Viva con Agua

“Saving time for an NGO means saving clean water and sanitation”

Industry: Nonprofit Sector

About the company: The non-profit organisation Viva con Agua was founded in 2006. The vision: to give all people safe access to clean drinking water. Today, Viva con Agua consists of a foundation, eight non-profit associations and five social businesses.

Viva con Agua Hero Image sign
Michael Fritz
Michael Fritz


Viva con Agua Logo

Water for All - All for Water

"We are committed to providing access to clean drinking water for all people" explains Michael Fritz, Co-Founder of Viva con Agua. "When we started almost seventeen years ago, around 1.2 billion people had no access to a decent water supply. Now it's 'only' 560 million, so things are moving in the right direction."

We were lucky amateurs who were in the right place at the right time.

Whether supporting well projects in Ethiopia or the construction of toilets in Uganda, Viva con Agua provides additional value for the community as the organisation is also building a social ecosystem: "Social business as we do it today simply didn't exist in Germany in 2006," Michael recalls.

Over the years, Viva con Agua has developed a wide variety of ways to support communities, from providing mineral water to toilet paper, creating art and music festivals and merchandise to opening their own hotels in Cape Town and in their home base in Hamburg.

A Football Club, Rappers and a Blank Sheet of Paper

The history of Viva con Agua is inconceivable without the Hamburg football history of its founders, shares Michael. "Even if, in retrospect it looks like there was a marketing mastermind behind the project from the beginning - the opposite was the case. At the beginning, many things were adventurous, spontaneous, and crazy. We were young, friends and loved hip hop – people like Bela B, Fettes Brot, Tim Mälzer, and many others supported us right at the beginning.” 

Getting support elsewhere was a trial-and-error process: “Nothing was strategically planned. It took a certain disruptive, innovative naivety not to know what we were doing. We reinvented a lot - today, there are many NGOs who try to make similar swag and appeal to young people," Michael says as he looks back on the last years.

  • Strong growth across several entities

  • Need for scalable HR processes

  • High importance of corporate culture

The Road to Personio

What did HR look like before Personio? "In the early years, we approached the field of HR in an almost adventurously naive way, but at the same time full of passion. It took a few years until we had a clear organisation and a strategic orientation of our HR work," Michael summarises with a smile. "We made mistakes but also went through important learning processes. Before Personio, a lot of things ran 'on the fly', so to speak."

At a certain point, the growing structure of the organisation with eight associations in eight countries and several companies just cried out for strong structuring, digitalisation, and automation in HR work.” He explains how Personio helped get the foundations right: “And in building up this broad and diverse ecosystem, Personio then helped us enormously in 2020. Otherwise, we would have totally lost track of a couple of HR processes - from onboarding to offboarding, from employee birthdays to sick leave," says Michael.

non-profit associations
social businesses

Saving time for an NGO means saving clean water and sanitation.

The Impact Personio Has Made on Viva con Agua

The decision in favour of Personio was made relatively quickly. In addition to the special pricing for non-profit organisations, parallels in the corporate values of Personio and Viva con Agua played a key role."Both organisations clearly assume social responsibility and place sustainability at the focus of their activities," says Michael. Just one month after the eight-week implementation, the HR, legal, and finance departments actively working with Personio gave Michael clear feedback: it was a game changer in terms of planning reliability and increased efficiency. "That was important for us because the more time we save on HR work, the more time we have to build new wells, acquire more donations, or inspire more people with our vision." Michael summarises as the core benefit of Personio. 

"From there, Personio has already drilled numerous wells, if you will, without donating a single cent - just by using the tool." Working across diverse entities is particularly important for Viva con Agua's HR department because it saves the organisation staff costs. "And that money has a real impact for an NGO like us - it means more water for more people."

  • A system that supports HR and matches the company culture

  • Better planning reliability and increased efficiency

What Does the Future Hold?

Michael explains that Personio holds the key to their culture: "I expect that we will continue to work with Personio for a very long time, as so many people in the organisation were brought into the company through the tool. And that's exactly how our corporate culture can be perfectly conveyed.” He continues: “By using the platform, I can contribute to the fact that people like working in a company, that they are valued, and that they are seen. And structural change processes can now also be offered very easily." 

How will Viva con Agua continue to develop? "We have planted a good seed after 17 years. Yes, we could scale Viva con Agua, and that makes perfect sense. But we don't want to grow by any means necessary. Growth must always be relaxed. Why? We are in a transformation phase after COVID-19. People are insecure; they lack orientation and support. So when we grow bigger, we can't do it without a platform like Personio," Michael says. 

What Made Personio The Right Choice For Them?

It’s not just the platform that is important for Viva con Agua but the company itself: "The tool suits us, and it supports us in everyday life. It gives us time for our central tasks. That is important, but what is much more important is the way the key players at Personio not only talk and think, but also how they take on entrepreneurial and overall social responsibility.” 

He continues: “Of course, Personio's incredible success story has a charisma that is really good for us as an NGO. The establishment of the Personio Foundation shows me that its founders think long-term, sustainably and, above all, take on social responsibility. The impact of this on NGOs and new founders is gigantic. That alone is enough to recommend Personio."

Customer Success Story: Viva con Agua & Personio

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