Successful Fundraiser Case Studies

As the September Fundraiser Campaign approaches, we thought it would be helpful if you heard some stories from some successful fundraiser organizers. Nothing helps inspire like a good story! We went ahead and pulled four different fundraisers and had a chat with their organizer. Below are their stories, and some tips on what worked and what didn’t.

Shin & His Birthday Fundraiser
Shin was known in college for his charitable giving. He often made donations in honor of his friends for their birthdays. One year he decided “Instead of spending a bunch of money, let’s do this!” and started a GlobalGiving Fundraiser. At the time he was very interested in Water, so he picked three projects focused on water. He raised $1,100 all on his own. Here are some tips he has:

  • Pick a project that connects with your friends & family – Shin had a lot of friends who played soccer so he picked a project that connects soccer and water. See which of your projects your donors give to and help them think about what they and their network feel most connected with – maybe it’s girls & sports or animals & education!
  • Facebook is a great tool – While you and your donors know GlobalGiving, their friends may not. Creating a Facebook event for your birthday to invite people to can help entice them to give.
  • Find the tipping point  – Shin found that there was a point when enough of his friends were giving that the rest felt inspired to give as well. Have your donors reach out to their friends who they know will feel passionate about your cause and get them excited early on in the campaign to give. They’ll inspire their friends later.

Shin's Birthday

Julia & Her Wedding Registry
Julia was getting married. While in the process of planning, she and her husband decided to make giving a central piece of their wedding celebration and to skip traditional wedding registries. Instead, they themed their wedding around the famine in the Horn of Africa and gave $10,154 for 18 different projects. She also had some interesting insights:

  • Themes work – They picked a theme that people understood, that people suffered from famine in Africa. While your donor may know your organization and cause, their friends & family may not. Have them fundraise for your cause or community instead of the organization.
  • Giving often happens at the ends – As in any giving campaign, people like to put off their giving to the end. She found that it was slow moving to start and towards the end there were more donations. So don’t panic, but work on getting momentum early on.
  • Sometimes too much information is too much – People made donations because it was their wedding and they wanted to support them. With this kind of fundraiser, it was better to not give too much information. Instead, have your donors focus on thanking their friends & family and remind them to give.

Julia's Wedding


Julia & The Pittorinos Help Casa Hogar
Julia always wanted to do development work and help others, so when she went to Mexico to visit some family friends, she started volunteering with Casa Hogar! This past summer, she was unable to go due to a trip to Tanzania to climb the impressive Mt. Kilimanjaro. In order to keep supporting this organization, she decided to dedicate her climb to Casa Hogar, and start a fundraiser. Julia, her family and her friend have raised $16,689 for this project. She has a couple pointers for those looking to start fundraising:

  • Attack on many fronts – It wasn’t enough to just send out an email with a link to the fundraiser. They created a Facebook group, emailed, reminded those who they knew would give eventually, and updated the group with photos and stories from their climb and adventure. Your donors shouldn’t rely on one form of communication, have them try several and see what works!
  • Fundraisers are easy – Using GlobalGiving fundraisers are an easy way for donors to raise funds and track the progress for an organization. Part of what drew the Pittorino’s to our fundraisers was how easy it was to use. Remind your donors that this tool already exists, and it can help them contribute with minimal effort.
  • Keep it simple – Make sure your story is clear and simple. Help your donors create a story with key points from your campaign – almost like a single tagline. If they want to expand on the story, Facebook and email are a good way to do so.

Julia & Casa Hogar


Shelmina & the Amahoro School
For her wedding, Shelmina wanted to give back to the universe that had given her so much. She found a project leader on GlobalGiving and talked with them about helping to build a school in Tanzania. Shelmina was so inspired by this project leader that she created a wedding registry and worked with her loved ones to build this school. Together they raised $29,151 for one project. Here are some insights from her experience:

  • GlobalGiving is your ally – With people who felt nervous about giving to a nonprofit they didn’t know, she would tell them about GlobalGiving and our application process. If your donor’s networks are worried because they don’t know who you are, have them use the GlobalGiving connection. You worked hard to become a GlobalGiving partner – now use it!
  • The story is important – While your donor’s friends don’t know your story, they do know their friend’s story. Shelmina’s story was moving and people wanted to give to a cause that she felt so passionate about. Be sure to have your donors tell their network, and write in their fundraiser, why they support you – it’s also probably a great story for you to know!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your board members and major donors to do a fundraiser – Shelmina knew she was blessed to have the opportunities in life she was given and wanted to give back. This was the way she decided to do it. Your board members and major donors probably know other people who want to give back to the world. Tap into that!

Shelmina's Wedding


We hope this was helpful for you! Some big takeaways from these cases were:

  1. Donors can use Facebook to get more support by creating groups and events. This is a great way for them to thank their supporters and update on the progress as well.Using GlobalGiving’s connection to prove you’ve been reviewed and are in fact a legitimate organization is a good idea for those who are not familiar with your work.
  2. Having donors reach out to their networks in multiple ways – like Facebook, email and by phone – helped get more support and greater donations.
  3. Telling the story of why they created the fundraiser worked – donors can share photos and stories to inspire more giving.
  4. Get creative! People gave donations as gifts to inspire giving and reach their goals or climbed mountains. Have your donors think outside the box for what they do with their fundraiser – maybe they’ll run a mile or put in volunteer hours. There are a thousand ways to inspire others to give!


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