on any religious affiliation. Ultimately, the goal is to end the water crisis. Each organization works towards the same goal, just sometimes in different ways or through different motivations. “The issue that we're all working to solve is the water crisis and our mission isn't to compete with other water charities for donations. Our heart is to eradicate the problem and work our way out of a job,” (W. Hendley, personal communication, September 24, 2014).


Because of the nature of the issue at hand, many organizations work together. Unfortunately, the water crisis may never be completely resolved. This is why it is imperative for each organization to work together and not try to outperform one another. There are many more organizations, than those listed above, who also seek to end the national water crisis.


Those who pay any attention to the news, or social media, are aware that the water crisis is a real problem. Many middle-class Americans have some form of access to a media medium and thus know about the crisis. Each organization working to alleviate this problem generally has the same target audience. It is neither a conservative nor democratic issue, it is neither a religious or non-religious issue, it is neither targeted to college students or senior citizens. This is a global crisis that impacts each individual who sees pictures of a woman carrying buckets of water or reads an article about how many children die in a given week from contaminated water.


In an article written by National Geographic, the intensity of the issue is addressed, “Due to geography, climate, engineering, regulation, and competition for resources, some regions seem relatively flush with fresh water, while others face drought and debilitating pollution. In much of the developing world, clean water is either hard to come by or a commodity that requires laborious work or significant currency to obtain,” (Clean water crisis, 2014). By each of the competing organizations working together, a positive dent can be made in the national crisis.



Wine to Water is a very active organization that has ongoing projects in 16 countries and on 4 different continents and supports 30 international aid workers (winetowater.org/ourstory, 2013). They have several different groups of people and organizations they partner with to ensure they continue to have the ability to provide clean water to people in need. Currently they are partnered with organizations in 16 countries such as Aqua y Vida in Colombia, Connect Africa and Samaritan’s Purse in Kenya and the Zakat Foundation of America in Syria (winetowater.org/partners, 2013).


They are also partnered with different wine organizations such as Bliss Family Vineyards and Fine Wine Trading Company, and have general partners as well such as CNN, FedEx and Annenberg Foundation (winetowater.org/partners, 2013). Wine to Water is also very active in recruiting different members of the community to take part and be active in their own way. They encourage students, professionals and community members to host their own events, start chapters in their area and raise awareness and money for the organization. Because they are a Christian-based group, they are also very involved and active in providing church programs the tools they need to “build communities, strengthen fellowship, attract new members and serve” (winetowater.org/church-program, 2013). They also greatly rely on volunteers and provide ample opportunities for people to get involved through Service Trips, Internships and Creative Projects.


Wine to Water has five full-time members and five part time members in their main office. They have eight board members who do not work directly in the office but often give input into the organization. The organization has worked in 17 countries and “provides clean water and sanitation to over 250,000 people” (winetowater.org/ourstory). In order to achieve high production of products in third-world countries, they use factories and plants in the United States and other countries to help create the products.


One of the most successful recent events for Wine to Water is the “Just One Shift” campaign. This week long event asks bartenders from around the world to sign up and donate their tips from one of their shifts to Wine to Water. Wine to Water then uses 100% of the proceeds to supply clean water to people in developing countries (justoneshift.com, 2014). The last event featured bartenders from over 16 countries and raised $40,000.


Wine to Water has done a very good job since its inception at gaining public approval and support. They have 17,707 likes on Facebook with a 4.9/5 star rating. One of the reviewers commented, “ ‘A great thing WIW is doing, but the message of never underestimate what kind of impact you can make, really was huge!’ –Amy” (facebook.com/winetowater/reviews, 2014). They have 12.5K followers on Twitter and 1,311 followers on Instagram. The majority of people believe the work that Wine to Water is doing is more helpful and amazing than some realize because it is such a small organization. People are very supported of the work Doc Hendley is doing; CNN called him a “top 10 CNN Hero in 2009” (CNN Staff, 2013). They were named to Seametrics’ “Top 50 Water Non-Profit Blogs” as one of many water organizations “that are doing incredible work to help improve water conditions around the world and conserve the most valuable resource we have” (www.seamtetrics.com, 2014). They also met the standards of an Accredited Charity according to BBB.


They have faced some opposition due to the proposed “The Miracle Machine” which was a machine that was supposedly created to turn water into wine. NPR found that it was a marketing hoax by a public relations group to raise awareness for Wine to Water and many people were not happy with being tricked. NPR then encouraged people to always ask questions regarding charities and their validity, throwing Wine to Water into some question (npr, 2014). However, while the machine was a sham, in the end the hoax was deemed as a good cause to raise awareness for the water crisis.




SWOT Analysis



-        They are relatable to different types of people across cultures, economies, societies and countries

-        For 10 years they have had continuous support from the public and from partnering organizations

-        They have remained clear of scandal and crisis

-        The small staff allows for concise communication while still allowing external people to form their own chapters, events, etc. and get involved in their own way that lets them be creative



-        They completely rely on support from donations, volunteers and partners in order to complete their work abroad

-        The small staff could get overwhelmed if the company continues to grow

-        They don’t have much public attention or knowledge they exist, even in Boone

-        Some people may not like how religious they can be perceived which may cut off some clientele or volunteers




-        They can expand and create other offices across the country or in other countries or continents

-        They can expand to service more countries or become more active in the countries they are already helping in

-        The events they are putting on can continue to grow successfully and get more participants

-        Volunteers, chapters, communities and church programs can continue to grow and expand their knowledge of the organization and their desire to get involved



-        Other water related nonprofits (Water for People, Water Without Borders, Water.org) could receive and retain more volunteers, taking away from the success of Wine to Water

-        People could stop donating or getting involved in Wine to Water specifically due to their own personal reasons

-        Wine to Water has to be careful when interacting with other countries so as to not displease the governments or members of the culture they are working with, in turn cutting off relations







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