Ressource Mobilisation Categories: Individual Giving

Asking for Donations

Individual giving is an important source of income for organisations of all sizes.
Contributions from individuals can be made monetarily, in-kind or by volunteering in your organisation with their time, knowledge or social recognition to carrying the cause forward in society. Donations can be made once or on a regular basis (through memberships, sponsorships, payroll giving etc.). Some individuals may even leave a legacy in their will.

There are a number of strategies and communication channels which you can use to raise funds from individuals. Some organisations use a range of methods to raise funds from individuals, while others just focus on one or two. It’s a good idea to consider the time and money you will spend on each method versus the income generated to check how effective it is.

Potential ways to raise funds from individuals include:

  • Fundraising events are usually high level social events, such as galas, dinners, concerts, auctions, sports events, etc. Funds are raised through ticket sales and other contributions. The events also provide a platform to share information about your organization and its activities.
  • Fundraising challenges raise funds through events where supporters are invited to carry out an attention catching activity, such as running a marathon, dowsing oneself with a bucket of ice water etc. which will draw interest from the media, but also from potential sponsors and the general public.
  • Donor appreciation events are great for cultivating your relationships with donors. Attendance is free and you can share your achievements and plans with donors, express gratitude and offer suggestions on how donors can establish and strengthen connections with other supporters.
  • Through collections, you can get many small, one-off contributions and you can raise awareness for your cause. A common example are donation boxes in supermarkets and malls.
  • Local and community fundraising: Raising support from local communities for activities in their neighbourhood is another strategy to increase awareness for issues, but also to get donations. The aim is to bring the cause and people together and potentially also work with volunteers to amplify the local involvement for your organisation’s activities, for example by inviting community members on a particular day to your organization.
  • Sponsorships are recurring donations for certain activities, e.g. upkeep of children, families or student scholarship. They are very effective as the payment frequency and income can be planned for. Effective sharing of progress through donor updates on the utilization of funds is required to promote a continued strong relationship with the donors.

Cold, Warm and Lapsed Audiences

When fundraising from individuals, balance your time, energy and budget between communicating with the different audience types of warm, lapsed and cold donors and contacts.

  • ‘Warm’ audiences are people who have donated to your organisation within the last 2-3 years. They are crucial to your organisation’s operations. Don’t only share fundraisers asking for help. Keep them interested and engaged by sending them ‘Thank You’ letters and showing them what you do e.g., with newsletters. Your aim is to build a longlasting relationship with them. People give more and longer when you have built a relationship with them.
  • A ‘lapsed’ donor has donated to your organisation more than 2-3 years ago. The lapsed audience includes people who no longer wish to give, cannot afford to give or who simply forgot to communicate a change of address. Try to reconnect with them and convince them to give to your cause again.
  • A ‘cold’ audience has never donated to your organisation. Inspire them to back your cause through ‘donor recruitment’ activities. Your donor recruitment activities should be tailored towards those people who are most likely to be interested in your work. Check the demographics of your ‘warm’ donors. This will provide you with valuable insight who is your target including their age, gender, location and preferred media channels. Address your activities to people with similar characteristics to heighten your chance of success.

An organisation‘s ‘warm contacts’ are people who have opted into communication with your organisation, but have never donated. These could be newsletter subscribers, Facebook page likers, Instagram and Twitter followers, service users or event attendees. An Individual Giving fundraiser has a far better chance of receiving a donation from these people, than from people with no connection whatsoever to the charity.

Communication Channels for Individual Giving

You can use the following marketing channels to generate donations irrespective of the audience type:

  • Direct Mail
  • Face-to-Face (e.g., at events or at social places like malls
  • Door-to-Door (Approaching people intheir homes)
  • Telephone, including mobile money
  • Digital: Sharing information by Email (try using a professional mailing program like Mailchimp), your website or on Social Media (facebook, instagram, tiktok, pinterest, twitter, youtube…) where you aim to build an online community and approach them with crowdfunding initiatives.

Additionally, there are some special ways of how you can get the attention of the ‘cold’ audience:

  • Press advertising
  • Press inserts
  • Door drops (unaddressed printed item delivered to the door)
  • Third-party websites
  • Face to face – in a public place or door to door

No matter what channel, always be mindful of the existing regulations with regards to marketing and data protection.


Creating a Crowdfunding Campaign

Crowdfunding is a fundraising method that lets individuals raise money for projects, expenses, or events by reaching out to others. Fundraisers set up online crowdfunding pages and promote those pages in their communication channels (social media, website, email).

Crowdfunding allows you to raise money quickly and relatively cost-effectively. When promoted widely via social media, email, and word of mouth a crowdfunding campaign has the potential to reach a vast audience. Moreover, crowdfunding campaigns can not only raise money but also raise awareness.

Preparation and Launch

  • Strong crowdfunding campaigns have a very clear message. It is best to use short slogans and sentences and appealing images. Be mindful that both slogans and images comply with your communication strategy and ethics.
  • Develop a strong financial goal for your campaign – it should be achievable but ambitious. It helps to break down the campaign goal in the number of donors you need to achieve this goal. This will help you determine if your goal is realistic.
  • Communicate your goal clearly to your audience – what will happen with their donation? How many beneficiaries will be supported?
  • When choosing a crowdfunding platform, you should first and foremost consider your target donor – where are they based and what are their demographics? Encourage your existing supporters and well-wishers to share the messages and communication pieces to reach a bigger audience and increase the potential donors reached.
  • Make sure you have enough content for your campaign, to publish photos and stories very regularly and to keep the donors engaged.

Be aware that crowdfunding platforms charge a commission fee that is deducted from the donations. Therefore, some organisations prefer to set up individual crowdfunding campaigns on their own websites, using their own payment options.

Some platform options are:

  • Global Giving ( – attractive for donors from Northern America because of tax exemption certificates;
  • GoFundMe ( – popular in Europe but only accessible for organisations with a partner in Europe;
  • M-Changa ( – specifically designed for the Kenyan market, with MPesa payment options


The most important part of a campaign is promotion. Success can only be made when you get the word out via social media, email, and even word of mouth and if your audience helps you share it. You can create a social media campaign to support your crowdfunding campaign, featuring for example 5 to 7 social media posts a week and two emails. Keep in mind that content needs to be relevant so that your audience remains interested.


Once the donations start coming in, you get to collect what you’ve earned. Some platforms give you the funds immediately, while others wait until your campaign is over. Also, don’t forget to thank your donors and use this as an opportunity for getting them more engaged in your organisation.

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