October 13, 2021

Doing fundraising campaigns the right way

Fundraising is a fine art. With so many organisations vying for people’s attention and support, it’s important to find innovative ways to engage your audience and encourage them to donate to your cause. This might mean utilising new technology, devising a viral-worthy social media fundraising campaign, or hitting the streets with a rabble-rousing strategy. Either way, simply jingling a bucket with a few coppers outside a tube station just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore – and not only because fewer people are carrying cash these days.

At GoodBox, it’s our job to modernise how charities fundraise, so we know a thing or two about what defines innovative fundraising from the rest of the crop. In this article we’ll be giving you the lowdown on how to create a successful fundraising campaign, with a few recent examples of fundraising campaigns that have caught our eye.

What is a fundraising campaign?

A fundraising campaign is used by charities and nonprofits to gather a target amount of donations for their chosen cause over a set period. As well as generating funds, a fundraising campaign also raises awareness for a charity’s mission and goals. This is a pretty broad definition – the reality is that fundraising campaigns vary significantly in their means and methods. The exact type of campaign you choose will often depend on your specific goals, not to mention the resources you have at your disposal.

What are some of the different types of fundraising campaigns?

Fundraising campaigns aren’t just limited to swanky black tie balls, door-to-door collections or that colleague who always seems to have raffle tickets in her hand. Thanks to the internet and social media, there has arguably never been a more diverse range of options for fundraising campaigns. Here are just a few examples to get you started:

Major giving campaign

When we refer to a ‘major giving’ campaign – we’re talking about serious money. Whether it’s a large company that is committed to corporate social investment or a wealthy benefactor, the goal is to raise large amounts in lump sum payments. The focus is on building relationships with prospective fundraisers over a long period, appealing to their interests and making a compelling case as to how a major donation can have a tremendous impact.

Advocacy campaign

While a charity will usually have a long-term mission, this will usually be broken down into a series of campaigns. For example, while Greenpeace’s ultimate goal is to build a greener, healthier and more sustainable world, one of their current campaigns involves sailing up the River Thames to raise awareness around overfishing across the South and East Coast.

This is a great example of an advocacy campaign, which aims to mobilise groups of people around a specific issue or cause. Therefore, while your charity will have a long-term fundraising target, you may organise advocacy campaigns to gain support and donations for a particular project or initiative.

Sponsorship campaign

A sponsorship campaign is designed to encourage regular donations, be they from individuals or organisations. This is a common tactic used by large charities that have the resources to cast the net wide and can rely on large numbers of people donating smaller amounts. Sponsorship campaigns often appeal to people who don’t tend to donate large amounts but still want to feel like they’re making a difference. Another key selling point is that they offer a stable and consistent income for charities, as well as allowing them to forecast their income – a critical part of any fundraising strategy.

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaign

Peer-to-peer fundraising is often confused with crowdfunding. This is understandable, as peer-to-peer fundraising is actually a specific type of crowdfunding. It involves participants creating their own dedicated fundraising page on platforms such as JustGiving, which they will then share with friends, loved ones and their general social network. This ‘multi-tiered’ approach can extend far and wide and allows fundraisers to add their own personal touch to why this particular cause resonates with them. The best campaigns are authentic and scalable, making peer-to-peer fundraising a fantastic way to leverage your existing donors and supporters.

Examples of successful fundraising campaigns

Once you’ve settled on what exact type of fundraising campaign you’re going to set up, it’s time to gain some inspiration! Below are a handful of campaigns that really went the extra mile in their originality, public appeal and use of innovative fundraising techniques.

Captain Tom’s Walk for the NHS

Without a doubt one of the most inspiring and acclaimed fundraising campaigns of recent years. While the circumstances were unprecedented, not to mention unfortunate, Captain Tom’s efforts came to represent a nationwide message of coming together in times of crisis, capturing the hearts and minds of the UK whilst also raising over £33m in donations.

We could write at length about what this particular campaign achieved. Firstly, the idea itself, which was Captain Tom aiming to walk 100 laps of his garden, was simple yet significant and easy to replicate. Secondly, it told a powerful story that was honest and authentic. It was timely, given the circumstances of the pandemic, yet also tapped into a story that has universal appeal – the power of a single individual to make a difference.

Why we like it: In many ways, Captain Tom’s campaign for the NHS was a masterclass in fundraising. Not to mention it raised millions when his initial goal was £1000. What else is there to say?

Paddington’s Postcards for Children

Spearheaded by UNICEF, Paddington’s Postcards was awarded ‘Most Innovative Fundraising Campaign’ by the Chartered Institute of Fundraising in their 2020 awards. Parents would donate £8 and their children would receive a personalised postcard from Paddington Bear as he embarked on a round-the-world trip. Each postcard includes fun facts and activities related to Paddington’s latest destination, while also telling stories about how children live in other parts of the world.

Why we like it: Paddington’s Postcards is a fantastic example of personalisation and storytelling – a key part of any fundraising strategy. It also encourages regular giving and offers donors something in return for their generosity.


You might’ve noticed more gents sporting facial hair in the run-up to Christmas over the past few years. Some pull it off, others don’t. Regardless, a furry upper lip isn’t just a passing fad but the result of an effective fundraising campaign run by Movember which has raised over £600 million over the past 17 years. The fundraising concept is simple – encourage guys (and girls) to grow out their tash for the month of November and collect donations for the pleasure. All money goes towards tackling male health issues such as prostate cancer.

Why we like it – It’s fun and different. Growing a moustache isn’t a huge sacrifice for most people, and it gets a lot of attention. Even more so when fundraisers share their progress on social media over the course of the month.

Wings For Life – World Run

Setting physical challenges is a tried and tested way of fundraising. While there will always be space for charity marathons and boat races, more unconventional sports events can attract more attention. Wings For Life, a charity that funds research into spinal cord injury, has shaken up the classic charity run with a new format. Instead of aiming to run a certain distance, participants have to get as far as possible within 30 minutes – a chaser car sets off after half an hour and as soon as it passes you, your race is up. This inevitably ups the pace of the run and makes for good viewing – the token man in rhino suit has to get a wiggle on. This new spin on charity sporting events has certainly been lucrative, the Wings for Life World Run 2021 raised over 4 million Euros for spinal cord research!

Why we like it – Sports and physical activities are a great way to get people involved and engaged with fundraising. Putting a twist on traditional activities makes it more fun and attracts a bigger audience. Bigger audience = more funds raised.

3 Tips for Running a Successful Fundraising Campaign

Whether you’re looking to plan a charity event or create the next viral sensation, the GoodBox blog is full of guidance on how to supercharge your fundraising strategy. To get you started, we have a few tips that you should bear in mind as you begin to plan your campaign:

  • Keep your audience front and centre: Your audience should always be at the forefront of your mind. This goes beyond the ‘message’ behind your campaign and includes a variety of practical considerations. What platforms do they tend to use? Are they established donors or are they completely unfamiliar with your charity? The more you prioritise your audience’s needs, the more likely they are to reward your efforts.
  • Be clear as to where your donations are going: No matter the size of the donation, be it £1 or £1,000, people want to know exactly what that money is going towards. A relationship between a charity and its donors should be based on trust. For example, tell audiences their pound will go towards the building of a new animal shelter, or provide young people in the developing world with books. This will give them something tangible to connect with.
  • Create something that audiences can share: When people donate online, provide them with content to share on social media. This could be a personalised Facebook post or a graphic to share on Instagram Stories. People love using social media to post about their chosen causes, and if you give them something to share it could also drum up more interest for your campaign.

Finding the best way to promote your cause and drive donations can be a tricky business. In a world where attention is fought over tooth and nail, charities have to be inventive in how they fundraise. With these examples of successful fundraising campaigns, you’ll have some ideas to get your creative juices flowing and the donations rolling in.

However you choose to fundraise, a better use of technology will help you hit the ground running. GoodBox specialises in contactless fundraising solutions for charities, non-profits and corporations. Our tap-to-donate fundraising boxes help to increase donations by removing the need to collect cash. With our contactless payment systems, there’s no more fruitless digging into pockets to fish out a few pennies – donors can simply tap their card or smartphone to the pad and their donation is taken care of.

Want to find out more about our digital fundraising technology? Contact the GoodBox team today or download a product brochure.