What You Can Learn About Running A Fundraiser From Three Of The Most Successful Charities Ever

You’d think raising money for a good cause would be easy – but it isn’t always. Even still, by following the examples set by these organizations, you can make your own fundraisers much, much better.

Raising money for charity isn’t exactly easy. People these days are so overloaded with information it can seem like a herculean task to even get their attention. Not only that, due to the prevalence of scam charities, people are more suspicious than ever, and therefore less likely to give.

What exactly can you do? How can you not only grab the attention of your audience but also convince them that your cause is a good one? How can you persuade them to donate?

There’s no easy answer to any of those questions, but you can take a step towards figuring them out with a bit of research.

See, as with any industry, you can learn a lot by studying the people at the top. The world’s top charities have a lot to teach when it comes to raising money for a good cause. Here are just a few of the lessons they can offer.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation

Everyone knows about the Make-A-Wish Foundation at this point – a charity that fulfills the wishes of children facing life-threatening conditions. For those who survive, they’re given a treasured memory that stays with them for the rest of their lives. And for those who don’t, they get to have their fondest wish granted before they pass.

It’s a beautiful cause – and one that makes the Make-A-Wish Foundation one of the most successful charities in the world.

The Lesson: Appeal to the emotions of your audience. By tugging at the heartstrings of your audience over social media, you’ve got what’s more or less a guaranteed recipe for success. Also, be sure to market unique events like Batkid – stuff like that gets people talking.



An advocate of children’s rights and well-being across the globe, The United Nations Children’s Fund is one of the world’s largest charitable organizations, with an annual income of over $5 billion annually. They operate in more than 200 countries and regularly work with governments around the world to provide aid that includes vaccines, food, water, shelter, and educational supplies.

Recently, UNICEF Sweden ran a campaign simply titled “Likes don’t save lives.” It addressed an important issue that many of us would as soon ignore – slacktivism. We’re all happy to like a page or share a story in ‘support’ of a cause, but what about when the time comes to do more?

The campaign showed that social media may be a powerful platform for fundraising, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of charity tools. That’s not the only lesson, either.

The Lesson: A unique, attention-grabbing message goes a long way towards bringing people over to your cause. By forcing people to focus on their slacktivism, UNICEF raised a ton of awareness and brought in enough money for over 600,000 polio vaccinations. Speaking of slacktivists, be sure you give yours something to do with your next campaign – they might not donate, but they can raise awareness for those who will.

Direct Relief

A medical relief nonprofit founded to improve the lives of people impacted by emergencies and poverty, Direct Relief has received multiple awards for its humanitarian work all over the globe. It’s the largest organization of its kind and uses its funds with 100% efficiency. That means there’s no wasted money in its humanitarian efforts.

Direct Relief is unique on this list in that the organization itself doesn’t host fundraisers on its own – it empowers individuals and groups to run fundraisers on its behalf.

The Lesson: Empower your audience. Giving money to charity feels great – but that should only be the first step. You should show them how they’re making a difference, or give them an opportunity to do more beyond tossing a few dollars your way.

Raise Smarter

There are plenty of charitable organizations in the world – and plenty of examples to teach us something valuable. What we’ve laid out here are just a few. There are many others, and every one of them has something new to teach.

Get out there, start learning, and start changing the world.

Brad Wayland is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.

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