Thursday, March 15, 2012

World Water Day 2012 - Water and Food Security

Written by Guest Blogger Rachael Hartzler

Thursday, March 22nd, marks the 19th annual World Water Day! 

What is World Water Day? International World Water Day has been in existence every year on March 22nd since it was initiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. The internationally recognized day spends each year focusing on different topics and relevant issues regarding freshwater, like water scarcity, water and disasters, and sanitation. Its ultimate goal is to raise awareness about the importance of freshwater and how to conserve and carefully manage it.

This year’s topic is “Water and Food Security” which focuses on issues like the amount of water in our food, how much food is wasted each year - thus how much water is wasted, and how to prevent the waste.

Check out a huge list of "How much Water is Needed" at:

I assume some of you may have never heard of World Water Day either. This prompts the question of whether or not we really understand how valuable our knowledge and care of the world’s freshwater supply is. We are responsible for understanding how important freshwater is and taking every measurable means to wisely use just what we need and no more.

So, where does the problem lie? Are we simply uneducated about the scarcity of freshwater and how careless use of it could and is currently leaving devastating results around the world? Are we just naïve and ignorant to the actual amount of freshwater we use each day as individuals? Do we really understand that our planet has many places where people do not have the same luxuries of freshwater as in other places?

Check out this awesome video from World Water Day 2012 that might help answer some of these questions:

As International World Water Day approaches take some time to really think about all of these questions. Acquaint yourself with how much water you’re using on a daily basis ( and challenge yourself to make necessary changes. 

We must realize our world is bigger than what we see on a daily basis. Educate yourself, advocate for those who do not have access to freshwater, and tell others about World Water Day. If you’ve read this, you’re responsible. Go make a difference!

All images and were taken from World Water Day's Website. To learn more about World Water Day 2012 go to:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Double Your Donation Dollar!

$25K Matching Campaign

Phil & Melissa Shaffer
Phil & Melissa Shaffer have been faithful supporters of Thirst Relief for years and have once again decided to do an exciting matching gift.

Phil & Melissa recently learned that Thirst Relief's Founder and President, Jim Hicks, has been an unpaid volunteer for Thirst Relief for more than six years. In order to give the organization the growing attention that it requires and still provide for his family's needs, Jim has agreed with our board that now is the time to transition from an unpaid volunteer to a paid staff position. A salary will enable Jim and his family of six to continue giving all of the time and effort they've sacrificed in bringing clean water to the people of the world.

Phil & Melissa will match you, dollar for dollar, when you designate a donation toward the matching campaign and have generously agreed to match up to $25,000!

Jim & Clean Water Recipients
The goal of this campaign is simple: Once matched, this campaign will provide Jim and his family with much needed funds. This will enable Jim to continue his hard work for the organization and ensure that tens-of-thousands of people receive clean water each year.

Here's how to donate toward the match:

      A. Online at
      B. Send a check to:
        Thirst Relief
        P.O. Box 436
        Lewis Center, OH 43035

2. Send us an email at letting us know that you'd like your donation to be designated as a matching donation.

Help Thirst Relief bring water to those in need in 2012 - double your donation dollar today!

Best to you,
Nathan White
Director of Operations
Thirst Relief International 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fundraising: The Basics

The topic of fundraising is often shrouded in a cloud of ambiguity - and rightly so. Many people, full of good intentions, get stuck and give up before they even start fundraising simply because they lack clear and concise direction on HOW to fundraise.

Over the years, many people have asked me, "How can I get involved?", "How do I raise funds?" or "What type of fundraiser do you recommend I do?". My answer to these questions can be addressed with another list of questions. Successful fundraising requires one to reflect upon their intentions, interests, talents and circles of influence - answer these four questions and I guarantee you'll create a successful fundraiser.  

1. What are my intentions?
  • Before taking any steps toward fundraising you must ask yourself, "What are my intentions in doing this fundraiser?", or more simply put, "Why am I doing this?". Do you have a burning desire to make a positive change in the world or is this just a fleeting moment of an emotional or humanitarian high? Do you have what it takes to plan, maintain and finish strong in your fundraising endeavor? 
  • I'm not trying to intimidate you with this probing and self-revealing question but rather trying to establish whether or not the fundraiser will have the solid foundation it needs to succeed - that solid foundation is - YOU. 
  • You must also ask yourself, "What is my vision for this fundraiser?". In other words, what would you like to accomplish with the funds raised? Provide 20 water filters to supply an entire village in Rwanda with clean water? Build a well, latrines, stand taps and filters in India to provide an entire school with clean water? Try to be as specific as possible when creating your vision for fundraising. The more clear your vision - the more likely you will be in pulling off a successful fundraiser.  
  • Congrats! You just made it through the most difficult of all four questions. You're already well on your way to creating a fundraiser. 
2. What are my interests? 
  • Experience in watching people fundraise has revealed the mind-blowing truth that most successful fundraisers are accomplished when you focus on something that interests you. Do you like hosting parties, organizing events, writing, editing, designing, creating, tech, gaming, sales, marketing, celebrating special events such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, etc.? 
  • You have more control over this question than any other because it directly relates to who you are. 
3. What are my talents?
  • This question can easily become confused with question number two - "What are my interests?". However, it is vitally important to distinguish the two questions from one another. 
  • Just because something interests me does not mean that I'm good at it. The most optimal fundraisers are completed when one recognizes and utilizes BOTH their interest(s) and talent(s) when choosing a theme for their fundraiser. 
  • I.e. You might be very interested in hosting a party but haven't hosted so much as a wiener roast in the last five years. This might translate to a feeling of intimidation when sitting down to write party invitations - thus leading to not writing the invitations which leads to a failed fundraiser. Don't let this speed bump slow you down. Most likely you have a friend that is a pro at hosting parties and would love to help you get back into the swing of things. And there you have it - you're interested in hosting parties AND you're talented at rallying your friend(s) into helping you. 
4. What is my circle of influence?
  • With whom do you hold a significant sway? Do you maintain the interest and attention of those in your workplace, family, neighbors, classmates, team, church, organization, etc.? Of those, who will probably get excited WITH you and will share the passion you have for making a positive change in the world? These are the people that you must identify because they will determine the end result of your fundraiser. 
Done! Now you are ready to fundraise! Keep a close eye on your answers to these four questions and I guarantee you'll have a successful fundraising experience and have fun doing it.

Examples of Successful Fundraisers

These are just a select few of the many wonderful fundraisers that have been accomplished for Thirst Relief. Take a moment to look them over. It just might help get your creative juices flowing and get you even one step closer to making your very own fundraiser become a success.

Designate Your Birthday
Host an Athletic Event
Sell Your Merchandise 
Walk for Water
Christmas Gift

I sincerely hope this blog post was helpful in getting you started with your fundraiser.

All the best,

Nathan White
Director of Operations
Thirst Relief International 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Thirst Relief Benefit Shoot 2012

Thirst Relief's annual Benefit Shoot takes place every year at Wedding & Portrait Photographers International, WPPI. The 2012 shoot will happen on Sunday, February 19th from 1-10pm.

100% of proceeds go directly to Thirst Relief water projects located around the world to help provide people with a long-term source of clean water. 

The 2012 Thirst Relief Benefit Shoot boasts an incredible lineup of instructors: Mike Colon, David and Luke Edmonson, Rocco Ancora, Roberto Valenzuela and CM Leung. View their accomplishments and some of their work later on in this post.

Watch the video below to get a sneak peak of what the benefit shoot is like:

Shoot participants will enjoy a nine hour instructional shoot that includes six instructors covering various topics of photography. Transportation and dinner are also provided with prizes given away to participants at dinner.

This year's dinner will take place in a large private room at Maggiano's in downtown Las Vegas.
The day shoot will take place outside of downtown Las Vegas in Nelson Nevada’s very own Ghost Town with the Red Rocks as a scenic backdrop for this stylized bridal fashion shoot. Thirst Relief has reserved the entire Ghost Town in order to ensure a high quality experience for all participants.

Shooters will be split up into groups and rotate between instructors on a timed schedule to allow adequate time learning from each instructor. 

 Below are a few images from the Ghost Town: 
 Photos provided by: Staja Studios

Instructors for the day shoot include: Luke Edmonson, Mike Colon, CM Leung and Rocco Ancora. David Edmonson and Roberto Valenzuela will join the group at dinner and treat participants with classroom style instruction after dinner. In addition, the shoot will host guest speakers from companies like ShowIt, who will talk about practical and helpful ways to run your business.

Below is information about the 2012 instructors:

Mike Colon 

Mike Colón is an international wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Newport Beach, California. He has been shooting professionally for over twelve years and has traveled the world photographing extravagant weddings, fashion, and editorial assignments for his discerning clients. His resume of celebrity clientele boasts some of the biggest names in Hollywood, the music industry, and professional sports.

Mike's gift for capturing life has been recognized by numerous publications worldwide including Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Marriage, People, Us Weekly, Instyle, Rangefinder, Photo District News, Popular Photography, American Photo, Shutterbug, and dozens more. His work also appears in many of the Amherst Media and fine art photography books found in bookstores today.

Luke & David Edmonson

It wasn't long before the international photographic community began celebrating this talented twosome and awarding them for their unique contributions to the art. In 2011 their first year to compete in the PPA Imaging USA international print competition, Luke and David won the coveted silver and gold International Photographer of the Year awards, respectively. Holders of twenty-two 1st, 2nd & 3rd place awards from the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) organization, both hold the the Accolade of Outstanding Photographic Achievement (AOPA), not to mention both Fuji & Kodak Gallery Awards. Between the two, the Edmonson’s have received a combined total of over 250 Accolades of Excellence. In 2008, David won the WPPI 16x20 International Commercial Print of the Year and followed it up with the 2011 IPC International Wedding Image of the Year.
David & Luke consider it important to be involved in local, regional and state photography organizations including Southwest Professional Photographers of America (SWPPA), Texas PPA and their local Dallas PPA guild. David serves as the education liaison on the board of directors for the Dallas PPA, and serves as a print judge for the WPPI International Print Competition. Their work has been featured in several notable industry publications such as Rangefinder, Photo District News, celebrity news magazines like US Weekly, and numerous regional publications, as well as a number of inspiring bridal magazines including Modern Bride, The Knot and Grace Ormonde Wedding Style. Dear to their hearts is the importance of giving back both to the industry and to others in need. Leading the annual Thirst Relief Benefit shoot to raise money for clean water in developing countries is one of their highlights every year.

CM Leung

CM Leung is the first Asian photographer who has been granted two Grand Awards that include "International Wedding Print of the Year" and "International Photojournalism Print of the Year" by WPPI in 2010 within a single year's time.

In Addition, CM also possesses seven winning prints (including 1st, 2nd & 3rd place under different categories), the 3rd place of non-wedding album award and more than 90 excellence awards at WPPI competitions. 
Since 2009, CM has conducted seminars and workshops around the world. Widely recognized globally as a master in lighting and Photoshop techniques, CM was invited as the guest speaker and also as a judge on the panel for the annual WPPP (Wedding & Portrait Photographer of Philippines) in 2010.

Roberto Valenzuela

Roberto Valenzuela is a wedding and fine art photographer based out of Beverly Hills.  His academic background is in Economics and Marketing. However, it was his 10 years as a concert classical guitarist, which has given him a unique outlook about how to master photography the way he tackled his musical instrument.

Roberto Valenzuela is a 55 time International award winning photographer, 3-time International first place winner.  He has served as a judge for PPA (Professional Photographers of America), for WPPI 8x10 International print competition, 16x20 WPPI International print competition, Bodaf European photography competition and the International wedding album competition in Las Vegas, NV.

In 2009, Roberto Valenzuela was named one of the top wedding photographers in the world by Junebug Weddings, (One of the largest wedding resource websites in America).

Roberto is an active teacher and platform speaker at WPPI, Roberto has also been asked to speak at other major conferences in the United States, Mexico and Europe.  Including, Bodaf Madrid, SMFP in Mexico, Bodaf Mexico City, Pictage Partner Conference in New Orleans, local PPA chapters across America, Skip’s Summer School in Las Vegas, NV., and Photo Plus Expo in New York City.  
Roberto’s book Picture Perfect Practice will be published and available in bookstore across the nation in January 2012.

Rocco Ancora

Rocco Ancora’s consistent passion and excellence in his photography continues to be rewarded with many accolades appointed to his name. Being awarded a prestigious accolade such as the Australian Institute of Professional Photography’s Wedding Photographer of the year once in a career is meritorious, to have received the award for the Fourth time in 2010 in a six-year span is a testimony of the highest regard in which his peers hold Rocco’s craftsmanship.

In 2010 Rocco was also awarded the Victorian Professional Photographer of the year as well as the Victorian Wedding Photographer of the Year.

In addition Capture Magazine honored Rocco as Australia’s No.1 Wedding Photographer. Rocco continues to be featured prominently in the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) awards list and is celebrated both in Australia and Internationally as an educator presenting seminars at WPPI USA, UK and Europe. Rocco remains humbled and honored by these awards and MOST of all privileged by the unique opportunity to memorialize peoples' lives through artistic and timeless imagery.

Save lives and change the world - be one of the lucky few on this experiential shoot!

Want to book your very own seat on the Benefit Shoot? Email or call us today at 1-866-5THIRST

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What is the Mentor Auction?

This year's auction will take place on Thirst Relief's eBay account on November 14-17, 2011.The Auction will begin on the 14th at 11PM EST and end on the 17th at 11PM EST.

Click HERE for a helpful list of things to help you promote the auction! 

The mission of the annual Thirst Relief Mentor Auction is twofold, to save lives and change the world by tapping into the incredible talent and generosity of the photography industry and to create better and more successful photographers.

Though the primary focus of mentors surround the photography industry there are many other areas of expertise that people donate such as business consulting, accounting services, marketing, etc.

To accomplish this goal we've asked some of the best and brightest in these industries to donate 90 minutes of mentorship (instructional) time and anything else they feel like giving to be auctioned off to a winning bidder! The auction takes place on eBay and is open for three days. At the end of the auction the highest bidder wins the 90 min. mentor session as well as any other prizes the mentor may have included. The winning bidder is notified that they won the auction by Thirst Relief staff and are put in contact with their mentor. The winning bidder and mentor then communicate on how they plan to carry out the mentor session. Often, the mentor sessions are done at WPPI, via video chat on Skype, phone or in person at the mutual location of both parties choosing. 

Also, each year Thirst Relief conducts a Benefit Shoot at WPPI where world renowned photographers instruct the shoot participants. Seats for the Benefit Shoot are auctioned off during the Mentor Auction.

Click HERE to learn more about the Thirst Relief Benefit Shoot!

Last year, the sponsors and 90 mentors who participated in the Mentor Auction raised more than $40,700 which directly provided 8,147 people with clean water! 100% of the proceeds directly benefit Thirst Relief International, who provides at least 25 years of clean drinking water to the more that 1 billion people who don't have it! Add to that the incredible wisdom and talent that is being shared in the one-on-one mentor sessions and you have better and more successful photographers/business owners! So, not only are lives being saved but the lives of many business owners are being made better! It's truly a win win for everyone involved!

Here are the steps that guide you through the entire process:

Note: Registration to be a mentor ended Nov. 7th

1. Register to be a mentor:

2. Tell everyone that you just registered to be a mentor!

I just signed up to be a mentor in the @ThirstRelief Mentor Auction! You can sign up too. Visit to register today!

I just signed up to be a mentor in the Thirst Relief Mentor Auction! You can sign up too! Visit to register as a mentor in your area of expertise. You'll be able to help someone learn your trade while the proceeds save lives around the world! Click here to lean more about the auction:

3. Send Thirst Relief staff your bio (150 words or less); profile picture (JPEG) and what you want to include in your auction (90 min. mentorship time is required but you can add things like prizes, merchandise, instructional DVD's, etc.) Send everything above to: immediately to make sure you can participate in the auction. If we receive your information later than Nov. 7th you will not be able to participate in the auction.

4. Thirst Relief will contact you prior to the auction with updates and ways to help you promote your mentorship to your followers so that they can be ready and waiting for the auction to go live. 

5. Watch and promote the auction as it takes place on eBay

6. Wait to get an email from Thirst Relief that introduces you to your winning bidder.

7. Set up a time with your winning bidder to do your mentor session.

Then, watch and see how Thirst Relief can save thousands of lives with the proceeds from the Mentor Auction!!!

Have more questions? Email us at or call us toll free at 1-866-5THIRST

Be a mentor - save lives!

Learn More About Thirst Relief:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Golf Outing 2011

The Thirst Relief 2011, In the Drink, golf outing and live auction were a great success and raised enough proceeds to help provide more than 2,200 people with clean drinking water.

Thanks to Shannon Sano Photography for taking these great photos ( and to all those who participated!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Elijah's Birthday Wish

You can follow Elijah's Birthday Wish as he follows his heart in donating his birthday to save lives.

You can donate on behalf of his birthday at:

Watch Elijah in the video below to see first-hand how he cares about people in need of clean drinking water.