Fundraising goes innovative

Fun and innovative ways of fundraising have become the norm as charities compete to engage individuals to not only invest their time and resources but also promote the cause as ambassadors. Until a few years ago, receiving cold calls, emails or visits from representatives of big charities was common whereas these days new initiatives spring up on social media every other day. As I write this, my Facebook friends are posting images of comic book heroes to spread awareness about childhood cancer. Such initiatives make even fundraising marathons appear archaic.

As an MBA student, couple of years ago, my husband, along with his batchmates participated in the Movember challenge initiated by the global charity named Movember foundation. Participants are required to grow moustaches throughout the month of November to spread awareness about men’s health. Motivated by the spirit of camaraderie generated by Movember, my husband and his batchmates sported their overgrown moustaches for a month and even donated to the cause, despite living on a tight financial budget and hectic schedule that involved juggling studies with job search.Clearly,one doesn’t necessarily have to be rich or too old to make a contribution.

It is not just the big or global charities that are trying to innovate but smaller organisations are promoting creative campaigns too in order to attract donors. A few months ago, a London based charity (Be Kind Movement) organised a fun saree draping event to raise funds for vulnerable women living in the UK and India. In addition to a brief pledge about the charity cause, the event also included a talk about the evolution of the saree in India, a workshop about learning to drape a saree in different ways and raffle prizes too, giving it the feel of a vibrant cultural event while raising some £1100 (roughly Rs 1,10,000) through entry and raffle tickets. In my opinion a telephone call or a letter requesting for donation is unlikely to bring people together in the same way as these events.

The message is loud and clear. If an organisation wants to stand out and make people take notice of its cause and mission, it has to engage with them in a fun way. Gone are the days when big charities raised funds for causes of mass appeal through traditional ways. As newer and niche causes emerge, charity organisations will have to find fresh ideas to attract donors.