Water + Sanitation

A Social-Impact Bank Account

Save money; watch it do good; and take it out any time.

Easy access to water can reconfigure daily routines, unlock economic opportunities, and even shift gender dynamics in a home. With taps and toilets in homes, hours that would’ve been spent fetching water are freed up for learning, work, and even play.

For 15 years, Water​.org has connected families across the globe to clean water and sanitation services through small, affordable loans. In 2018, they partnered with IDEO​.org to design a solution that would allow individuals to make a direct impact with money that is currently sitting unleveraged in their accounts. This two-year partnership resulted in Float for Good, an entirely new category of banking that allows people to do good with their money without giving it away.

See your impact in terms of real milestones

Interest turned impact

Float For Good is a social-impact bank account. Users can save money in the app, help fund water and sanitation projects, then take it out any time. The entire experience is rooted in transparency. People are demanding transparency from virtually every aspect of life—from the ingredients in their food to the wages of garment workers sewing their clothes. Float brings this transparency to money management. Users know exactly what their money is being used for and can rest assured that it’s doing good.

The average interest rate in the U.S for a savings account earns just 90 cents a year for each $1k saved. Float for Good provides clean water for 10 people with the same amount of money. And while a traditional bank loans out a fraction of the money saved to make a profit; Water​.org distributes that fraction to micro-finance institutions (MFIs) that disperse it in the form of small loans to families for things like water taps and toilets. 

Impact made tangible

From the moment a user deposits money into the account, they can start tracking their individual and collective impact. Float For Good uses basic social math to show them their progress in terms of gallons, days of clean drinking water, or time saved.

At the center of the app experience is a vibrant aura. This bright green circle showcases users’ total impact and is designed to convey buoyancy and upward progress: your money is making moves.

Users reach saving milestones the more their money sits in the shared pool. The design team spent time thinking about how to bring joy in these moments. How do you connect users with the impact they’re having? How do you bring delight without creating noise? Each milestone is grounded in a real story of impact or an insight that sparks curiosity.

The digital experience is also designed to create little-to-no friction. The monthly bank statements embed humor and clarifying footnotes; small wins are celebrated, and even taking money back out of the account is meant to be easy. Float is lowering the barrier of entry to doing good. 

Major savings milestones evoke that feeling of cracking open a fortune cookie or finishing a popsicle with a joke or tidbit of joy on the other end of the stick. They’re also moments to teach an audience something new about the water crisis, rituals surrounding water, or the chemical nature of water itself.

Vibrant photography inspires users to feel the collective impact their money is having in the world.

Next steps

In the new year, Water​.org will launch the application and will work to validate, learn, and iterate on the design. They have their sights on reaching more than 100,000 users and generating multiple millions of dollars in impact savings deposits over the next few years.

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